Who is Pedro Sanchez, Spain's new prime minister?

Who is Pedro Sanchez, Spain's new prime minister?
By Emma Beswick
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A former economics professor, the leader of the socialist PSOE party has made history by becoming prime minister of Spain


Pedro Sanchez, leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, Friday made history by becoming the country's first politician to depose a prime minister using a motion of no-confidence.

"Resign and everything will end," Sanchez previously told Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. "Your time is up."

Rajoy did not resign and was unseated in a no-confidence vote by 180 “yes” votes, four more than the 176 required for an absolute majority.

Who is the Sanchez, the politician that managed to topple his rival?

Political and work background

Sanchez, a 46-year-old former economics professor, joined the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, or PSOE, in 1993.

He is pro-European and previously worked in the European parliament.

In 1999, he was chief of staff for the UN high representative to Bosnia at the height of the Kosovo War.

Among other posts, he later worked as an economic adviser to the PSOE’s federal executive committee and as a Madrid city councillor for five years.

After serving as MP between 2009 and 2011, he lost his position, going back to academia.

Sanchez finally returned to parliament in 2013 and was elected PSOE leader in 2014.

Half of the PSOE’s executive committee launched a coup against Sanchez that led to his resignation in October 2016. He said: “I won’t go against my party or against my electoral promises.”

However, seven months later, he once more stood for PSOE leader and beat his main rival Susana Diaz.

Sports fan and linguist

Sanchez is a basketball fan and player and can speak English and French, which he said he learned during his time abroad.

He is married with two daughters.


Spain's new prime minister has a background in academia, firstly studying economic and business sciences at Complutense University in Madrid, then later gaining three master’s degrees, one of which was from the Free University of Brussels.

How does he feel about Catalonia?

Back in October 2017, Sanchez, responding to a question from Euronews' reporter James Franey, said what he would have done to solve the Catalan crisis if he were prime minister.

Pressed on what specific concessions he would have given Catalonia, he said the autonomous government should be strengthened, while other things “that touch the sensibility of Catalans, such as the language, culture (and) education” must be respected by the central government.

When asked whether the crisis benefited his aspirations of becoming Spain’s next prime minister, Sánchez insisted that the PSOE was “not counting votes” and had “only one goal, which is to open a dialogue and try to reach a political solution”.


The leader also said a unilateral declaration of independence by Catalonia would be against the rule of law.

He has promised to start talks with the Catalans but said he will not give them an independence referendum.

How long is his term likely to last?

Sanchez hinted Thursday he would try to govern until the scheduled end of the parliamentary term in mid-2020.

Although, it is unclear how long his administration can last with only 84 Socialist deputies in the 350-member legislative assembly.

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