May 20, 2024

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Spain's Prime Minister is considering resigning while his wife faces a corruption investigation

Spain's Prime Minister is considering resigning while his wife faces a corruption investigation

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday that he is considering resigning after a judge opened a preliminary investigation into his wife due to corruption accusations.

The Socialist leader said he will cancel his public duties over the next few days and will announce his decision on his future on April 29.

in Exceptional speech “At this point, the question I legitimately ask myself is: 'Is it worth it?'” Sanchez told the country. I honestly don't know.

Earlier on Wednesday, Judge Juan Carlos Peñado opened court proceedings against Begonia Gomez, Sanchez's wife, over allegations that she received services from private companies that won government tenders and received public funds.

“This attack is so unprecedented, so dangerous and so crude that I need to stop and reflect with my wife,” Sanchez wrote on the social media platform X.

Sanchez, one of the top center-left leaders in a European continent that is shifting to the right, has been in power since 2018 when he replaced the conservative prime minister who fell due to corruption allegations.

He began a new term late last year after forming a coalition government backed by a fragile parliamentary majority after inconclusive general elections.

Proceedings against Gomez began after a union called Manos Limpias – or Clean Hands – filed a complaint based on a series of stories published by news organisations, particularly El Confidencial.

Sanchez described the stories as a “false” product of “right-wing and far-right media.”

Manos Limpias alleges that Gomez received favors from executives of Air Europe and its parent company Globalia in her capacity as director of the Africa Research Center which she ran for almost four years until 2022 at the IE University in Madrid.

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Manos Limpias links its activity to a €475 million government bailout the airline received in late 2020 as it struggled to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Gomez has remained silent about the allegations in recent weeks. Globalia declined to comment.

IE University confirmed that it had received four flight tickets from Globalia in 2020 as part of the event sponsorship deal, but said it had not received any money from the company, nor its African centre.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his wife Begonia Gomez cast their votes in last year's general elections. © Ballesteros/EPA-EFE

Sanchez linked the judicial move to the hatred and toxicity of Spanish politics, which have risen to new levels since last July's elections.

He said the leaders of the conservative People's Party and the far-right Vox party – Alberto Nunez Viejo and Santiago Abascal – exploited the case against his wife because they themselves had sparked a storm over the original media reports.

“In this fury…they are both necessary collaborators, along with the far-right internet galaxy and the Manus Limpias organization.”

“In short, this is an operation of harassment and demolition on land, sea and air to try to weaken me politically and personally by attacking my wife.”

Sanchez added that his wife “will defend her honor” and cooperate with the judicial authorities.

He added that the accusations against her focused on “non-existent” events.

In a radio interview on Wednesday evening, Figo said that he had never pushed for an investigation into Sanchez's wife, and that the prime minister had published a letter “saying things that do not befit a prime minister.”

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Earlier in the day, Pippa Rodriguez de Milan, a senior Vox lawmaker, said the Socialist Party was mired in a “very serious corruption issue.”

Sánchez's conservative opponents differ ideologically with him on fiscal, labor, energy, and environmental policies.

But their greatest anger was over his willingness to work with separatist parties in Catalonia and the Basque Country that aim to sever ties with the rest of Spain.

The most controversial step of Sánchez's premiership was legislation to grant amnesty to Catalan separatists involved in the 2017 independence bid. The bill has yet to be passed in Parliament.

The pardon was the price Sánchez had to pay to secure the parliamentary votes he needed to begin another term after the election.