Spain's opposition Socialist Party called yesterday for the resignation of the Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, over a corruption scandal as a poll showed the lowest support on record for his centre-right People's Party (PP).
Media reports over the past two weeks have alleged that at least a dozen senior PP officials, including Mr Rajoy, received payments from a slush fund operated by its former treasurer. Mr Rajoy denies wrongdoing, but the scandal has provoked fury among Spaniards already disenchanted by deep recession and high unemployment.
The Socialist leader, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, who was the Deputy Prime Minister until the 2011 election, told a news conference: "Rather than the solution for this country, Rajoy has become yet another problem."
An opinion poll published in El Pais yesterday showed that neither of the two big parties would win a clear majority if an election were held today. The Metroscopia poll showed 23.9 per cent support for the PP – the lowest on record. The Socialists were little changed at 23.5 per cent.
Spain has suffered five years of recession or economic stagnation and unemployment – already the highest in the EU at 26 per cent – continues to rise.