17th June 2024
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‘Stay, Pedro! Don’t give up!’ – Thousands of Spanish PM’s supporters take to the streets

Thousands of supporters of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez rallied at the headquarters of his socialist (PSOE) party on Saturday, imploring him not to step down over an alleged corruption investigation against his wife. ALSO READ: Begoña Gómez, wife of Spanish PM, investigated over alleged corruption.

The 52-year-old, who has been in office since 2018, stunned Spain on Wednesday when he put his resignation on the line after a Madrid court opened a preliminary investigation into suspected influence peddling and corruption against his spouse Begoña Gómez. ALSO READ: Pedro Sánchez to announce on Monday whether he will continue as Prime Minister.

Sánchez said he would suspend all public duties until he announces his decision on Monday. The normally hyperactive premier has since remained out of sight and silent.

‘I need to stop and think whether I should continue to head the government or whether I should give up this honour,’ he wrote in a four-page letter posted on X (formerly Twitter).

‘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.’

Supporters on Saturday held up placards in Spanish saying ‘Spain needs you’, ‘Pedro don’t abandon us’, and shouted slogans such as ‘Pedro leader’. His supporters on social media have been using the hashtags #PedroQuèdate (‘Pedro stay’), #PedroNoTeRindas (‘Pedro, don’t give up’) and #MereceLaPenaPedro (‘It’s worth it, Pedro’).

Inside the party headquarters, there were similar passionate appeals.

‘Pedro stay. We are together and together we can … take the country forward, Spain can’t step back,’ said Budget Minister María Jesús Montero, the government number two.

‘Today all democrats, all progressives, are summoned to Madrid against a pack whose only aim is to overthrow a democratic and legitimate government,’ said Félix Bolaños, Minister of the Presidency, Justice and Parliamentary Relations.

At one point, PSOE leaders took to the streets to thank those gathered. ‘They won’t succeed,’ government spokeswoman Pilar Alegría told the crowd.

The court opened the investigation into Sanchez’s wife in response to a complaint from anti-corruption pressure group Manos Limpias (‘Clean Hands’), whose leader is linked to the far right.

The group, which has presented a litany of unsuccessful lawsuits against politicians in the past, said on Wednesday its complaint was based on media reports and could not vouch for their veracity. ALSO READ: Spanish prosecutors question credibility of corruption investigation against PM’s wife.

If Sánchez decides to remain in office, he could choose to file a confidence motion in parliament to show that he and his minority government are still supported by a majority of MPs.

If he resigns, an early election could be called from July – a year after the last one – with or without Sánchez at the helm of the PSOE party.

The right-wing People’s Party (PP) opposition has accused the prime minister of being irresponsible for putting the country on hold while he mulls his decision.

‘It’s very clear to us that this is all a tactic … We know Pedro Sánchez and things with him always turn out like a soap opera,’ Cuca Gamarra, the number two of the PP, said on Friday. ‘He is making us all wait and the country is at a standstill.’

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