Home Featured Will Spain’s prime minister resign? – POLITICO
Will Spain’s prime minister resign? – POLITICO

Will Spain’s prime minister resign? – POLITICO

by host

Sánchez has spent the past five days secluded, meditating on his future. Supporters and opponents alike now await a decision that has the potential to radically alter Spain’s political landscape and significantly impact the distribution of the EU’s top jobs after June’s European Parliament election.

¡Quédate, Pedro!

Sánchez’s announcement last Wednesday was motivated by news that a Madrid judge had launched a preliminary corruption and influence-peddling investigation focused on Begoña Gómez, the prime minister’s wife. The probe was initiated in response to a lawsuit filed by Manos Limpias — or “Clean Hands” — a group with links to the far right that regularly uses the courts to target people or groups linked to progressive causes.

The suit appears to be baseless: Prosecutors last week recommended the criminal complaint be dismissed, and even Manos Limpias admits its suit may be based on “fake news.” But the judiciary’s decision to launch the preliminary investigation into Gómez despite the flimsiness of the evidence against her appears to have been too much for Sánchez.

Sánchez’s exit would also likely have an impact on the key European Council meetings to choose the new leaders of the EU institutions. | Jorge Guerrero/AFP via Getty Images

The prime minister’s reaction can be understood given the personal attacks that have been levelled against him and his family since he rose to the fore of Spanish politics a decade ago. During the past few years the center-right Popular Party has called Sa´nchez a usurper, a terrorist sympathizer and a traitor. The conservative opposition has also helped spread malicious rumors that his wife is actually a man, and that her family are drug smugglers who operate a network of sex clubs.

The intensity of the pressure to which Sánchez and his family have been subjected was underscored by the Spanish media on Friday, when multiple publications posted recordings of a 2014 meeting between the then-secretary of state for security, center-right politician Francisco Martínez, and José Manuel Villarejo. The latter, a disgraced police inspector, is suspected of being at the center of a powerful apparatus that worked to tarnish the reputations of politicians, senior judges and even members of the monarchy.

In the recording, the men discuss plans to “politically kill” Sánchez by going after his wife’s family and suggesting that they’re involved in illicit businesses. Later on Villarejo discusses the use of lawfare tactics — the launch of baseless court cases to harass and discredit political opponents — and mentions Manos Limpias as a group with whom he collaborates.

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