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Rajoy returned as PM in confidence vote, ending Spain’s political crisis

Cesar Manso / AFP | Leader of the Popular Party (PP) and Spain's caretaker Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy waves as he delivers a speech at the PP headquarters during Spain's general election in Madrid on June 26, 2016.

Spain's parliament voted Saturday to approve acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's bid to form a new minority government, putting an end to the country's 10-month political deadlock.

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Rajoy, leader of the conservative Popular Party, won a second term as prime minister with a 170-111 vote and 68 abstentions.

During the vote, hundreds of anti -Popular Party protesters marched through Madrid's downtown streets carrying signs reading "No To The Mafia Coup."

Opposition groups protest confidence vote

Rajoy needed a majority in the 350-seat Parliament during a first confidence vote Thursday, but was rejected. He only needed more votes in favor than against during the second vote.

Going into the balloting, Rajoy had the support of 170 lawmakers, 137 of them from his own party. The rival Socialist party broke the deadlock by agreeing last week to abstain from the second vote. Fifteen of its members nonetheless voted against Rajoy on Saturday.

Former Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez resigned his Parliamentary seat early Saturday, leaving only 349 members taking part in the confidence vote. Sanchez said amid tears that he would not defy his party's decision to pave the way for a Rajoy government by abstaining, but could not vote for Rajoy either.

Rajoy's will likely be sworn in before King Felipe VI on Sunday or Monday. He has said he plans to announce the members of his cabinet on Thursday. 

(AP)

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