A tough test awaits Mariano Rajoy as he's sworn in for a second term as Spanish prime minister, the country awaiting a new cabinet - and new signals on reform - even as the economy, apparently, steams ahead. David Pollard reports.
Mariano Rajoy swears his oath to the Spanish king after winning a vote of confidence in parliament. Putting an end - it's hoped - to ten months of political stalemate. The new prime minister takes office for a second time. That gets a thumbs up from the markets, too. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CIBC, HEAD OF FX STRATEGY, JEREMY STRETCH, SAYING: "It does remove one of the risk factors that clearly has been impacting sentiment." But a battle could still be ahead for a seasoned campaigner. This week expected to name a new cabinet - while under close scrutiny for signs of a fresh direction. He also has a new budget to tackle - it needs to cut spending or raise revenues to meet Brussels' criteria. And reform beckons - especially amid unemployment of almost one in five of the workforce. After two inconclusive elections there are still many voters to be won over. 7122 (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) JOSE, SPANISH VOTER, SAYING: "The paralysis in the country didn't benefit us internally or our commitments outside of Spain - especially with the European Union." (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VERONICA, SPANISH VOTER, SAYING: "I don't like Rajoy and I don't think this will take us anywhere, although people continue to vote for him. We have to accept it, but I don't agree." The latest numbers may give Rajoy hope. Retail sales are up 26 months in a row as the economy emerges from recession. Parliament could be a harder sell - Rajoy's People's Party has only 137 of 350 seats. As a former prime minister Rajoy is a political survivor. But without a majority, the odds are still against him, and he will need to be.