Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez battles to build lasting legacy

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez battles to build lasting legacy
By Philip Pangalos
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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has undertaken a host of challenging initiatives as he battles to cement his position and build a lasting legacy

Last June, Spain's parliament ousted Mariano Rajoy as Prime Minister after a vote of no confidence and opened the road to power to Pedro Sanchez.


Eight months later, the same body rejected the government's preliminary 2019 budget, forcing the socialist Prime Minister to go to early elections.

With the support of several parties, Sanchez formed a new young government, with women making up the majority, something unique in the history of a democratic Spain.

Soon after, however, the image of the cabinet was tainted by scandals involving several of its members.

Abroad, Pedro Sanchez demonstrated his abilities as a leader at a European Council meeting on migration.

He aligned with the axis combating xenophobia and promoted European solidarity in the allocation of refugees, pleasantly surprising German Chancellor Angel Merkel.

Three weeks later, Spain opened its ports to the Aquarius, the vessel that was transporting 600 migrants that no other European country would accept.

With the knowledge that the threat of Catalan independence hangs over him, Sanchez undertook multiple initiatives to give a socialist character to the government's work and to reward the sectors and social groups that were affected the most from the decade of austerity.

With a decree, he raised the minimum wage by 22% to 900 euros a month, and increased low pensions by 3%. Measures that benefited many citizens, but for some it was not enough.

The Spanish Prime Minister also proceeded with a string of symbolic actions with a clear message condemning right-wing dictator General Francisco Franco.

Pedro Sanchez undertook initiatives to improve Madrid's relations with Latin America. But he did not hesitate in harsh criticism of Venezuela and the governance of Nicolas Maduro, and to later recognise Juan Guaido as the country's transitional President.

And shortly before the start of the trial of the Catalan separatists, Sanchez visited the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights and defended Spanish justice and democracy.

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