Former prime minister Mariano Rajoy, who was ousted in a vote of no confidence last Friday, announced on Tuesday that he would be stepping down as leader of the Partido Popular (PP).
"I think the time has arrived to draw a line under [my tenure]," said Rajoy who was replaced by Pedro Sánchez after the PSOE leader tabled a motion (which was passed with 180 in favour, 169 against and one abstention) to topple the leader of the government since 2011.
"The PP must continue going forward and building on its record of serving the Spanish people under someone else," he told the National Executive Committee of the PP. "This is the best [decision] for me, for the PP and for Spain."
Rajoy will remain at the helm of the party, however, until the next party conference at which his successor will be chosen. A meeting will be held "soon" to decide a date at which "the party will enter a new era with a new direction".
Sánchez makes first ministerial appointments
Still in the first week of his premiership, Pedro Sánchez's government is starting to take shape. Sánchez has appointed former Culture minister in the Zapatero government Carmen Calvo as both his deputy and Equality secretary. Calvo, 61, is a trusted pair of hands and a committed feminist; she has been behind some of the PSOE's most ambitious flagship policies over the years.
Calvo, from Cordoba, is one of two Andalusians in the cabinet; the second is Seville-born María Jesús Montero, who has gone from head of the Treasury at the Junta de Andalucía to occupying the same post in central government.
Elsewhere, party sources claim that Adriana Lastra will go from deputy general secretary of the PSOE to party spokesperson in Congress, while on Monday, Catalan Josep Borrell made his return to frontline politics, accepting the role of Minister of the Exterior.
Teresa Ribera will oversee the Ministry for Energy, Environment and Climate Change while former advisor to Barack Obama, Rafael Bengoa, is pondering an offer to take charge of Health.