17th June 2024
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Pedro Sánchez to announce on Monday whether he will continue as Prime Minister

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Wednesday that he will consider resigning after the launch of a judicial investigation into accusations by a right-wing legal platform against his wife, claiming that she used her position to influence business deals. ALSO READ: Begoña Gómez, wife of Spanish PM, investigated over alleged corruption.

Sánchez said in a three-page letter posted on his X account [see below] that while the allegations against his wife Begoña Gómez are false, he is cancelling his public agenda until Monday when he will announce whether he will continue or step down.

Sánchez, said in his open letter that the allegations against his wife were based on ‘non-existent’ facts and were part of a campaign of ‘harassment’ against her led by ‘ultra-conservative’ media and supported by the right-wing and far-right opposition.

‘I am not naïve. I am aware that they are bringing charges against Begoña, not because she’s done anything illegal, because they know full well that’s not true, but because she’s my wife,’ he wrote.

‘I need to stop and reflect,’ Sánchez wrote. ‘I must answer the question if it is worth it to continue, given the mud pit the right and far right have made out of our politics, if I must continue at the helm of the government or renounce that highest of honours.’

Sánchez, 52, has been Spain’s prime minister since 2018. He was able to form a new left-wing coalition government in November to start another four-year term. He is one of Europe’s longest serving socialist leaders.

Earlier on Wednesday, a Spanish judge agreed to probe allegations of corruption made by a private group with a history of filing lawsuits mainly for right-wing causes. The court based in Madrid will consider the allegations and proceed with the investigation or toss it out.

‘Begoña will defend her honour and collaborate with the justice system in every way that is required to clarify that these facts that appear scandalous are in fact non-existent,’ Sánchez said.

Gómez, 49, does not hold public office and maintains a low political profile.

Manos Limpias, or ‘Clean Hands’, accuses Gómez of allegedly having used her position to influence business deals. The court did not provide further information and said that the probe was under seal.

Manos Limpias describes itself as a union, but its main activity is a platform pursuing legal cases. Many have been linked to right-wing causes. It acts as the ‘popular prosecution’, a peculiarity of Spanish law that allows individuals or entities to take part in certain criminal cases even when they haven’t been directly harmed by the accused.

The Manos Limpias platform is headed by lawyer Miguel Bernad. In 2021 he was initially sentenced to four years behind bars over a scheme to extort major firms, but last month was acquitted by the Supreme Court for lack of evidence.

Justice Minister Félix Bolaños called the new allegations against the wife of the prime minister ‘false’.

Second Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Díaz, the leader of the junior member of Sánchez’s government, the left-wing umbrella group of Sumar, publicly backed him against ‘this offensive by the Right’.

The possibility of a governmental crisis comes just weeks before important regional elections in Catalonia followed by European elections in June.

Sánchez accused online news sites politically aligned with the leading opposition right-wing People’s Party (PP) and the far right Vox party of spreading what he called ‘spurious’ allegations that he said led to the judicial probe.

The PP criticised Sánchez for ‘playing the role of the victim instead of holding himself accountable’.

Last month, Spain’s government watchdog for conflict of interests tossed out a complaint made by the PP against Sánchez whereby the opposition party claimed that Gómez had allegedly influenced her husband in a decision related to an airline.

Spain’s leader said that he was moved in part to reflect on his future due to his love for his wife.

‘This attack is without precedent, it is so serious and coarse that I need to stop and reflect with my wife,’ he said. ‘Most of the time we forget that politicians are people. And I do not blush to say it, but I am a man who is deeply in love with my wife, who is living with the feeling of impotence while being pelted with mud.’

‘To summarise, this is an operation to harass me by land, sea and air to try and make me give up politics through a personal attack on my wife,’ Sánchez wrote.

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