Getting soaked in corruption

Therefore, corruption –as happened in Italy two decades ago, threatens to overturn the Spanish political map.

The two major parties have been slow in understanding that corruption could be the tool for them to lose power or even worse. Now they are becoming increasingly aware, with poll evaluations of their leaders showing some really bad news. Maybe it is not too late, and their new political proposals may yet redeem them.

Spain discovered the first wave of political corruption scandals at the beginning of the 90s. They surrounded influence peddling at the core of the Socialist Party and the no-so-legal financing of the parties. It was the reason why the Socialist Party was defeated in the 1996 elections.

Now there is a wave of corruption cases very close to the Popular Party, more sophisticated and wide than the previous wave, which could also lead to a defeat of this party.

The Spanish Anticorruption Prosecutor (which was created 20 years ago) has been working on these cases for more than a decade now. There are more and more cases and causes, which began many years ago, and with long and complicated plots referring to municipal contracts, licences, public works…, and as ever, cases about fiscal fraud and money laundering. What is new now is the extension of the plots and its connection to the core of the major parties –especially the Popular Party, which complicates the governmental answer to these scandals.

PM Mariano Rajoy has tried to play down the problem and restrict it to individual cases. But that strategy is no longer effective: there are too many cases coming to light, too many plots to plead that it is an isolated problem. This leads one to think that there may be a sort of Italian-style catharsis that could badly damage some of the major parties and reset the Spanish political map.

 

About the Author

Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja
Over 30 years working in economic journalism. Fernando was founder and chief-editor at El País, general editor at the business daily Cinco Días, and now teaches at Universidad Carlos III. He's been president of the Madrid Press Association and the Spanish Federation of Press Associations. He's also member of the Spanish press complaints commission.

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