Tuesday 24 April 2018

Spanish PM refuses to resign over funding scandal

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy: text messages
Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy: text messages

Fiona Govan Madrid

Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, refused to bow to pressure to resign yesterday amid increasing scrutiny over his alleged involvement in a funding scandal that threatens to derail the government.

Pressure mounted on Mr Rajoy (58) as Luis Barcenas, the disgraced former Popular Party treasurer went before an investigating judge to give details of how the PP engaged in illegal party funding.

It followed fresh allegations of Mr Rajoy's involvement in the scandal and came a day after text messages emerged in which the premier appeared to show support for the disgraced treasurer.

The leaked messages provoked anger over revelations that Mr Rajoy and other senior party members had received undeclared cash payments over several years from illegal donations given by businessmen in return for lucrative contracts.

In the messages, Mr Rajoy tells Mr Barcenas to "stay calm" but advises him that the situation is difficult.

"Luis, nothing is easy. But we are doing what we can," one message says.

The text message exchange led to immediate calls by the socialist opposition for Mr Rajoy to resign. But Mr Rajoy, whose conservative party won an overwhelming parliamentary victory in November 2011, defied the calls.

"I will fulfil the mandate the Spanish people gave me," he said at a press conference yesterday.

"Let no one think we are going to be distracted from getting Spain out of the crisis," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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