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Mariano Rajoy sworn in as Spain's prime minister

December 21, 2011

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Spain's leader of the conservative party Mariano Rajoy gives a speech during a parliament session in which he was voted new prime minister, on December 20, 2011 in Madrid. — Photo by AFP

MADRID: Spain's King Juan Carlos on Wednesday swore in new conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has vowed urgent action to rescue the country from an economic crisis.

“I swear to fulfill faithfully the duty of the head of government with loyalty to the King, and to safeguard the constitution,” Rajoy said in a televised ceremony at the Zarzuela palace.

Rajoy has said he will announce the names of the ministers in his government on Wednesday evening. The new cabinet is due to formally take office on Thursday and hold its first meeting on Friday.

Facing urgent pressure to fix Spain's economy, with five million people unemployed and warnings of a fresh recession looming, Rajoy, 56, has vowed to create jobs, clean up banks and reassure investors over the country's finances.

In a speech to parliament ahead of his investiture, he said he would cut Spain's deficit by 16.5 billion in 2012.