|Prime Minister of Spain|
2 June 2018
|Secretary-General of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party|
17 June 2017
26 July 2014 - 1 October 2016
|Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba|
|Leader of the Opposition|
18 June 2017 - 2 June 2018
26 July 2014 - 1 October 2016
|Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba|
|Member of the Congress of Deputies|
21 May 2019
10 January 2013 - 29 October 2016
15 September 2009 - 27 September 2011
Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón
29 February 1972
|Political party||Spanish Socialist Workers' Party|
|Residence||Palace of Moncloa|
|Education||Complutense University of Madrid (Lic.)|
Université libre de Bruxelles
IESE Business School
Camilo José Cela University (PhD)
Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón (Spanish: ['peð?o 'sant?e? 'pe?e? kaste'xon]; born 29 February 1972) is a Spanish politician who has been Prime Minister of Spain since June 2018. 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.
Sánchez began his political career in 2004 as a city councillor in Madrid, before being elected to the Congress of Deputies in 2009. In 2014, he was elected Secretary-General of the PSOE, becoming Leader of the Opposition. He led the party through the inconclusive 2015 and 2016 general elections, but resigned as Secretary-General shortly after the latter, following public disagreements with the party's executive. He was subsequently re-elected in a leadership election eight months later, defeating Susana Díaz and Patxi López.
On 1 June 2018, the PSOE called a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, successfully passing the motion after winning the support of Unidas Podemos, as well as various regionalist and nationalist parties. Sánchez was subsequently sworn in as Prime Minister by King Felipe VI the following day. He went on to lead the PSOE to gain 38 seats in the April 2019 general election, the PSOE's first national victory since 2008, although they fell short of a majority. After talks to form a government failed, Sánchez again won the most votes at the November 2019 general election, and in January 2020 he formed a coalition government with Unidas Podemos, the first national coalition government since the country's return to democracy.
Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón was born in 1972 in Madrid to a well-off family, son to Pedro Sánchez Fernández and Magdalena Pérez-Castejón. His father was a public administrator long employed at the Ministry of Culture's Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y de la Música (later owner of an industrial packing company) and his mother worked as a civil servant in the social security system (later becoming a lawyer, graduating with her son at the same university). Raised in the Tetuán district, he studied at the Colegio Santa Cristina, also located in the district. According to Sánchez himself, he frequented breakdancing circles in AZCA when he was a teenager. He moved from the Colegio Santa Cristina to the Instituto Ramiro de Maeztu, a public high school where he played basketball in the Estudiantes youth system, with links to the high school, reaching the U-21 team.
In 1990, Sánchez went to study economics and business sciences. In 1993, he joined the PSOE after the victory of Felipe González in the elections that year. Sánchez earned a licentiate degree from the Real Colegio Universitario María Cristina, attached to the Complutense University of Madrid, in 1995. Following his graduation he worked in New York for a consulting firm.
In 1998, before entering a career in local and national politics, Sánchez started to work in Brussels in the PSOE's delegation to the European Parliament as assistant to MEP Bárbara Dührkop. He also worked in the staff of the United Nations high representative in Bosnia, Carlos Westendorp. He earned a degree in Politics and Economics in 1998 after graduating from the Université libre de Bruxelles.
He earned a degree of business leadership from IESE Business School in the University of Navarra, a private university and apostolate of the Opus Dei.[failed verification] Sánchez obtained a diploma in Advanced Studies in EU Monetary Integration from the Instituto Ortega y Gasset in 2002.
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. Between 18 May 2004 - 15 September 2009, he was one of the 57 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, 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. In parallel to his seat at the city council, Sánchez started to work as instructor at the Universidad Camilo José Cela (UCJC) in 2008, lecturing about Economic Structure and History of Economic Thought.
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.
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 focused on preparing his Doctorate in Economics at the UCJC, earning the PhD in November 2012 by writing a dissertation titled Innovaciones de la diplomacia económica española: Análisis del sector público (2000-2012) supervised by María Isabel Cepeda González. In 2018 Sánchez was accused by the Spanish daily ABC of plagiarism.
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 bid to party leader 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). He was confirmed as Secretary-General after an Extraordinary Congress of the PSOE was held on 26-27 July that ratified the electoral result.
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 term as Prime Minister amid an economic crisis. He also opposed the grand coalition model supported by the former Prime Minister and PSOE leader Felipe González, who lobbied in favour of 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.
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. Sánchez's political agenda included reforming the constitution, establishing a federal model in Spain to replace the current devolution model, and further secularization of Spain's education system, including the removal of religion-affiliated public and private schools. 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 prospective candidate to prime minister. The party won only 85 seats in the general election.
Amid deep inner strife within the party started by September 2016 (the 2016 PSOE crisis), Sánchez lost support from the PSOE's federal committee in a key vote and was forced to resign as Secretary-General on 1 October 2016. His defeated proposal (107 in favour versus 132 against) was that of celebrate a snap PSOE primary election in October 2016 and a party congress in November.
In order to avoid obeying the directive of the PSOE's interim leadership to facilitate Mariano Rajoy's investiture as Prime Minister by means of an abstention and thus "betraying his word", Sánchez also renounced to his seat at the Congress of Deputies in October 2016, and started to prepare for a new candidacy to the leadership of the party in the upcoming primary election. Besides the renunciation of Sánchez, 15 PSOE MPs would break party discipline by voting against Rajoy,[n. 1] yet as Rajoy only needed the abstention from 11 PSOE MPs (out of 84), the latter was invested as Prime Minister.
In May 2018, after verdicts were announced in the Gürtel trial, PSOE filed a successful no-confidence motion against Mariano Rajoy. Per the Constitution, Spanish votes of no confidence are constructive; those bringing the motion must propose a replacement candidate for Prime Minister. Accordingly, the PSOE proposed Sánchez (who was not a member of the Congress of Deputies at the time) as Rajoy's replacement. 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.
Sánchez was sworn in as Prime Minister by King Felipe VI on 2 June. 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 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. 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.
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. 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 Sánchez's atheism. 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.
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.
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".
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. He stated in a speech in March 2019 adding that the enemies of Europe are inside of the European Union.
Sánchez, wanting to recover the weight of Spain in the European institutions, actively participated in the negotiations to form a new European Commission, led by Von Der Leyen. In this sense, Sánchez guaranteed for Spain the post of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, with Josep Borrell, the then Spanish foreign minister, as the high representative.
In his second government, he continued strengthening the pro-European profile of its ministers, appointing José Luis Escrivá, the then chair of the Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility and former chair of the EU Independent Fiscal Institutions Network, as minister for social security.
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. 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. 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. The same happened two weeks later.
The Prime Minister considered the immigration matter as a European matter and showed Spain's solidarity with the German Government by accepting an agreement between Germany, Greece and Spain to swap migrants to share their economic costs, prevent secondary movements, and reunite families. "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".
Sánchez has called for joint U.K.-Spanish sovereignty over British-controlled Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory in the south of the Iberian peninsula. He publicly warned that Spain will "veto" Brexit deal over the issue of Gibraltar. In November 2018, Sánchez said that "With Brexit we all lose, especially the United Kingdom, but when it comes to Gibraltar, Spain wins."
On 31 December 2020, hours before the deadline for the final departure from the United Kingdom, the Spanish and British governments reached a pre-agreement on the Rock. The agreement consisted of keeping Gibraltar within the Schengen Area under the responsibility of Spain as the member state of the Schengen Agreement. For border control and for a period of four years, it would be the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), under Spanish authority, who would carry out this task. It also involved the demolition of the border fence.
On 18 June 2018, Sánchez' government announced its intention to remove the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco from the Valle de los Caídos. 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. 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.
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. The Congress of Deputies voted in favor of the exhumation on 13 September 2018. 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.
In November 2018, the Mossos d'Esquadra reported the arrest of a Terrassa resident who, angry with the exhumation plans and having an arsenal of 16 firearms at home,[n. 2] allegedly planned to kill Sánchez in order to finish, in his own words, with that "shitty red".
Sánchez said he would "reinstate dialogue" with the Catalan independence movement. 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. 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. 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". The distance between the two governments became clear when the parliamentary opposition--among which was Catalan separatism--rejected the government's budget. After this, the Prime Minister called a snap election.
After the sentence in 2019 trial of Catalonia independence leaders Sánchez confirmed its support for the sentence, and denied possibility of any indulgence, proclaiming that the sentence should be served by convicts in its entirety, in spite of that two years later Sánchez granted indulgence to all convicts. Shortly after granting the indulgence, Sánchez stressed that despite of that there never will be a referendum for independence of Catalonia, in response he was mocked by Gabriel Rufian and other Catalan politics, who reminded that two years before he claimed the same with regards to the indulgence, and insinuated that it is just a matter of time Sánchez will break his latest claims.
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 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 EUR1.813 billion contract with Saudi Arabia to deliver five corvettes. 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.
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".
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. PSOE also won a majority 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.
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". 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. But in the final voting session, Podemos rejected the agreement and led Sánchez to try a second chance to be inaugurated in September.
Despite electoral promises of Sánchez to not pact a government with Unidas Podemos, just 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 creating the first coalition government of the Spanish democracy, for all purposes a minority coalition as it did not enjoy a qualified majority at the Lower House, thus needing further support or abstention from other parliamentary forces in order to get through. On 7 January 2020, Pedro Sánchez earned a second mandate as Prime Minister after receiving a plurality of votes in the second round vote of his investiture at the Congress of Deputies. He was then once again sworn in as Prime Minister by King Felipe on 8 January. Soon after, Sánchez proceeded to form a new cabinet with 22 ministers and 4 vice-presidencies, the largest in Europe, and in the modern history of Spain, who assumed office on 13 January.
On 13 March 2020, Sánchez announced a declaration of the state of alarm in the nation for a period of 15 days, to become effective the following day after the approval of the Council of Ministers, becoming the second time in democratic history and the first time with this magnitude. The following day imposed a nationwide lockdown, banning all trips that were not force majeure and announced it may intervene in companies to guarantee supplies. On July 14, 2021 the Constitutional Court of Spain, acting upon the 2020'th appeal by Vox, sentensed by a narrow majority (6 votes in support vs. 5 votes against) that the state of alarm was inconstitutional in the part of suppressing the freedom of movement established by the Article 19 of the Constitution.
In early September 2020, state-controlled bank Bankia and Caixabank announced that they were very close to a deal to merge both banks. That merge would created the biggest domestic bank in Spain, surpassing Santander and BBVA. Unidas Podemos, the coalition partner of the second Sánchez government and its leader, Second Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias rejected the merger describing it as a "privatization" and criticized that Third Deputy Prime Minister Calviño never revealed to them the existence of this talks.
Calviño, whose signature was more than enough to authorize the merger, received the support of the prime minister, who described the merger as something "positive" for the Spanish economy and the "territorial cohesion" since the bank would extend its influence from two to four Spanish regions. Days later, Calviño described the banking consolidation as "probably inevitable" to keep the solvency and competitiveness of the banking sector in the future, but at the same time she warned that this type of operations should be carried out respecting competition and the interests of consumers and that the CNMC would be watching. On September 17, 2020, the boards of both banks approved the merger. The new bank, which will maintain the Caixabank brand, will have the Spanish government as the second largest shareholder, with 16.1% of the shares.
On 10 July 2021, Sánchez announced a government reshuffle, effective on July 12. A number of figures, considered political heavy-weights prior to the change, were outed, among them Carmen Calvo, José Luis Ábalos, Iván Redondo, and Juan Carlos Campo. The economic sector of government was not changed, and the minister of Economy Nadia Calviño was elevated to First Deputy Prime Minister. A number of government seats were filled by regional PSOE cadres unknown to a wide audience prior to the reshuffle. The changes did not affect the UP sector of government.
Sánchez ran in the 2014 PSOE primary election under what has been described as a centrist and social liberal profile, later switching to the left in his successful 2017 bid to return to the PSOE leadership in which he stood for a refoundation of social democracy in order to transition to a "post-capitalist society", ending "neoliberal capitalism". A key personal idea posed in his 2019 Manual de Resistencia book is the indissoluble link between "social democracy" and "Europe".
Aside from Spanish, Sánchez speaks fluent English and French. He is the first Spanish prime minister fluent in English while in office (former PM José María Aznar learned English after leaving office). Foreign languages were not widely taught in Spanish schools until the mid-1970s and former Prime Ministers were known for struggling with them.
|2003 Madrid City Council election||PSOE||-||24th (out of 55)||Not elected[a]|
|2007 Madrid City Council election||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|