Pedro Sánchez was sworn in as Spain’s new Prime Minister on June 01, 2018. This remarkable personal comeback has settled a week of political upheaval that culminated in the first removal of an incumbent leader by Parliament in modern Spanish history. The New York Times writes aptly, “Little more than a year ago, Mr. Sánchez, 46, seemed lost in the political wilderness, deposed as the leader of the Socialist party after two record electoral defeats. And the man he has now replaced, Mariano Rajoy, 63, was seen as the great survivor of Spanish politics, one of Europe’s longest-serving heads of government. But Mr. Sánchez was unexpectedly re-elected as Socialist leader seven months after his ousting. Then, when Mr. Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party was tarnished by corruption — a court last week found the party guilty of operating a slush fund — he pounced, assembling parliamentary backing for a vote of no confidence in Mr. Rajoy, which passed on June 01.”
His tenure may be short. The Socialist party holds just under a quarter of the seats in Parliament. Like the vote against Mr. Rajoy, his government will rely on support from the far-left Podemos party and nationalists from Catalonia and the Basque region. An economist by training and politician by occupation, he is also Secretary-General of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), holding office for the second time after winning a leadership election June 2017. He is without a seat in the Congress of Deputies. He served as town councillor in the City Council of Madrid from 2004 to 2009. In 2009, he was first elected Deputy in the Congress. In 2014, he became Secretary-General of the PSOE, and he was the party’s candidate for prime minister in the 2015 and 2016 general elections. During his first term as Secretary-General, he was heavily opposed to the re-election of Rajoy as Prime Minister. Rajoy needed the abstention of the PSOE in the Congress of Deputies in order to secure a parliamentary majority. Tensions grew within the party to allow Rajoy to form a government; due to its opposition by Sánchez, he stepped down as Secretary-General on 1 October 2016. He simultaneously resigned as Deputy, and a caretaker committee took over the PSOE leadership. He would eventually win the party primaries, defeating Susana Díaz and Patxi López, and was reinstated Secretary-General in June 2017. Under his tenure, the PSOE backed the Government of Spain in its handling of the Catalan independence referendum and the subsquent constitutional crisis.
On 31 May 2018 the PSOE filed a no-confidence motion, which passed with the support of the PSOE, Unidos Podemos, and Basque, Valencian and Catalan regionalist and nationalist parties. On 1 June 2018, a Royal Decree named Pedro Sánchez Prime Minister of Spain. On the following day, he was officially sworn into the office before King Felipe VI.
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Incumbent President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro was re-elected in Presidential elections, held on 20 May 2018. Thus he was re- elected for another (second) six-year term. For various reasons the election considered a snap election, was postponed several times from the original scheduled for December 2018 to April 22 and then finally to May 20. The credibility of the election is under suspicion because it had the lowest voter turnout in Venezuela’s democratic history. The opposition parties complained about various irregularities in the election. Several Venezuelan NGOs, such as Foro Penal Venezolano, Súmate, Voto Joven, the Venezuelan Electoral Observatory, and the Citizen Electoral Network expressed their concern over the irregularities of the electoral schedule, including the lack of the Constituent Assembly’s competencies to summon the elections, impeding participation of opposition political parties, and the lack of time for standard electoral functions.
The two leading candidates opposing Maduro, Henri Falcón and Javier Bertucci, rejected the results, saying that the election was critically flawed by irregularities and Bertucci asking to repeat the elections without Maduro.Later the United Nations, European Union, the Organization of American States, the Lima Group, and countries such as Australia and the United States rejected the electoral process due to compmplaints of irregularities. However, countries such as China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, Turkey and others recognized the election result. At least one of the opponents Bertucci recognized the result afterwards, maintaining his criticism of tactics used by the government.
Following the death of President Hugo Chávez in 2013, Venezuela faced a severe socioeconomic crisis during the presidency of his successor, Nicolás Maduro. Due to the country’s high levels of urban violence, inflation, and chronic shortages of basic goods attributed primarily to the devaluation of the Venezuelan bolívar and to some extent due to economic policies such as strict price controls, civil insurrection in Venezuela culminated into the 2014–18 protests. Protests occurred periodically over the years, with demonstrations occurring in various sizes depending on the events Venezuelans were facing during the crisis. After facing years of crisis, the Venezuelan opposition pursued a recall referendum against President Maduro, presenting a petition to the National Electoral Council (CNE) on 2 May 2016.
By August 2016, the momentum to recall President Maduro appeared to be progressing, with the CNE setting a date for the second phase of collecting signatures, though it made the schedule strenuous, stretching the process into 2017 which made it impossible for the opposition to activate new presidential elections.
On 21 October 2016, the CNE suspended the referendum days before preliminary signature-gatherings were to be held.The CNE blamed several irregularities and alleged voter fraud as the reason for the cancellation of the referendum.[ Days after the recall movement was cancelled, 1.2 million Venezuelans protested throughout the country against the move, demanding President Maduro to leave office, with Caracas protests remaining calm while protests in other states resulted in clashes between demonstrators and authorities, leaving one policeman dead, 120 injured, and 147 arrested. Following the 2017 Venezuelan constitutional crisis, protests in Venezuela intensified in mid-2017, though the movement died down after President Maduro called for a controversial special election, which resulted with the installation of the pro-government superbody, the Constituent National Assembly. Regional elections that occurred months later further cemented the government’s power after they won 18 of the 23 governorships. After the government overcame mass protests and won two major disputed elections, one of which installed a constitutional superbody, the government rallied behind President Maduro, with government sources stating that elections were to be moved ahead to February or March 2018 instead of the planned late-2018 date to take advantage of their electoral momentum. On 11 December 2017, President Maduro announced that many of the main opposition parties, including Justice First and Popular Will, would be banned from participating in the 2018 presidential election because of their boycott of the 2017 municipal elections. In February 2018, the government announced that elections would be held on 22 April 2018, less than three months before the date.
The post Re-election of Nicolás Maduro as President of Venezuela amid controversy appeared first on Civil Services Strategist.
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