Spain PM Sanchez Walks Back From Resignation Threat

Spain’s Pedro Sanchez said Monday he would stay on as prime minister after threatening to stand down over what he denounced as a campaign of political harassment by the right

Madrid, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 29th Apr, 2024) Spain‘s Pedro Sanchez said Monday he would stay on as prime minister after threatening to stand down over what he denounced as a campaign of political harassment by the right.

“I have decided to stay,” the 52-year-old Socialist leader said in a highly-anticipated public address that drew a line under uncertainty that had gripped Spain for five days.

In office since 2018, Sanchez on Wednesday dropped a political bombshell saying he would consider resignation after a court confirmed a preliminary probe into his wife Begona Gomez for suspected influence peddling and corruption.

The complaint was triggered by an anti-graft NGO with ties to the far right. The right-wing opposition Popular Party (PP) also demanded answers.

Sanchez’s response, outlined in a letter published on X, the former Twitter, immediately switched the focus onto toxic political practises targeting politicians’ families, and to Spain‘s political future.

Denying his move was a “political calculation”, Sanchez called for a public reflection on a growing political polarisation which he said was increasingly being driven by “deliberate disinformation”.

“For too long we’ve let this filth corrupt our political and public life with toxic methods that were unimaginable just a few years ago… Do we really want this for Spain?” he asked.

“I have acted out of a clear conviction: either we say ‘enough is enough’ or this degradation of public life will define our future and condemn us as a country.”

– ‘Made a fool of Spain‘ –

His decision to stay, he said, was “decisively influenced” by the mass show of support on Saturday outside the Madrid headquarters of his Socialist party, where thousands of emotional supporters had chanted: “Pedro, stay!”

The public prosecutor’s office on Thursday asked that the investigation into Begona Gomez be closed but Sanchez, an expert in political survival who has made a career out of taking political gambles, kept his silence.

Monday’s announcement was welcomed with relief by Sanchez’s supporters but angrily derided by right-wing critics.

With his “feigned resignation”, Sanchez had “made a fool of this nation of 48 million Spaniards,” said PP leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo, addressing what he referred to as an “outraged Spain“.

“The prime minister has chosen to carry on regardless rather than resign and take responsibility.

. and tell the truth,” he said.

Isabel Diaz Ayuso, a PP hardliner who governs the Madrid region, said it was “almost a joke”, while Santiago Abascal who heads the far-right Vox denounced Sanchez over a “crude, outrageous piece of theatre” that had exposed Spain to “international disgrace of incalculable dimensions”.

The court said it opened the probe over a complaint by anti-corruption group Manos Limpias (Clean Hands), whose secretary general Miguel Bernad is linked to the far right.

The group brought the complaint using a unique Spanish legal instrument known as an “acusacion popular” (“people’s accusation”) which lets citizens with no dog in the fight to press charges against third parties on behalf of society at large.

Judges can choose whether or not to act on such complaints.

Shortly after Sanchez’s bombshell letter, Manos Limpias — which has previously used the same legal instrument against former judge Baltasar Garzon and the sister of King Felipe VI among others — admitted its complaint was based on media reports whose veracity was unclear.

– Covid bailout for Air Europa –

news of the probe was first published by El Confidencial which said it was linked to two meetings Gomez allegedly had with Spanish tourism group Globalia, which owns Air Europa, when the airline was seeking a huge bailout due to Covid, which it got several months later.

Over the past six years, Sanchez has been vilified by right-wing opponents and media because his minority government relies on the support of the hard left and Catalan and Basque separatist parties to pass laws.

Recently, they have been particularly outraged by his decision to offer an amnesty to hundreds of Catalan separatists facing legal action over their role in the region’s failed 2017 independence bid.

That amnesty, which was offered in exchange for their support for Sanchez to secure a new term in office in November, still needs final parliamentary approval.

Since Wednesday, the opposition has ridiculed Sanchez’s decision to withdraw from his public duties as an attempt to rally his supporters.

“A head of government can’t make a show of himself like a teenager and have everyone running after him, begging him not to leave and not to get angry,” Feijoo said Thursday.


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#Spain #Sanchez #Walks #Resignation #Threat

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