After a bitter two-day debate in parliament, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Friday lost a no-confidence vote and was ousted from office. He will be replaced by a leader of the opposition Socialist Party.
The vote was 180 to 169 with one abstention.
Rajoy appeared in parliament Friday morning and in a brief speech said, “I will accept the decision.”
He added that, “it has been an honour to be the leader of Spain and to leave it in a better state than the one I found. I believe I have satisfied my responsibility, which is to improve the lives of Spaniards. If I have offended someone in my role I ask forgiveness.”
After navigating 25 percent youth unemployment, a territorial showdown with the restive Catalan region, and a financial crisis that threatened the solvency of the euro, Rajoy was brought down by the corruption scandals that have plagued his Popular Party.
Spain’s National Court handed down tough sentences last week to 29 individuals, including elected officials and business leaders, linked with the party.
The court ruled that the Popular Party benefited from a wide-ranging, systematic use of kickbacks from contracts. The crimes ranged from fraud and tax evasion to money laundering.
The crisis in Spain comes as populist, anti-immigrant and euro-skeptical parties in Italy struggle to cobble together a government and Britain faces a decisive round of negotiations later this month to leave the European Union.
After six years in office, Rajoy is set to be replaced by the opposition Socialist Party and its leader Pedro Sánchez.
MADRID - By Pamela Rolfe, William Booth ·(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Jun 01, 2018 -