Spain's Rajoy to face parliament over corruption scandal

MADRID Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:12am EDT

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy speaks during an informal European Union foreign ministers gathering in Palma de Mallorca July 19, 2013.REUTERS/Enrique Calvo

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy speaks during an informal European Union foreign ministers gathering in Palma de Mallorca July 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Enrique Calvo

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's prime minister said on Monday he would appear before parliament to face questions over a corruption scandal, relenting to pressure from the opposition which had threatened a no-confidence vote if he refused.

"I have talked to the head of parliament and I have told him that I would ask to appear at the end of the month or at the beginning of August," Mariano Rajoy told a joint news conference with Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta.

Rajoy's People's Party (PP) had used its strong majority in parliament to block his appearance but pressure mounted last week when the opposition Socialists threatened a symbolic no-confidence vote.

Rajoy has denied any wrongdoing in a scandal involving allegations of illegal donations by construction magnates that were supposedly distributed as cash payments to him and other party leaders.

"I will appear before parliament in order to give full explanations because I believe that's where I should do it," Rajoy said.

The scandal comes at a bad time for Rajoy who had hoped tentative signs of economic recovery in Spain might restore a public image already damaged by tough spending cuts and months of social unrest amid a prolonged recession.

His party's former treasurer, Luis Barcenas, was arrested in June and charged with bribery, money laundering, tax fraud and other crimes. He says he paid 90,000 euros ($118,200) to Rajoy and party Secretary General Maria Dolores Cospedal in 2009 and 2010.

(Reporting by Andres Gonzalez; Writing by Julien Toyer; Editing by Paul Day and Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (1)
dareconomics wrote:
Rajoy enjoys a large majority in Parliament. Since his fellow PP party members are as corrupt as he is, there is no way that he will be thrown out of office. In fact, it does not appear that there will be any consequences to his alleged corruption.

Even if there were new elections, it is not clear that the Socialists or any other opposition party could form a government. It doesn’t matter anyway. The Socialists started the austerity program and are just as corrupt as the PP. They have given no indications that they would do anything differently than Rajoy.

Spain’s economy is doomed to a slow death by euro.

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Jul 22, 2013 1:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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