Pedro Sanchez sworn in as new Spanish PM

Pedro Sanchez sworn in as new Spanish PM

"Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, let's talk, let's address this issue, let's take risks, you and us", Torra said.

Even if Sanchez supported Rajoy in his response to the Catalan crisis, generally speaking the Socialists have been more attuned to Catalan claims than the conservative Popular Party (PP).

New Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez is sworn in as the man he ousted Mariano Rajoy (R) watches on.

In his first comments after winning the no-confidence motion, Sanchez, a former basketball player, vowed to tackle "all the challenges which the country faces with humility".

The Basque Nationalist Party will vote against Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in a no-confidence motion, Cadena Ser radio and La Sexta television said on Thursday, in a move that would nearly certainly force him out of office.

He has also said he wants to "build bridges" with Catalonia's new separatist government, headed by Quim Torra, which will take office on Saturday at the same time that Sanchez takes his oath of office.

But the coming months could be hard for Sanchez to navigate, with a minority Socialist government needing to please Basque regionalists, Catalan separatists and anti-austerity parties in order to pass legislation in parliament. A new fiscal policy and the extension of welfare rights are also part of his agenda within the PSOE.Academic and politician - The 46-year-old leader of the second-biggest party after Rajoy's conservatives first joined the PSOE in 1993, worked as a political adviser in the European Parliament and at the United Nations during the Kosovo war.

In its ruling, the court said the credibility of Rajoy's testimony "should be questioned".

Rajoy had been in power since 2011 as the head of the Popular Party (PP).

The socialists' unlikely leap into office, unexpected just a few days ago for a party that lags the centre-right Ciudadanos and Rajoy's conservative People's Party (PP) in opinion polls, was precipitated by last week's sentencing of dozens of people linked to the PP to decades in jail in a corruption trial.

Sanchez and his Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) were the initiators of the no-confidence motion which passed on Friday by 180 - 169, with one abstaining.

Mr Sanchez had been Mr Rajoy's most loyal backer in his takeover of Catalonia's regional government following its failed secession attempt previous year.

While Rajoy looks likely to be unseated by the Socialist party which presented the no-confidence motion, the veteran politician isn't going down without a fight.

Sanchez will only be able to implement policy initiatives "that allow him to obtain an easy majority" in parliament, said Fernando Vallespin, political scientist at the Autonomous University of Madrid.

The parliamentary debate resumed at 9 a.m. local time and the vote of confidence is expected at around 12 midday. The PSOE also had the support of the far left Podemos party which had previously called for a no confidence vote against Rajoy. As the second most voted party in the 2016 election, the Socialists proposed Sanchez, who regained the party leadership previous year after an internal revolt that sidelined him for months.

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