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Rajoy will appear in front of Congress to discuss the Bárcenas corruption scandal

The Spanish Prime Minister has finally declared that he will stand before the Spanish Congress to face questions over the alleged illegal financing of senior members of his People’s Party (PP). During a press conference on Monday, Rajoy announced that in late July or early August he will face questions from parliamentary groups in an attempt to resolve the ongoing Bárcenas scandal. Rajoy has been under pressure from opposition parties to explain the scandal which involved alleged 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.

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22 July 2013 07:35 PM

by

Julian Scully
Madrid (ACN).- The Spanish Prime Minister has given in to pressure from opposition parties and the general public urging for him to stand in front of Congress to answer questions regarding the Bárcenas scandal which has affected many senior members of the Prime Minister\u2019s People\u2019s Party (PP). In a press conference on Monday, Rajoy announced that he will tell the PP\u2019s side of the Bárcenas scandal before parliamentary groups and the public. 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 \u20AC250,000 from former PP party Treasurer Luis Bárcenas and it has been claimed that some senior PP members were also given payments between \u20AC5,000 and \u20AC15,000. 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 Prime Minister were not to answer questions in Congress. Spanish law specifies that it is illegal for government ministers to receive an extra salary aside from their ministerial income. Bárcenas was arrested in June and is currently awaiting trial in prison.

Rajoy will stand before congress probably during next week and explain the PPs version of events that have resulted in members of the opposition calling for his resignation. “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. The Spanish general public had strongly reacted against the PP refusing to clear up this corruption scandal. Last week thousands of protesters demonstrated in Barcelona against the PP. Rajoy said: “I understand that in view of the doubts it is good that I make an appearance in Congress.”

The traditional press conference scheduled for the end of the current political session has been suspended and the Bárcenas conference will take place in its place, in a format that will avoid questions from the press. With this decision the 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. Congress will confirm the exact date of the questioning on Wednesday morning.

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  • The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy during his press conference on Monday (by Roger Pi)

  • The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy during his press conference on Monday (by Roger Pi)