Mariano Rajoy has won enough votes in parliament to form a minority government as Spain’s prime minister,Sky News reports.The conservative leader had needed a majority during a vote on Thursday but failed, so in Saturday’s second attempt he simply needed more votes in favour than against.
He achieved 170 votes while 111 politicians voted against him and 68 abstained. The rival Socialist party had agreed last week to abstain from the second vote, thereby breaking the deadlock.
Former Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez resigned his seat in parliament earlier on Saturday, tearfully saying that while he would not defy his party’s decision to help Mr Rajoy win, he could not bring himself to vote for him either.
The confidence vote comes after two inconclusive elections and failed attempts at coalition-building between rival parties. It will still leave Mr Rajoy and his centre-right People’s Party in an extremely weak position, however.
Mr Rajoy, 61, won his first term in 2011 and found himself in charge of a country suffering severe recession, with unemployment hitting 27% and banks needing a €41bn European bailout.
Now, however, he has only 137 of the Spanish parliament’s 350 seats and will rely on other parties’ support to pass legislation. Earlier, hundreds of protesters outside parliament had voiced their anger at corruption and cuts during Mr Rajoy’s first term, shouting: “They don’t represent us.”
Mr Rajoy is expected to be sworn in before Spain’s King Felipe VI on Sunday. After the vote he told reporters that he will announce his new cabinet on Thursday next week and they will be sworn in on Friday.