2018 vote of no confidence in the government of Mariano Rajoy

A motion of no confidence in the Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy was debated and voted in the Congress of Deputies between 31 May and 1 June 2018. It was brought by Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez after the governing People's Party (PP) was found to have profited from the illegal kickbacks-for-contracts scheme of the Gürtel case in a court ruling made public the previous day. This was the fourth motion of no confidence since the Spanish transition to democracy and the first one to be successful,[1] as well the second to be submitted against Mariano Rajoy after the Unidos Podemos's one the previous year.[2][3] Coincidentally, it was held 38 years after the first such vote of no confidence in Spain on 30 May 1980.

2018 vote of no confidence in the government of Mariano Rajoy
Outgoing prime minister Mariano Rajoy (right) congratulating incoming prime minister Pedro Sánchez (left) upon losing the no confidence vote on 1 June 2018
Date31 May – 1 June 2018
LocationCongress of Deputies, Spain
CauseThe National Court's sentence on the Gürtel case scandal affecting the People's Party (PP).
Participants
OutcomeMotion approved:

The motion successfully passed with the support of 180 deputies—those of PSOE, Unidos Podemos, Republican Left of Catalonia, Catalan European Democratic Party, Basque Nationalist Party, Compromís, EH Bildu and New Canaries—and resulted in the downfall of Mariano Rajoy's government and in Pedro Sánchez becoming new Prime Minister of Spain.[4] Public opinion at the time was found to be overwhelmingly in favour of the motion, as revealed by polling conducted in the days previous and during the events leading to the vote. Subsequently on 5 June, Rajoy announced his resignation as PP leader and his withdrawal from politics after having led the party for 14 years,[5] vacating his seat in parliament and returning to his position as property registrar in Santa Pola.[6][7] Prior to his ouster, Rajoy had hinted at the possibility that he might not seek re-election for a third term in office, with his ultimate farewell sparking a leadership contest that would see Pablo Casado being elected as new party chairman.

Before the unveiling of the court ruling that led to the motion's tabling, the Citizens (Cs) party of Albert Rivera had been in the lead in opinion polling for the most part of 2018. Rivera's erratic attitude during the lead up to the motion and its ultimate result—which saw his party voting against it—were widely regarded by media and political commentators as causing political initiative to shift from Cs towards Sánchez's PSOE, which would go on to win all elections held over the next year: general, local, regional and to the European Parliament. The failed 2019 government formation process and the electoral repetition in November that year would ultimately see a collapse in support for Cs and Rivera's resignation as party leader.