Pedro Sanchez sworn in as new Spanish PM

Pedro Sanchez sworn in as new Spanish PM

Pedro Sanchez sworn in as new Spanish PM

Spanish socialist leader Pedro Sánchez was sworn in as prime minister Saturday morning by King Felipe VI.

Pedro Sanchez won the no-confidence motion with 180 votes in favor, 169 against and one abstention, according to the Associated Press.

He did so without swearing on the Bible or Crucifix, a first for a Spanish prime minister since the restoration of the democracy.

Spain's parliament voted Friday to replace Rajoy's government with one led by Sanchez after a ruling by the National Court delivered hefty prison sentences to 29 business people and ex-members of Rajoy's Popular Party, including some elected officials, for fraud, money laundering and tax evasion, among other crimes.

Sanchez is set to become Spain's seventh prime minister since the country returned to democracy in the late 1970's.

"I promise by my conscience and honor to faithfully fulfill the obligations of the office of President of the Government with loyalty to the King, and to keep and enforce the Constitution as the fundamental norm of the State", CNN quoted Sanchez, as saying.

Spain is in the eurozone's top four economies and is an influential member of the European Union.

His ousting of Mr Rajoy, a 63-year-old EU-friendly veteran politician who had been in power since 2011 and was present during the oath, comes at a time of political instability in Europe as Italy brings in a new eurosceptic anti-establishment government.

After leading the Socialists to two crushing general election defeats in 2015 and 2016, Sanchez was forced to resign by the party apparatus.

Besides inheriting Spain's worst political crisis in almost four decades, Sanchez's government will depend on the support of the far-left Podemos (We Can) party and of a motley crew of regional parties and Catalan secessionists to get anything done in the federal government.

"Our "Yes" to Sanchez is a "No" to Rajoy", is how Mr Joan Tarda of the Catalan pro-independence party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya put it in Parliament.

As Spain's new leader, whose party only has a quarter of the seats in Parliament, Sanchez now has to decide who to include in his cabinet and is expected to name them next week, the report said. But NBC News notes that it's not clear how long the former Economics professor's administration can last.

Rajoy's position had become increasingly untenable, undermined by his status as head of a corruption-tinged minority government as well as a divisive independence drive in the wealthy region of Catalonia.

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