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Pedro Sánchez

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Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón (Spanish: [ˈpeðɾo ˈsantʃeθ ˈpeɾeθ kasteˈxon]; born 29 February 1972) is a Spanish politician serving as acting Prime Minister of Spain since 2 June 2018.[1][2] He has also been Secretary-General of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) since June 2017, having previously held that office from 2014 to 2016.


Pedro Sánchez

Pedro Sánchez in 2018d.jpg
Prime Minister of Spain
Assumed office
2 June 2018
MonarchFelipe VI
DeputyCarmen Calvo
Preceded byMariano Rajoy
Secretary-General of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
Assumed office
17 June 2017
PresidentCristina Narbona
DeputyAdriana Lastra
Preceded byJavier Fernández (Acting)
In office
26 July 2014 – 1 October 2016
PresidentMicaela Navarro
Preceded byAlfredo Pérez Rubalcaba
Succeeded byJavier Fernández (Acting)
Leader of the Opposition
In office
18 June 2017 – 2 June 2018
Prime MinisterMariano Rajoy
Preceded byPosition vacant
Succeeded byPablo Casado
In office
26 July 2014 – 1 October 2016
Prime MinisterMariano Rajoy
Preceded byAlfredo Pérez Rubalcaba
Succeeded byPosition vacant
Member of the Congress of Deputies
Assumed office
21 May 2019
ConstituencyMadrid
In office
10 January 2013 – 29 October 2016
ConstituencyMadrid
In office
15 September 2009 – 27 September 2011
ConstituencyMadrid
Member of the City Council of Madrid
In office
10 May 2004 – 15 September 2009
Personal details
Born
Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón

(1972-02-29) 29 February 1972 (age 47)
Madrid, Spain
Political partySpanish Socialist Workers' Party
Spouse(s)
María Begoña Gómez Fernández (m. 2006)
Children2
ResidencePalace of Moncloa
EducationComplutense University
Université libre de Bruxelles
University of Navarra
Camilo José Cela University
Signature

He served as a Madrid city councillor from 2004 to 2009, before being elected to the Congress of Deputies. In 2014, he became Secretary-General of the PSOE, becoming the party's candidate for Prime Minister in the 2015 and 2016 general elections. Sánchez resigned as Secretary-General after disagreements with the party's executive, and was re-elected the following year during a series of primaries, defeating Susana Díaz and Patxi López.

On 31 May 2018, the PSOE filed a no confidence motion in the Rajoy Government in the Congress of Deputies, which was passed the following day with the support of Unidos Podemos and the leader of the party Pablo Iglesias, as well as various regionalist and nationalist parties. Sánchez was subsequently sworn in as Prime Minister of Spain by Felipe VI on 2 June. He went on to lead his party to gain 38 seats in the April 2019 general election, the PSOE's first national victory since 2008.

Early lifeEdit

Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón was born in Madrid.[3] His father is an economist and businessman and his mother is a lawyer and public servant in the social security department.[4] He graduated from Instituto Ramiro de Maeztu, a public high school where he played basketball in the Estudiantes cantera, a professional club with links to the school, reaching the U-21 team.[5]

In 1990, Sánchez went to the Complutense University to study economics and business sciences. In 1993, he joined the PSOE after the victory of Felipe González in the elections that year.[4] Sánchez graduated in 1995. He earned a degree in Politics and Economics in 1998 after graduating from the Université libre de Bruxelles (Free University of Brussels), and a degree of business leadership from IESE Business School in the University of Navarra, a private university and apostolate of the Opus Dei. Sánchez received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Business and Economics in 2012.[6]

Before entering a career in regional and national politics, Sánchez worked as a parliamentary assistant in the European Parliament, and as chief of staff to the United Nations high representative in Bosnia during the Kosovo War;[7] he was also a Professor of Economics, publishing a version of his doctoral thesis "La nueva diplomacia económica europea".[8]

Madrid City CouncilEdit

In 2003, Sánchez stood in the Madrid City Council election on the PSOE list headed by Trinidad Jiménez. He was 23rd on the proportional representation list, but the PSOE only won 21 seats. Sánchez did not become a city councillor until a year later, when two socialist councillors resigned. He quickly became one of the fundamental components of opposition leader Trinidad Jiménez's team.[9] Between 18 May 2004 – 15 September 2009, he was one of the 320 members of the City Council of Madrid, representing PSOE in the city of Madrid. At the same time, he went to help the PSdG (PSOE's affiliated party in Galicia) contest the 2005 Galician regional election,[5] in which PSdG won eight seats, allowing Emilio Pérez Touriño to become president of Galicia. In 2007, he was part of the Miguel Sebastián campaign for Madrid's premiership.

Member of the Congress of DeputiesEdit

Sánchez was elected to the Congress of Deputies for Madrid, replacing Pedro Solbes, Minister of Economy and Finance in the José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero cabinet, after Solbes retired from politics in 2009.

 
Sánchez in the PSOE campaign for the 2011 general election

In the general election of 2011 which saw a heavy defeat for the Socialists, PSOE placed Sánchez 11th on the Proportional Representation list, while only electing 10 deputies. Having thus failed to win a seat, he returned to the Camilo José Cela University to finish his Doctorate in Economics. He served as a consultant to a European consortium and as a university professor. He earned a PhD in Economics and Business from the Camilo José Cela University. In 2018 Sánchez was accused by ABC daily of plagiarism.[5]

In January 2013, Sánchez returned to Congress, replacing Cristina Narbona, who left her seat to enter the Nuclear Safety Council. In December 2013, after numerous Socialist leaders such as Elena Valenciano, Trinidad Jiménez, Miguel Sebastián and José Blanco López attended his new book release, his name began to be discussed as a prospective candidate for the party leadership. Sánchez officially launched his candidacy on 12 June 2014. He was elected as the Secretary-General on 13 July, after winning 49% of votes against his opponents Eduardo Madina and José Antonio Pérez-Tapias (member of the Socialist Left platform).[5][10] He was confirmed as Secretary-General after an Extraordinary Congress of the PSOE was held on 26–27 July that ratified the electoral result.[5]

PSOE Secretary-GeneralEdit

Representing a platform based on political regeneration, Sánchez demanded constitutional reforms establishing federalism as the form of administrative organization of Spain to ensure that Catalonia would remain within the country; a new progressive fiscal policy; extending the welfare state to all citizens; joining labour unions again to strengthen economic recovery; and regaining the confidence of former Socialist voters disenchanted by the measures taken by Zapatero during his late term as Prime Minister amid an economic crisis. He also opposed the grand coalition model supported by the former Socialist Prime Minister Felipe González, who championed the German system in case of political instability. Sánchez asked his European party caucus not to vote for the consensus candidate Jean-Claude Juncker of the European People's Party.[11]

 
Pedro Sánchez, after winning the primary election for Secretary-General, singing The Internationale.

Upon taking office as PSOE's Secretary-General, Sánchez faced a political crisis after the formation of a new party, Podemos. Approximately 25% of all PSOE supporters switched their loyalties to Podemos.[12][13] Sánchez's political agenda included reforming the constitution, establishing a federal model in Spain to replace the current devolution model,[14] and further secularization of Spain's education system, including the removal of religion-affiliated public and private schools.[15] He named César Luena as his second-in-command. On 21 June 2015, Sánchez was officially announced as the PSOE premiership candidate for the December 2015 general election. His party earned 90 seats, being second to rivals of Partido Popular (PP), who won the election with 123 representatives out of a parliament formed by 350. Since PP's leader did not stand officially for the premiership, following this Sánchez was requested by the King to form a coalition, but he was unable to obtain the support of a majority of representatives. This led to a further general election in June 2016, where he stood again as PSOE's candidate. Winning only 85 seats in a general election, he resigned in October 2016.

Leadership crisisEdit

After resigning as Secretary-General of the party, Sánchez made a tour aboard his car visiting base members in different parts of Spain.[16][17]

On 21 May 2017, Sánchez was re-elected Secretary-General for the second time with 50.2% of the votes, over his competitors Susana Díaz (39.94%) and Patxi López (9.85%).[18]

Sánchez opposed the Catalan independence referendum and supported the Rajoy government's decision to dismiss the Catalan government and impose direct rule on Catalonia in October 2017.[19][20]

Prime Minister of SpainEdit

 
Rajoy congratulates Sánchez on his successful no-confidence motion.

In May 2018, after verdicts were announced in the Gürtel trial, PSOE filed a successful no-confidence motion against Mariano Rajoy.[21] Per the Constitution, the no-confidence motion proposed Sánchez as replacement Prime Minister. With the passage of the no-confidence motion, Sánchez was automatically deemed to have the confidence of the Congress of Deputies and thus ascended as Prime Minister on 1 June 2018.

He was sworn in by King Felipe VI on 2 June.[22] Sánchez said he planned to form a government that would eventually dissolve the Cortes Generales and call for a general election, but he did not specify when he would do it[23] while also saying that before calling for an election he intended take a series of measures like increasing unemployment benefits and proposing a law of equal pay between the sexes.[24] However, he also said he would uphold the 2018 budget approved by the Rajoy government, a condition the Basque Nationalist Party imposed to vote for the motion of no-confidence.[25]

InaugurationEdit

 
Sánchez and his new cabinet at La Moncloa in June 2018

Sánchez took office on 2 June 2018 in the presence of former Prime Minister Rajoy, President of the Congress Ana Pastor, as well as King Felipe VI.[26] Spanish media noted that while Sánchez was swearing his oath of office on the Spanish Constitution, no Bible nor crucifix were on display, for the first time in modern Spanish history due to Sanchez's atheism.[27] After being sworn in, Sánchez announced that he would only propose measures that had considerable parliamentary support, and reaffirmed the government's compliance with the EU deficit requirements.[28]

The 17 ministers of his new cabinet took office on 7 June 2018.[29] Sánchez formed a cabinet with 11 of the 18 ministerial positions of the Council being held by women.[30]

European UnionEdit

 
Sánchez during his speech at the event organized by the Spanish Federal Council of the European Movement on 19 March 2019.

Since his arrival to power he has been strongly pro-European. This is evidenced by changes including the renaming of the Foreign Ministry to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, and reverting the Secretary of State for European Affairs back to its original name, the Secretary of State for the European Union. He appointed Josep Borrell, former President of the European Parliament, as Foreign Minister, and Nadia Calviño as Minister of Economy, who served as Director-General for the EU Budget, and Secretary-General of the European Economic and Social Committee Luis Planas as Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.[31]

He also took a more active role in the international sphere, especially in the European Union, saying that "Spain has to claim its role" and declaring himself "a militant pro-European".[32]

On 16 January 2019, in a speech before the European Parliament, he said that the EU should be protected and turned into a global actor, and that a more social Europe is needed, with a strong monetary union.[33] He stated in a speech in March 2019 adding that the enemies of Europe are inside of the European Union.[34]

ImmigrationEdit

 
Sánchez with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 26 June 2018

In June 2018, the ship Aquarius carrying 629 migrants that were rescued near Libya was denied entry to the Sicilian port by Italy's new Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.[35][36] The Spanish government offered the Aquarius the chance to dock in the secure port of Valencia, Spain and the Italian navy offered full assistance and a marine escort for the trip.[37][38] On 4 July 2018, the Spanish government accepted another NGO vessel, in this case a Spanish NGO called Open Arms carrying 60 migrants after Italy rejected again open a port for the ship.[39] The same happened two weeks later.[40]

The Prime Minister considered the immigration matter as a European matter and showed its solidarity with the German Government by accepting an agreement between Germany, Greece and Spain so this last two agreed to take care of part of the immigrants that live in Germany.[41] "Unilateralism not the answer to migrant crisis", he said in an interview in a clear reference to the initiative of the Italian Government to close the ports while also stating: "As effective as the inflammatory rhetoric from some Italian leaders may be in electoral terms, from the point of view of responding effectively to a humanitarian crisis like the one we're seeing in the Mediterranean and on the Italian coast, it's not the answer".[42]

GibraltarEdit

Sánchez has called for joint U.K.-Spanish sovereignty over British-controlled Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory in the south of the Iberian peninsula.[43] He publicly warned that Spain will "veto" Brexit deal over the issue of Gibraltar.[44] In November 2018, Sánchez said that "With Brexit we all lose, especially the United Kingdom, but when it comes to Gibraltar, Spain wins."[45]

Exhumation of FrancoEdit

On 18 June 2018, Sánchez' government announced its intention to remove the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco from the Valle de los Caídos.[46] On 29 June 2018, the Archdiocese of Madrid warned the Spanish government against any plans to exhume the remains of Franco without first obtaining agreement from interested parties and formally stated it is against any move of Franco's remains without the consent of his family and before consultation with the Catholic Church. In addition, in its statement the Archdiocese of Madrid re-affirmed its position that although the Valle de los Caídos is officially a national monument, the Catholic Church must be consulted on burial-related matters under agreements between the Spanish state and the Vatican.[47] The announcement of the Archdiocese of Madrid was made after Pedro Sánchez confirmed that it was his intention to remove the remains of Franco from the Valle de los Caídos by the end of July.[48][49]

On 24 August 2018, Sánchez's cabinet approved a decree that modifies two aspects of the 2007 Historical Memory Law to allow the exhumation of Franco's remains from the Valle de los Caídos. The decree, to become law, must be passed by a vote of the Congress of Deputies. The conservative People's Party (PP) and the centre-right party Ciudadanos (Cs) have announced they will not support the decree. The PP further stated it will appeal the measure to the Constitutional Court arguing that using a decree to change the Historical Memory Law is not valid because the proposed modifications to the Historical Memory Law do not respond to a situation of urgent need. Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo stated the decree law requires the exhumation of the remains of Franco to take place between 30 days and 12 months of passage by the Congress of Deputies.[50] The Congress of Deputies voted in favor of the exhumation on 13 September 2018.[51] After a year of legal battles with Franco's descendants, the exhumation took place on 24 October 2019, and Franco was reburied at Mingorrubio Cemetery in El Pardo with his wife Carmen Polo.[52]

In November 2018, the Mossos d'Esquadra reported the arrest of a Terrassa resident who was angry with the plans to exhume Franco and having an arsenal of 16 weapons back home[n. 1] allegedly planned to kill Sánchez in order to finish, in his own words, with that "shitty red".[53]

Catalan separatismEdit

Sánchez said he would "reinstate dialogue" with the Catalan independence movement.[25] In order to do so, the central government and the regional government reactivated intergovernmental commissions, a series of bodies composed by representatives of both governments.[54] Although there was some progress in the economic field, these commissions were paralyzed by the Catalonia regional government's demand to speak about a self-determination referendum, something that the central government rejected and in February 2019 the central government considered the relations between the two governments broken.[55] In December 2018, the FT reported that Sánchez "has warned Catalonia's government that he could deploy national police to the region, as tension flares up again between Madrid and Catalan separatists a year after a failed secession attempt".[56] The distance between the two governments became clear when the parliamentary opposition—among which was Catalan separatism—rejected the government's budget.[57] After this, the Prime Minister called a snap election.[58]

Saudi ArabiaEdit

In September 2018, Defense Minister Margarita Robles cancelled sales of laser-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia over concerns relating to the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. Overruling Robles, Sánchez ordered the sale to proceed[59] because he had guaranteed President of Andalusia Susana Díaz help to protect jobs in the shipyards of the Bay of Cádiz, highly dependent on the €1.813 billion contract with Saudi Arabia to deliver five corvettes.[60][61] In response to the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018, Sánchez defended the decision to continue arms sales to Saudi Arabia and insisted on his government's "responsibility" to protect jobs in the arms industry.[62][63]

April snap election victory and deadlockEdit

 
Prime Minister Sánchez announcing a snap election for 28 April 2019.

After the rejection of his budget, Sánchez called an early general election for 28 April 2019, making a television announcement in which he declared that "between doing nothing and continuing with the [former] budget and calling on Spaniards to have their say, I chose the second. Spain needs to keep advancing, progressing with tolerance, respect, moderation and common sense".[64]

The PSOE won the election, obtaining 29% of the vote which translated into 123 seats in the Congress of Deputies, well over the 85 seats and 23% share of the vote the party obtained in the 2016 election.[65] PSOE also won a supermajority in the Senate. Whilst the PSOE were 53 seats short of the 176 seats needed for an outright majority in the Congress of Deputies, a three-way split in the centre-right vote assured that it was the only party that could realistically form a government.[66][67][68]

On 6 June 2019, King Felipe VI, having previously held prospective meetings with the spokespeople of the political groups with representation in the new Congress of Deputies, formally proposed Sánchez as prospective Prime Minister. Sánchez accepted the task of trying to form a government "with honor and responsibility".[69] Several weeks of negotiations with Podemos ended in an agreement that Sánchez would appoint several Podemos members to the Cabinet, although not the party's leader Pablo Iglesias.[70] But in the final voting session, Podemos rejected the agreement and led Sánchez to try a second chance to be inaugurated in September.

November snap election and coalition government agreementEdit

 
Sánchez and Iglesias announcing a tentative agreement for a "progressive" government (Palacio de las Cortes, 12 November 2019).

Following the results of the November 2019 Spanish general election, on 12 November 2019 Pedro Sánchez and Iglesias announced a preliminary agreement between PSOE and Unidas Podemos to rule together making the first coalition government of the Spanish democracy provided both groups command enough support from the rest of groups with parliamentary representation at the Lower House.[71][72]

Personal lifeEdit

Sánchez married María Begoña Gómez Fernández in 2006 and they have two daughters, Ainhoa and Carlota. The civil wedding was officiated by Trinidad Jiménez. Aside from Spanish, Sánchez speaks fluent English and French.[73][9][74] He is an atheist.[75]

Electoral historyEdit

Electoral history of Pedro Sánchez
Election List Constituency List position Result
Madrid local election, 2003 PSOE 24th (out of 55) Not elected[a]
Madrid local election, 2007 PSOE 15th (out of 57) Elected
2008 Spanish general election PSOE Madrid 21st (out of 35) Not elected[b]
2011 Spanish general election PSOE Madrid 11th (out of 36) Not elected[c]
2015 Spanish general election PSOE Madrid 1st (out of 36) Elected
2016 Spanish general election PSOE Madrid 1st (out of 36) Elected
April 2019 Spanish general election PSOE Madrid 1st (out of 37) Elected
November 2019 Spanish general election PSOE Madrid 1st (out of 37) Elected
  1. ^ He became city councillor in 2004 replacing Elena Arnedo.
  2. ^ He became MP in 2009, replacing Pedro Solbes.
  3. ^ He became MP in 2013, replacing Cristina Narbona.

DistinctionsEdit

Notable published worksEdit

  • Ocaña Orbis, Carlos y Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, Pedro (2013): La nueva diplomacia económica española. Madrid: Delta. ISBN 9788415581512.[79]
  • Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, Pedro (2019): Manual de resistencia. Madrid: Península. ISBN 9788499427959.[80]

Discussed plagiarism and authorshipEdit

  • La nueva diplomacia económica española. In 2018 a newspaper revealed that the book includes the plagiarism of six other people's texts.[81] The suspicion was made extensive to his doctoral thesis, whose authorship was questioned.[82]
  • Manual de resistencia. The authorship of this work is in doubt because Sánchez, who appears as the sole author, states in the prologue that "This book is the result of long hours of conversation with Irene Lozano, writer, thinker, politician and friend. She gave a literary form to the recordings, giving me a decisive help".[83] The mentioned writer, for her part, affirmed that "I made the book, but the author is the president".[84]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Including a CETME assault rifle, a Skorpion vz. 61 and four long-range rifles able to hit a target located 1,500 m away from the sniper.[53] The suspect also carried two guns in his car, one of them modified.[53]

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ "Real Decreto 354/2018, de 1 de junio, por el que se nombra Presidente del Gobierno a don Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón" (pdf). Boletín Oficial del Estado (in Spanish). Agencia Estatal Boletín Oficial del Estado (134): 57657. 2 June 2018. ISSN 0212-033X.
  3. ^ Pedro Sánchez, la vida familiar del político al que han apodado 'míster PSOE 2014' Published by Vanitatis, June 23, 2014, accessed June 26, 2014
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  5. ^ a b c d e "Pedro Sánchez, Secretaría general" [Pedro Sánchez, Secretary-General]. PSOE (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 December 2015.
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  9. ^ a b "El ascenso de Pedro Sánchez: de diputado "desconocido" a secretario general del PSOE" [The rise of Pedro Sanchez: from "unknown" deputy to general secretary of the PSOE]. ABC (in Spanish). 13 July 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 October 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  33. ^ Rios, Beatriz (17 January 2019). "Spanish PM: If Europe protects us, we need to protect Europe". euractiv.com. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  34. ^ Castro, Irene. "Sánchez advierte de que los "enemigos" de Europa están "dentro" y llama a votar contra las fuerzas "unidas por sus odios"". eldiario.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
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  38. ^ "Spain will accept migrant ship Aquarius after Italy and Malta refuse entry". Deutsche Welle. 11 June 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
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  40. ^ Sandford, Alasdair (19 July 2018). "'Open Arms' migrant rescue boat heads for Spain amid row with Italy". Euronews. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
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  44. ^ "Spain PM Pedro Sanchez threatens Brexit deal over Gibraltar". The Local. 20 November 2018.
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  49. ^ Luxmoore, Jonathan (29 June 2018). "Spanish church warns on exhumation of dictator". The Boston Pilot. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
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  52. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/23/francos-remains-to-finally-leave-spains-valley-of-the-fallen
  53. ^ a b c "Los Mossos detienen a un tirador que quería matar a Pedro Sánchez". El Periódico. 8 November 2018.
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Political offices
Preceded by
Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba
Leader of the Opposition
2014–2016
Vacant
Vacant Leader of the Opposition
2017–2018
Succeeded by
Pablo Casado
Preceded by
Mariano Rajoy
Prime Minister of Spain
2018–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba
Secretary General of the
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party

2014–2016
Succeeded by
Javier Fernández (Acting)
Preceded by
Javier Fernández (Acting)
Secretary General of the
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party

2017–present
Incumbent