With an end to Spain’s political deadlock, at long last the Conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy can get to work once again.
But, tough challenges lie ahead for the leader. The country is in the midst of an economic crisis that Rajoy made a campaign pledge to ease, and voters won’t accept anything less than they were promised.
Austerity measures have been put in place to drag the country out of decline and reduce unemployment which reached an unprecedented 21.3 percent in 2011.
Rajoy first took power in the same year, and forced home the point that the country was in dire need of money. He explained that financial entities needed to recover so that investors can do what they do best – “invest and create jobs”.
Not an easy first term
The government was rocked in 2013 by a major corruption scandal, however, when documents purporting to show the illegal financing of Rajoy’s People’s Party, although the Prime Minister adamantly denies the allegations.
Rajoy was accused of receiving some 25,000 euros a year from the Luis Barcenas, the party’s former treasurer, something the leader said “never” happened, insisting that the allegations were “lies”.
Nonetheless, the scandal took its toll and last December’s General Election saw the People’s Party punished by voters, losing its overall majority in Parliament.
Coalition attempts failed
Rajoy was forced to seek a coalition with another party, he extended the olive branch to his opponents but they weren’t biting.
Queue Pedro Sanchez, leader of the opposition. Rajoy’s decline in popularity presented a chance to the Socialist Workers’ Party leader, but he failed to secure enough votes.