Who is Mariano Rajoy and why was he ousted as prime minister? Rajoy was one of Europe’s longest serving prime ministers until the vote of no confidence forced him to step down, which many of his oppositions see this as a chance for Spain to have a fresh start. In 2015, he managed to narrowly cling on to power after the elections, which saw his Conservative People’s Party (PP) unable to win enough seats to form a party.

It wasn’t until 10 months later that Rajoy had managed to survive to cling on to power and form a government. Throughout his time in office, he was plagued by multiple issues that he had no desire to rectify.

What caused Rajoy’s downfall?

Corruption was a key issue as to why he was ousted but what exactly happened in this regard? Rajoy’s opponents said that he failed to take responsibility for the corruption that saw several key party members jailed. On 24th May it was reported by the BBC that the party’s treasurer Luis Barcenas was jailed for 33 years after the High Court in Madrid convicted him if receiving bribes, money laundering and tax crimes. The case relates to a secret campaign fund for the People’s Party which ran from 1999 to 2005.

So far at least 28 other businessmen connected to the PP were convicted for accepting bribes in biggest corruption scandal Spain has faced, although it is likely that this number could rise and it also saw Rajoy himself being forced to testify.

But the corruption case was just the spark that lit the fuse because since he became prime minister in 2011, he has presided over the highest unemployment rate since the 1970s, around 26.9 percent, a housing crisis where around 400,000 families have been forced out of their homes, massive public service cuts and two general strikes.

Along with the Catalonia crisis, which was exacerbated by him and his party when they forcibly overturned a referendum that was recognised by Madrid that saw the people of Catalonia vote for autonomy, this then led to the eventual ‘illegal’ referendum held last year, which saw the police brutally crack down on people exercising their rights to a fair vote. Many people in Spain are tired of the current main political parties and there is a desire to see the fall of PP and Rajoy because it might just usher in a new era of politics.