New Spanish president Pedro Sánchez takes office
36 out of 47 Catalan MPs in Spain’s Congress supported his bid to oust Rajoy
The new Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, took office this Saturday morning. One day after ousting Mariano Rajoy in a vote of no confidence in Parliament, he swore in before the king of Spain, Felipe VI, in the residence of the monarch, La Zarzuela. Sánchez is expected to nominate his ministers in the coming hours or days, and to form a new government shortly. One or more of his cabinet members are expected to be Catalan, and the bets are already open on who he will choose.
His initiative to strip Rajoy of the Spanish presidency was only successful after the supports of the Catalan pro-independence parties and the Basque Nationalist Party, along with the Socialists, Sánchez’s party, and Podemos, including Catalan En Comú Podem 12 MPs. All in all, 36 out of the 47 Catalan MPs in the Spanish Congress supported Sánchez as president, therefore rejecting Rajoy’s cabinet, the one which has been implementing direct rule in Catalonia for seven months.
“The Socialists have been accomplice of the repression and the democratic regression”
Quim Torra · Catalan president
While some lawmakers were more enthusiastic about stripping Rajoy of power than giving it to Sánchez, Catalan leaders already have high expectations for the seventh head of government in Spain since the restoration of democracy in the post-Franco era.
Reactions to Sánchez's appointment
“The Socialists have been accomplice of the repression and the democratic regression” which Catalonia has gone through, said the newly elected president Quim Torra after Sánchez’s victory in Congress. He urged a meeting with his new Spanish counterpart asked him to “take steps and take risks.” Two weeks ago, Sánchez accused Torra of being “racist” and “supremacist.”
“There is still a long battle and a long road ahead to defeat the injustices, which are numerous and long-lasting,” said the deposed president Carles Puigdemont.
The leader of Unionist Citizens (Cs), Albert Rivera, said that he will be alert to the "concessions" that the Socialist leader made to grant the support of pro-independence parties. He especially accused the president-to-be Pedro Sánchez of being at the hands of "racist" Catalan President Quim Torra.
The mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau called on Sánchez to bring Catalan leaders imprisoned in the Madrid region closer to their homes. Although she recognized that the situation is “in the hands of judges,” she highlighted that Sánchez and his future government play “a very important” role “in bringing the prisoners closer” to their families.