Sanchez succeeds Rajoy as Spanish prime minister

Socialist PSOE party head, Pedro Sanchez (pictured), has taken over as Spain’s prime minister after People’s Party (PP) leader Mariano Rajoy lost a parliamentary confidence vote over a funding scandal on Friday.

The no confidence motion, which was moved by PSOE party, was passed with 180 votes in favour, 169 against and 1 abstention.

PSOE party, which has 84 seats in parliament, got the support of 67 members from leftist alliance Unidos Podemos and several regional parties including Basque Nationalist Party which has five seats.

After losing the vote, Rajoy got up, shook hands with Sanchez and left parliament without uttering a word.

The no trust motion was prompted by Operacion Guertel corruption case involving businessmen who bribed PP leaders in exchange for lucrative public contracts. Last month, dozens of PP politicians were jailed after being found guilty of corruption.

Political uncertainty looms over Italy which has seen seven prime ministers, including Sanchez, since its return to democracy in the late 1970s following the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

In a fragmented parliament, Sanchez has just 84 Socialist lawmakers in the 350-member legislative assembly. Sanchez said on Thursday he would try to govern until the scheduled end of the parliamentary term in mid-2020.

He will not review a budget, new labour laws and cuts in healthcare and education already passed by Rajoy.