Socialist Pedro Sanchez sworn in as new Spanish PM

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MADRID, June 2: Spain’s Socialist chief Pedro Sanchez was sworn in as prime minister on Saturday, a day after ousting Mariano Rajoy in a historic no-confidence vote sparked by fury over corruption woes afflicting the conservative leader’s party.
Sanchez, a 46-year-old economist with no government experience who has made a spectacular comeback to the frontline of politics, took the oath of office before King Felipe VI in the Zarzuela Palace near Madrid.
“I promise to faithfully fulfil the duties of the post of prime minister with conscience and honour, with loyalty to the king, and to guard and have guarded the constitution as a fundamental state rule,” he said in the presence also of Rajoy, without a Bible or crucifix — the first to do so.
The Socialist leader must still name his cabinet and it is only when their names are published in an official government journal in the coming days that he will fully assume his functions.
His ousting of EU-friendly Rajoy, a 63-year-old veteran politician who had been in power since 2011, comes at a time of political instability in Europe as Italy brings in a new eurosceptic anti-establishment government.
But even if he will head up a minority government with support of a hodgepodge of disparate parties like far-left Podemos and Catalan separatists, Sanchez has promised his “main priority” will be to respect Madrid’s deficit reduction commitments to the European Union.
He has also vowed to implement the 2018 budget designed by Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party (PP) government. (AFP)