Spanish Parliament calls for immediate resignation of Minister Fernández Díaz
Current Spanish Minister for Home Affairs, Jorge Fernández Díaz, has been reproved by the Spanish Parliament. All the parties in the Spanish Chamber, except from the currently governing People’s Party (PP) voted in favour of the bill presented by the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDECat) which called for Fernández Díaz’s immediate resignation. The current Spanish Minister for Home Affairs was recently in the spotlight after several tapes revealed his implication in a smear scandal to discredit Catalonia’s main pro-independence parties, ‘Convergència’ (now renamed PDECat) and left wing pro-independence ERC. The recordings, which were made in 2014, revealed a conversation between Fernández Díaz, and the Director of Catalonia's Anti-fraud Office Daniel de Alfonso Laso, who was dismissed soon after the tapes were made public.
Barcelona (CNA).- All the parties in the Spanish Parliament except the currently governing People’s Party (PP) have reproved current Spanish Minister for Home Affairs, Jorge Fernández Diaz and called for his immediate resignation. A bill to this effect, presented by former liberal ‘Convergència’ (now renamed the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDECat)), accused Fernández Díaz of “antidemocratic actions and attitude” and pointed out his “lack of political ethics”. The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’, alternative left ‘Podemos’, left wing pro-independence ERC and the Nationalist Basque Party (PNB) all voted in favour of the proposal, while the PP voted against. In June several recordings revealed a conversation held between Jorge Fernández Díaz and the Director of Catalonia's Anti-fraud Office Daniel de Alfonso Laso in 2014, during which the two men can be heard allegedly plotting to find different ways to accuse and discredit Catalonia’s main pro-independence parties left-wing ERC and liberal Convergència.
PSOE’s support for the initiative was crucial for it to be passed. Socialist MP, Ángeles Álvarez, explained that the PSOE voted in favour of the bill “for democratic hygiene” and because “Fernández Díaz doesn’t respect the Rule of Law”.
ERC’s spokesman in the Spanish Parliament, Gabriel Rufián, described Fernández Díaz as “a Vito Corleone without honour”. PDECat’s Sergi Miguel referred to the tapes revealing a smear scandal involving the current Spanish Minister for Home Affairs by commenting that “it might sound proper of a fiction series such as House of Cards, but it is a real story which happened in a real country”.
Fernández Díaz considers himself “a victim”
“Nobody likes to be reproved”, stated Fernández Díaz but added that he is “not worried at all” about it. He emphasised that it is “for the Spanish President” to decide his future and proceed with dismissing him if necessary.
Fernández Díaz added that he considers himself “a victim” of the pro-independence forces and accused them of being “obsessed” with him and seeing him as “a black beast”. Referring to the tapes which allegedly reveal his implication in a smear scandal to discredit the main pro-independence parties ERC and ‘Convergència’, he said that “the conversation was normal but it was recorded by illegal means” and lamented that “nobody paid attention to that”.
Smear scandal to discredit pro-independence parties
In June, the Spanish newspaper ‘Público’ published a recorded conversation in which Fernández Díaz and the Director of Catalonia’s Anti-fraud Office, Daniel de Alfonso Laso, allegedly plot to find different ways to accuse and discredit Catalonia’s main pro-independence parties left-wing ERC and liberal ‘Convergència’. The tapes suggest that both Fernández Díaz and De Alfonso were allegedly trying to find suspicious dealings, business or family connections to discredit members of ERC and CDC. “Don’t do it yourself; selling it to the press and always naming the Spanish Police’s division for Economic and Fiscal crimes (UDEF) you will lose favour”, suggests De Alfonso to current Spanish Minister for Home Affairs on the recording, “give the information to me instead”.
Some parts of the conversation also reveal how De Alfonso considered some information to be “too soft” and how Fernández Díaz suggested going further so as to involve former Catalan Ministers, Convergència’s Felip Puig and Francesc Homs. Other pieces of the dialogue point to the brother of Catalan Vice-President, Oriol Junqueras, who was ERC’s leader at the time.
Soon after the scandal was made public, all the groups in the Parliament except for the Conservative People’s Party (PP) approved the dismissal of the Director of Catalonia’s Anti-fraud Office, Daniel de Alfonso. In his appearance before the Parliament in June, de Alfonso stated that he considered himself “a scapegoat” and accused the parties in the Catalan Chamber of wanting an “overawed” and “docile” Anti-fraud Office.
Fernández Díaz has repeatedly refused to resign and stated in a press conference in June that both him and the Director of Catalonia’s Anti-fraud Office, Daniel de Alfonso Laso were “victims” of conspiracy accusations and lamented that most of the parties “asked for resignations” and believed the information leaked by ‘Público’ rather than questioning why private conversations could be recorded. “There is a repugnant behaviour in using illegal techniques in order to try, in the last push of the electoral campaign, to damage a political adversary and a particular party [PP]”, he said speaking soon after the scandal had been revealed, “the world has turned upside down”.