Rajoy to stand in front of Congress on 1st August to explain his version of the Bárcenas scandal
The President of the Spanish Congress, Jesús Posada, has set 1st August at 9am to be the date in which the Spanish Prime Minister will face congress to explain the Bárcenas corruption scandal. It will be a debate similar in which Rajoy will have unlimited time to explain himself while the opposition will have two turns to respond. No votes or motions shall be taken following the questioning. Rajoy has been under pressure from opposition parties to explain the scandal which involved illegal cash payments given to the Prime Minister and senior members of the PP from former party Treasurer Luis Bárcenas. Spanish law stipulates that it is illegal for government ministers to receive an extra salary aside from their government income.
Although Bárcenas himself has been under investigation since 2009, the current scandal first emerged in press reports in February. It is alleged that Rajoy received €250,000 from former PP party Treasurer Luis Bárcenas and it has been claimed that some senior PP members were also given payments between €5,000 and €15,000.
Up until now the PP has used its majority in parliament to prevent Rajoy from appearing in Congress. However, the decision has been made following a threat by the leader of the opposition, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, to call for a censure motion if the Spanish Prime Minister were not to answer questions in Congress. Rajoy will finally stand before congress before the summer break starts. According to sources in the Congress, it will be a lengthy debate that may last up to 6 hours. Jesús Posada has confirmed that the questioning will probably end around 3pm.
However, the traditional press conference scheduled for the end of the current political session has been suspended. The Spanish government attempts to reduce the tension surrounding this scandal, which left unresolved until after the summer break would be highly damaging for the Spanish Prime Minister who has a list of international visits in the coming months. “This is the right time to explain what has been done up until now and to clear up any doubts that much of the country rightly have,” stated the Spanish Prime Minister.