Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s name seems to be mud in Spain these days and it’s not surprising. Yesterday, El Pais listed Rajoy as one of the people whose names were in a ledger said to have been used for under-the-table payments or kickbacks from Popular Party former treasurer Luis Bárcenas. Today, Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba demanded Rajoy appear before Congress and explain what was going on. “Now. Right now”, he said.
Rubalcaba, who is Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), says it’s completely unacceptable for Rajoy not to answer questions about the supposed under-the-table payments as, right now, he and his party are being implicated in the Bárcenas scandal.It’ not good for them and it’s certainly not good for Spain, which Rubalcaba pointed out is now on the cover of every international newspaper because of this issue.
Rubalcaba says he, and everyone else, want Rajoy to answer two very simple questions — Were these payments made? And, if they were made, were they taxed or untaxed? (Under Spanish law, if the politicians receiving the under-the-table payments declared them on their taxes, they may be classified as ‘legal’.)
There’s also an outcry from leaders of other Spanish opposition parties with some saying, if the El Pais story is deemed to be true, and Mariano Rajoy did take kickbacks then he must resign. A general election must be called, and legal charges should be filed against Rajoy and others in the Popular Party. There’s even a petition being circulated saying just that.
As for Mariano Rajoy, he still hasn’t made any statement about the issue, which many think makes him look increasingly bad and, some think, increasingly guilty. His only response so far? An emergency cabinet meeting this afternoon.
Stay tuned. It’s about to become very, very interesting. We’ll keep you posted.