Pedro Sanchez has been sworn in as Spain’s prime minister, a day after the Socialist leader successfully ousted predecessor Mariano Rajoy who lost a no-confidence vote in parliament.
Mr Rajoy was in attendance at the ceremony held in the royal Zarzuela Palace and shook Mr Sanchez’s hand after the new leader was sworn in by King Felipe VI before they posed for a photo with the monarch along with the speakers of the lower Congress of Deputies and the Senate.
Mr Sanchez took an oath of loyalty to the King and to Spain’s Constitution.
He did so without swearing on the Bible or Crucifix, a first for a Spanish prime minister since the restoration of the democracy.
Mr Sanchez toppled Mr Rajoy following a court ruling in a major corruption case involving the conservative leader’s Partido Popular.
Parliament voted 180-169 on Friday to replace Mr Rajoy’s government with one led by Mr Sanchez.
Spain is the eurozone’s fourth largest economy and an influential member of the European Union. Mr Sanchez and his party are staunch supporters of the EU and the shared currency.
Mr Sanchez has vowed to fight corruption and help those Spaniards affected by years of public spending cuts under Mr Rajoy’s government.
He also pledged to hold an election soon, while not setting a date.
Mr Sanchez will lead a minority government and will need the support of both the far-left Podemos party and the backing of regional parties and Catalan secessionists to get anything done in government.