Spanish politics have been a mess for a decade, since the financial crisis triggered brutal austerity that gutted Spanish services and quality of life to ensure that bondholders did not suffer an interruption in debt service; then came the Catalan independence vote, the violent suppression of same, then Madrid seized control over the autonomous region of Catalonia.
Now, in the midst of a sprawling corruption scandal, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has been ousted by parliament in a no-confidence vote that replaced him with Pedro Sanchez, leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), with backing from Podemos, a left-wing, anti-austerity party often linked to the policies of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders (and formerly linked to Syriza in Greece, at least until they purged the party of its progressive elements and capitulated to international finance).
The no-confidence vote does not trigger new elections, meaning that Sanchez and his coalition will be able to rule for some time -- Spain's last national election was held in 2016.
Incoming PM Mr Sanchez said: “Today, democracy has won.” He added: “A new era in Spanish politics is beginning. I am reaching out to all the parliamentary groups to open these new times and I hope that we are all up to the responsibilities that we have ahead of us.”
Speaking after the vote, Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Podemos, opened the door to the left-wingers participating in a PSOE government led by Mr Sanchez.
He said he wanted to join forces to “leave behind a time of corruption, inequality and confrontation” and build “a Spain that no one wants to leave” with “a plural and stable government”.
Rajoy out: Spain's government collapses after no confidence vote [Jon Stone/The Independent]