PM Rajoy will appear before Parliament

Mariano Rajoy

One wonders who is advising the Spanish Prime Minister to doggedly resist appearing before Parliament to deny the allegations of illegal financing and corruption addressed to the ruling political party he heads. Mr Rajoy has never shown any inclination to face the public opinion neither in press conferences nor in the parliamentary arena. He has refrained from presenting sweeping reforms in labour relations, banking overhaul, health, education or tax hikes, leaving that unpalatable task to his Ministers.

But now his own personal record is at stake. He is directly accused of receiving extra payments while holding a governmental office, in blatant breach of the Law.

Mr Rajoy was in charge when illegal fees were supposedly collected from firms by his party’s treasurer in exchange of economic advantages. The fact that his main prosecutor is in jail indicted for crimes ranging from embezzlement to sheer corruption, doesn’t offer an excuse for preserving a prolonged silence. No one implies he should enter into a debate with such an unwarranted opponent. But a public statement before Parliament would provide a much needed assuaging confidence to the country.

Blocking the opposition demands to deliver a clear-cut explanation only can nurture the suspicion of a time-buying strategy designed to ascertain the potential proofs waiting in the pipeline to disavow his solemn oath. Much in the same way as his party’s spokesmen have been forced to pedal back from earlier statements. Being economical with truth doesn’t entail any consequence when it comes to purely political issues. But it does when honourability is at stake.

The main opposition party has threatened to launch any initiative aimed at ousting the Prime Minister. Even if it is bound to fail as the ruling party holds a comfortable majority, it could expose Mr Rajoy to a damaging debate. He should overcome his inner reluctance to tell his truth on this scandal, going to Parliament on his own. As he is bound to do it in the coming days, if only to cut short any speculation on government’s stability, one fails to understand the last-ditch attempts his party is undertaking to avoid an unavoidable outcome.

About the Author

JP Marin Arrese
Juan Pedro Marín Arrese is a Madrid-based economic analyst and observer. He regularly publishes articles in the Spanish leading financial newspaper 'Expansión'.

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