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Mariano Rajoy

Socialist Sanchez takes charge in Spain as tarnished Rajoy departs

MADRID: Spanish socialist Pedro Sanchez was catapulted to power on Friday, taking over as prime minister from veteran conservative Mariano Rajoy, who lost a no-confidence vote in the wake of a corruption scandal. Lawmakers stood and cheered in parliament as the untested 46-year-old - a pro-European lawmaker who has never been in government - became the country’s seventh head of government since its return to democracy in the late 1970s. Rajoy’s departure after six years in office may lead to a spell of political…

Spain’s prime minister forced to resign after no-confidence vote

MADRID: Spain's parliament on Friday ousted Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in a no-confidence vote sparked by fury over his party's corruption woes, with his Socialist arch-rival Pedro Sanchez automatically taking over.  An absolute majority of 180 lawmakers voted for the motion to loud applause and shouts of "Yes we can," converting Rajoy into the first prime minister to be ousted by such a vote since Spain transitioned to democracy in 1977. The bespectacled 63-year-old leader got up and shook hands with Sanchez before…

Spain sacks Catalan government after independence declaration

BARCELONA/MADRID: The Madrid government sacked Catalonia’s president and dismissed its parliament on Friday, hours after the region declared itself an independent nation, in Spain’s gravest political crisis since the return of democracy four decades ago. A new election will be held in Catalonia on Dec. 21, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a televised address on a day of high drama. As well as removing Carles Puigdemont as head of the autonomous region, he also fired the police chief and said central government…

Catalan leader steps back from declaring immediate independence

BARCELONA: Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said Tuesday he had accepted the "mandate of the people" for his region's independence from Spain but suspended the declaration to allow more time for talks with Madrid. In a speech to regional lawmakers in Barcelona, Puigdemont stopped short of declaring an outright split but left the door to secession open, leaving some political rivals scratching their heads. "I assume the mandate of the people for Catalonia to become an independent republic," he said. But the…

Protesters rally against Catalan independence in Barcelona

BARCELONA: Hundreds of thousands of flag-waving demonstrators packed central Barcelona on Sunday to rally against plans by separatist leaders to declare Catalonia independent following a banned secession referendum. Catalans calling themselves a "silent majority" opposed to leaving Spain broke their silence after a week of mounting anxiety over the country's worst political crisis in a generation. The crowd waved both Spanish and Catalan flags and chanted "Viva Espana! Viva Catalonia!" as they made their way through…

Shock and anger after 'deliberate' Germanwings crash

MARIGNANE, FRANCE: The co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings flight appears to have deliberately crashed the plane after locking his captain out of the cockpit, French officials said, with the "unimaginable" development sparking global shock and anger among victims' loved ones.