Pedro Sánchez

Pedro Sánchez
(Top image): Pedro Sánchez staring at the camera with a neutral expression, in a suit and a neck tie with the colors blue, black, & yellow arranged in a tartan like pattern. (Bottom image): Pedro Sánchez' signature
Official portrait, 2023
Prime Minister of Spain
Assumed office
2 June 2018
MonarchFelipe VI
DeputyMaría Jesús Montero
Yolanda Díaz
Teresa Ribera
Preceded byMariano Rajoy
President of the Socialist International
Assumed office
25 November 2022
Secretary-GeneralBenedicta Lasi
Preceded byGeorge Papandreou
Secretary-General of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
Assumed office
17 June 2017
PresidentCristina Narbona
DeputyAdriana Lastra
María Jesús Montero
Preceded byCaretaker committee
In office
26 July 2014 – 1 October 2016
PresidentMicaela Navarro
Preceded byAlfredo Pérez Rubalcaba
Succeeded byCaretaker committee
Leader of the Opposition
In office
18 June 2017 – 2 June 2018
Prime MinisterMariano Rajoy
Preceded byVacant
Succeeded byPablo Casado
In office
26 July 2014 – 1 October 2016
Prime MinisterMariano Rajoy
Preceded byAlfredo Pérez Rubalcaba
Succeeded byVacant
Member of the Congress of Deputies
Assumed office
21 May 2019
In office
10 January 2013 – 29 October 2016
In office
15 September 2009 – 27 September 2011
Member of the Madrid City Council
In office
18 May 2004 – 15 September 2009
Personal details
Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón

(1972-02-29) 29 February 1972 (age 51)
Madrid, Spain
Political partySpanish Socialist Workers' Party
Begoña Gómez
(m. 2006)
ResidencePalace of Moncloa
EducationReal Centro Universitario Escorial-Maria Christina
Complutense University of Madrid
Université Libre de Bruxelles
IESE Business School
Camilo José Cela University

Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpeðɾo ˈsantʃeθ ˈpeɾeθ kasteˈxon]; 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, and was elected President of the Socialist International in November 2022.

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 internal rivals Susana Díaz and Patxi López.

On 1 June 2018, the PSOE called a vote of no confidence against 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 appointed 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, forming a minority coalition government with Unidas Podemos, the first national coalition government since the country's return to democracy. After the PSOE suffered significant losses in regional elections in May 2023, Sánchez called a snap general election, which saw the PSOE hold all of its seats; despite finishing second behind the People's Party, Sánchez was able to again form a coalition government, and was appointed to a third term as Prime Minister on 17 November 2023.

Early life and education

Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón was born in 1972 in Madrid to well-off parents, Pedro Sánchez Fernández and Magdalena Pérez-Castejón. His father was a public administrator who spent most of his career at the Ministry of Culture's Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y de la Música (lit.'National Institute of the Performing Arts and Music'). He later became the owner of an industrial packing company. His mother also worked as a civil servant, in the social security system, and later studied to become a lawyer, ultimately graduating alongside her son at the same university. Raised in the Tetuán district, he went on to study at the Colegio Santa Cristina. 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 1993, Sánchez first joined the PSOE, following the victory of Felipe González in that year's general election. He earned a licentiate degree from the Real Colegio Universitario María Cristina, attached to the Complutense University of Madrid, in 1995. Following his graduation, he moved to New York City to work for a global consulting firm.

In 1998, Sánchez moved to Brussels to work for the PSOE's delegation to the European Parliament, including as an assistant to the MEP Bárbara Dührkop. He also spent time working in the staff of the United Nations High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Carlos Westendorp. Combining studies with his employment, he earned a second degree, in Politics and Economics, in 1998, graduating from the Université libre de Bruxelles. He also earned a degree in business leadership from IESE Business School in the University of Navarra, a private university and apostolate of the Opus Dei, and a diploma in Advanced Studies in EU Monetary Integration from the Instituto Ortega y Gasset in 2002. In 2012, Sánchez received his Doctorate in Economics from Camilo José Cela University, where he lectured in economics.

Political career

Councillor and National Deputy

In 2003, Sánchez stood for Madrid City Council as a PSOE candidate, under the local leadership of Trinidad Jiménez. He was 23rd on the proportional representation list, but missed out as the PSOE won only 21 seats. Sánchez joined the council a year later by co-option when two of the PSOE councillors resigned. He quickly rose to become a close confidante of Trinidad Jiménez, who sought the leadership of the council. In 2005, he was seconded to help lead the PSdG (PSOE's sister party in Galicia) campaign in the Galician regional election, which saw the PSdG win enough seats to allow their leader, Emilio Pérez Touriño, to become President of Galicia. As well as his career as a Madrid City Councillor, Sánchez also worked as a university lecturer at the Universidad Camilo José Cela (UCJC) in 2008, lecturing on Economic Structure and History of Economic Thought.

Pedro Sánchez in a suit and tie sitting next to a woman wearing a white top and black pants with several people standing behind them.
Sánchez during the PSOE's 2011 general election campaign

Via co-option, Sánchez was elected to the Spanish Congress of Deputies for Madrid to replace the retiring Pedro Solbes, who has served as Finance Minister under PSOE Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. However his first period in the Congress would be short, as at the 2011 general election, the PSOE suffered a large defeat and only elected 10 deputies for Madrid; with Sánchez 11th on the proportional list, he lost his seat in the Congress. He subsequently enrolled at the UCJC to study a Doctorate in Economics, earning his PHD 18 months later by writing a dissertation entitled Innovaciones de la diplomacia económica española: Análisis del sector público (2000–2012) (English translation: Innovations of Spanish Economic Diplomacy: Analysis of the Public Sector (2000–2012)), supervised by María Isabel Cepeda González. In 2018, Sánchez was accused by the ABC newspaper of plagiarism in his doctorate. Refuting the allegations, Sánchez published his full thesis online.

In January 2013, Sánchez returned to Congress representing Madrid, replacing Cristina Narbona, who resigned to accept appointment at the Nuclear Safety Council. In December 2013, after publishing a book outlining a new policy direction, with numerous leading PSOE figures such as Elena Valenciano, Trinidad Jiménez, Miguel Sebastián, and José Blanco López attending the launch, his began to be considered a future candidate for the PSOE leadership.

After the resignation of PSOE leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, following poor results at the 2014 European Parliament election, Sánchez launched his campaign to succeed him on 12 June 2014. He was elected as PSOE Secretary-General on 13 July, winning 49% of votes against his opponents Eduardo Madina and José Antonio Pérez Tapias. He was formally appointed Secretary-General after an Extraordinary Congress of the PSOE was held on 26 July to ratify the result, becoming Leader of the Opposition.

Leader of the Opposition

Presenting a platform based on political regeneration, Sánchez called for constitutional reforms establishing federalism as the form of administrative organisation of Spain to ensure that Catalonia would remain within the country; a new progressive fiscal policy; extending the welfare state to all citizens; increasing the membership of labour unions 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 PSOE Prime Minister Felipe González, who lobbied in favour of adopting a more German system to prevent political instability, by instructing his European party caucus not to support the consensus candidate Jean-Claude Juncker of the European People's Party for the role of President of the European Commission.

Upon taking office as PSOE's Secretary-General, Sánchez quickly faced a political crisis following the formation of a new left-wing party, Podemos. Polling approximated that 25% of PSOE supporters would switch their support to Podemos. Sánchez responded by pushing his proposed federal model to replace the devolution model, and calling for the further secularisation of Spain's education system, including the removal of religius-affiliated public and private schools. He later named César Luena as his deputy leader. On Sunday, 21 June 2015, Sánchez was officially announced as the PSOE candidate for prime minister in the upcoming general election. At the election on 20 December, the PSOE won 90 seats, ahead of Podemos who won 69 seats, but coming second to the People's Party (PP), who won with 123 seats. As the PP could not form a government, Sánchez was formally requested by the King in January 2016 to attempt to form a coalition, but he could not win the support of a majority of representatives. This led to a snap general election in June 2016, where the PSOE lost several seats and remained second to the PP.

Resignation and comeback

Following the 2016 general election, Sánchez argued the PSOE should refuse to allow the PP to form a government, which would break the national political deadlock. Susana Díaz, the President of Andalusia, began to lead criticism of Sánchez's leadership, arguing that his hardline position on government formation was harming the party. After poor results for the PSOE in the September Basque and Galician regional elections, numerous PSOE figures followed Díaz in calling for Sánchez's resignation. The situation quickly developed into a party crisis, dubbed by some in the media as the "war of the roses", after Sánchez called a special PSOE congress for the autumn to settle the issue. This prompted half of the PSOE executive committee to resign, and on Saturday, 1 October 2016, Sánchez lost a vote in the PSOE federal committee to support his proposals for an autumn congress; he immediately resigned as Secretary-General and was replaced by an interim "caretaker committee" while a fresh leadership election could be organised.

Pedro Sánchez wearing a white shirt and cheering with multiple people
Sánchez, after winning re-election as Secretary-General, singing The Internationale
Sánchez shaking his hand with Rajoy
Rajoy congratulates Sánchez on his successful no-confidence motion.

Soon after his resignation, the PSOE caretaker committee decided to abstain in the investiture vote, which would enable the PP's Mariano Rajoy to be re-elected as prime minister. Saying that he could not obey this directive as it would mean "betraying his word" not to allow Rajoy to be re-elected, Sánchez resigned his seat in the Congress of Deputies, and declared he would stand in the upcoming leadership election. 15 PSOE MPs broke party discipline in response, by refusing to abstain in the investiture vote and voting against Rajoy, yet as Rajoy only needed an abstention from 11 PSOE MPs out of 84, he easily won the vote to be invested as prime minister.

After resigning as Secretary-General and from the Congress, Sánchez began a national tour, driving his own car around to visit party members throughout different parts of Spain. After an energetic campaign, during which he criticised the caretaker committee for allowing the investiture of Rajoy, on Sunday, 21 May 2017, Sánchez was re-elected Secretary-General by the party membership, taking 50.2% of the vote, and defeating his rival Susana Díaz, who took 39.94%, as well as Patxi López, who won 9.85%; his position was affirmed at a PSOE executive meeting on 17 June, and the following day he was confirmed as Leader of the Opposition, despite no longer holding a seat in the Congress.

As Leader of the Opposition, Sánchez joined Mariano Rajoy in opposing the 2017 Catalan independence referendum, and supported the Spanish Government's decision to dismiss the Catalan Government and impose direct rule on Catalonia in October 2017 following the crisis.

Throughout 2017 and 2018, the Gürtel trial caused controversy for the Rajoy Government; finally, after critical verdicts were announced in May 2018, Sánchez announced that the PSOE would file a motion of no confidence against Rajoy. Under the Spanish Constitution, such motions are constructive, meaning those bringing the motion must simultaneously propose a replacement candidate for prime minister. Accordingly, the PSOE nominated Sánchez as the alternative prime minister. Sánchez led negotiations with other political parties, and ultimately secured the support of enough minor parties in the Congress to guarantee passage of the motion. On Friday, 1 June 2018, 180 Deputies supported the motion of no confidence, clearing the required threshold of 176, leading to Rajoy's resignation and recommendation of Sánchez to succeed him.

Prime Minister of Spain (2018–present)

Sanchez wearing a suit and red tie standing with his cabinet surrounding him
Sánchez and his Cabinet at La Moncloa in June 2018

Sánchez was formally installed as Prime Minister of Spain by King Felipe VI on 2 June 2018. Outlining his priorities, Sánchez said he would form a short-term government that would increase unemployment benefit and propose a law guaranteeing equal pay between the sexes, before dissolving the Congress of Deputies and holding a general election. However, he also said he would uphold the 2018 budget that had already been passed by the Rajoy Government, a condition that the Basque Nationalist Party required to vote for the motion of no confidence. Sánchez also announced he would only propose other measures if they had considerable parliamentary support, re-affirming his government's compliance with the EU deficit requirements.

As Sánchez swore his oath of office to the Spanish Constitution, no Bible or crucifix were used for the first time in modern Spanish history, due to Sánchez's atheism.

Domestic policy

2023 Spanish protests

On 18 June 2018, the Sánchez Government announced its intention to remove the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco from the Valley of the Fallen. On 24 August the Cabinet approved a decree modifying two aspects of the 2007 Historical Memory Law to allow for the exhumation of Franco's remains from the Valley of the Fallen. 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.

After the 2019 sentence of Catalonian independence leaders, Sánchez confirmed his government's support of the sentence, and denied the possibility of any indulgence, proclaiming that the sentence should be served by the convicts in its entirety; Sánchez would, however, eventually grant indulgence to all convicts following the 2023 general election. Shortly after granting the indulgence, Sánchez stressed that despite the indulgence, there would never be a referendum for the independence of Catalonia,

Under Sánchez's premiership, the Congress approved a total central government budget of 196 billion euros – the biggest budget in the country's history – in 2021, after he had won the support of the Catalan pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia.

Following weeks of political tensions, which saw Sánchez accepting an amnesty law for Catalan separatist politicians convicted or investigated for events related to the 2017–2018 Spanish constitutional crisis and the 2019–2020 Catalan protests, he was able to secure enough support to be re-elected as prime minister by an absolute majority on 16 November 2023. Sánchez's re-election and amnesty law proposal sparked protests.

COVID-19 pandemic

Pedro Sanchez standing behind a podium with the flags of Spain and the EU in the background online with the Spanish crest partially visible on the wall behind him
Sánchez announcing the state of alarm on 13 March 2020

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, on 13 March 2020, Sánchez announced a declaration of a national state of alarm, for only the second time in Spain's democratic history, and the first time for such a period. The Cabinet agreed a nationwide lockdown, banning all trips that were not force majeure, and announced it may intervene in companies to guarantee supplies. In July 2021, the Constitutional Court of Spain, acting upon the 2020 appeal by Vox, sentenced by a narrow majority (6 votes in support vs. 5 votes against) that the state of alarm was unconstitutional in the part of suppressing the freedom of movement established by the Article 19 of the Constitution of Spain.

Foreign policy

Sanchez speaking with Angela Merkel
Sánchez with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 26 June 2018
Pedro Sanchez shaking Emmanuel Macron's hand
Sánchez with French President Emmanuel Macron, 26 July 2018
Sánchez with U.S. President Joe Biden in Madrid, Spain, 28 June 2022
Sánchez with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, 23 February 2023
Sánchez with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Rome, Italy, 5 April 2023
Sánchez with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, 17 July 2023
Sánchez with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the 2023 NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, 12 July 2023

Sánchez took a very active role in the international sphere, particularly 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 that the enemies of Europe are "inside of the European Union". During his second government, he continued strengthening the pro-European profile of his ministers, including by appointing José Luis Escrivá, the Chair of the Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility and former chair of the EU Independent Fiscal Institutions Network, as his Minister for Social Security. In June 2020, the Sánchez Government proposed Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Nadia Calviño to be the next Chair of the Eurogroup.

In September 2018, Defence 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, allegedly due to a promise made to Susana Díaz to help protect jobs in the shipyards of the Bay of Cádiz, highly dependent on the €1.813 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.

Following the fall of Kabul and the subsequent de facto creation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Prime Minister offered Spain as a hub for Afghans who collaborated with the European Union, who would later be settled in various countries. The Spanish Government created a temporary refugee camp in the air base of Torrejón de Ardoz, which was later visited by officials from the European Union, including President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel. Von der Leyen praised the Sánchez Government's initiative, stating that the actions of Spain represented "a good example of the European soul at its best". US President Joe Biden spoke with Sánchez to allow the use of the military bases of Rota and Morón to temporarily accommodate Afghan refugees, while praising "Spain's leadership in seeking international support for Afghan women and girls".

In August 2022, during his state visit to Serbia as part of his overall visits to Balkan countries, Sánchez reaffirmed Spain's non-recognition of the independence of Kosovo.

Sanchez criticized Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip during the 2023 Israel–Hamas war. He promised to "work in Europe and in Spain to recognise the Palestinian state".

2023 election

After the PSOE suffered heavy losses in a series of regional and local elections across Spain, with the PP and VOX winning a large number of seats, Sánchez surprised many by announcing a snap general election for 23 July. In a speech confirming the election, Sánchez stated that it was important to listen to the will of the people, but stressed the need to persevere with post-COVID economic recovery measures implemented by his government, and that he would seek to prevent the formation a PP-VOX Government.

At the election, the PP gained 48 seats, finishing first, but the PSOE held all of its seats, and VOX over one third of its seats; this meant that PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo was not able to form a government. After the Congress of Deputies formally rejected Feijóo's bid to be invested in September 2023, King Felipe VI appointed Sánchez to form a government. After obtaining the support of the left-wing Sumar alliance, as well as a series of pro-independence and regionalist political parties, the Congress of Deputies re-elected Sánchez as Prime Minister on 16 November 2023; he was formally appointed to a third term the following day, sparking protests.


In 2014, Sánchez ran to be PSOE Secretary-General under what has been described as a "centrist" and "social liberal" platform, before moving further left in his successful 2017 bid to return to the leadership, during which he stood for a "re-foundation of social democracy", in order to transition to a "post-capitalist society", ending "neoliberal capitalism". One key idea posed in his 2019 Manual de Resistencia book is "the indissoluble link between 'social democracy' and 'Europe'". Sánchez is also a strong opponent of prostitution and has advocated for its abolition.

Personal life

Sánchez married María Begoña Gómez Fernández in 2006 and they have two children. The civil wedding was officiated by Trinidad Jiménez. Sánchez is an atheist.

Aside from Spanish, Sánchez speaks fluent English and French. He is the first Spanish Prime Minister to be fluent in English while in office (former Prime Minister José María Aznar became fluent in English after leaving office). Foreign languages were not widely taught in Spanish schools until the mid-1970s, and former Prime Ministers had become known for struggling with them as a result.

Electoral history

Electoral history of Pedro Sánchez
Election List Constituency List position Result
2003 Madrid City Council election PSOE 24th (out of 55) Not elected
2007 Madrid City Council election PSOE 15th (out of 57) Elected
2008 Spanish general election PSOE Madrid 21st (out of 35) Not elected
2011 Spanish general election PSOE Madrid 11th (out of 36) Not elected
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
2023 Spanish general election PSOE Madrid 1st (out of 37) Elected
  1. ^ He became city councillor in 2004 replacing Elena Arnedo.
  2. ^ He became MP in 2009, replacing Pedro Solbes.
  3. ^ He became MP in 2013, replacing Cristina Narbona.


Notable published works

  • Ocaña Orbis, Carlos y Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, Pedro (2013): La nueva diplomacia económica española. Madrid: Delta. ISBN 9788415581512.
  • Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, Pedro (2019): Manual de resistencia. Madrid: Península. ISBN 9788499427959.

Controversial authorship

  • In 2018 a newspaper revealed that his book La nueva diplomacia económica española includes the plagiarism of six other people's texts. The suspicion was extended to his doctoral thesis, whose authorship was questioned.
  • Regarding Manual de resistencia, Sánchez is given as the author, but the falsity of this claim is deduced from the words of Sánchez himself, who states in the prologue that "This book is the result of long hours of conversation with Irene Lozano, writer, thinker, politician and friend. She gave a literary form to the recordings, giving me a decisive help". The mentioned writer, for her part, affirmed that "I made the book, but the author is the prime minister".

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