Spain’s PM Sanchez says he’ll continue in office after days of reflection

His wife Begona Gomez was accused of using her position to influence business deals

Spain PM not to resign (File) Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez addressing the European Parliament | AP

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday he will continue in office even with more strength after days of reflection.

Sanchez shocked the country on Wednesday, announcing he was taking five days off to think about his future after a court opened preliminary proceedings against his wife on corruption allegations.

I have decided to continue on with even more strength at the helm of the government of Spain, he said in a televised speech.

The legal complaint against his wife, Begona Gomez, was filed by a far-right legal platform that says Gomez used her position to influence business deals.

The group, Manos Limpias, or Clean Hands, acknowledged that the complaint was based on newspaper articles. Spanish prosecutors say it should be thrown out.

Sanchez said the move was too personal an attack on his family and he needed time to decide on his priorities.

Sanchez essentially had four options: resign, seek a parliamentary vote of confidence, call a new election or remain in office.

Any one of them could upset key legislative plans as well as a crucial election in the Catalonia region in May and the European Parliament election in June.

Sanchez, 52, has been Spain's prime minister since 2018. He was able to form a new minority leftist coalition government in November to start another four-year term thanks to the exceedingly fragile support of a handful of small regional parties.

He is one of Europe's longest-serving Socialist leaders and while popular internationally, he is loved or despised in Spain.

Sanchez blames the investigation on online news sites politically aligned with the leading opposition conservative Popular Party and the far-right Vox party that spread what he called spurious allegations.

His supporters say this should be a wake-up call to react against baseless attacks that are poisoning Spanish politics.

The Popular Party, however, said Sanchez's behaviour was frivolous, adolescent and unbecoming of a European leader. It said the decision was a tactical ploy to whip up support for electoral purposes.

Nagore Calvo Mendizabal, a senior lecturer in Spanish and European politics and society at King's College London, said that Sanchez's decision could be another of his political maneuvers" and that it could benefit him by whipping up support nationally in the battle against attacks from the right.


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