Gonzalez at bay in bugging scandal
Friday 30 June 1995
Mr Gonzalez accepted on Wednesday night the resignations of his defence minister, Julian Garcia Vargas, and his predecessor, Narcis Serra, the deputy prime minister, 16 days after they had offered to go.
Informing MPs of the conclusions of an internal defence ministry report on what went wrong, Mr Gonzalez said yesterday he would not put citizens in danger by "saying anything that could weaken Cesid [the secret intelligence service] in its functions. But he did propose to increase parliamentary control over the intelligence service.
The conservative Popular Party and the left-wing United Left demanded that Mr Gonzalez should resign, following press revelations that Cesid had for years stored illegally taped telephone conversations of dozens of public figures, including King Juan Carlos.
Mr Gonzalez is expected to complete his cabinet changes today and to inform the King tomorrow morning, before the King heads for England for the wedding of his nephew, Prince Paul of Greece. The new ministers would probably be sworn in on Monday, the first working day of Spain's presidency of the European Union.
The nationalist Catalan Convergence and Union party (CiU), whose support has sustained Mr Gonzalez's minority government for two years, wants more heads to roll. Dropping Mr Serra and Mr Vargas was necessary "but not sufficient", their parliamentary spokesman, Joaquim Molins, said.
The CiU are on the point of replacing their pact with the governing Socialists with a more informal arrangement on specific matters dear to the Catalan heart. These include devolution of control over cable television to Catalonia, dropping a Socialist proposal to liberalise the abortion law and softening proposed budget cuts for 1996.
The CiU is gunning for the Transport and Public Works Minister, Jose Borrell, who has in their view reneged on promises to transfer some of Madrid's powers to the autonomous regions. For the Catalan leader, Jordi Pujol, increasingly uncomfortable in his alliance with the government, the Cesid scandal is, as they say here, the drop that overflows the glass.
"We've tried to be understanding in some things, but this we cannot accept," he said this week. He said his party wanted no more truck with the Socialists and, following a meeting with Mr Gonzalez last weekend, Mr Pujol pointedly did not reaffirm his support for the Prime Minister. Few expect the Catalans to pull the plug on the government before the end of the year. They are expected rather to squeeze more concessions.
The Foreign Minister, Javier Solana, has been tipped as a possible successor to Mr Serra, but Mr Gonzalez may not immediately replace his deputy prime minister, preferring to share out his responsibilities among trusted colleagues, including the Economics Minister, Pedro Solbes, and the Prime Minister's spokesman, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba.
The Education Minister, Gustavo Suarez Pertierra, a former junior defence minister under Mr Serra, is tipped to become Defence Minister. Some regional party barons ousted in last month's regional elections could be brought in to fill other resulting vacant positions, soothing some of their anger over Mr Gonzalez's failure to act sooner over the crisis.
- 1 Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
China's 'Inconvenient Truth': video exposing country’s smog crisis watched 100 million times
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£38000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B content marketing agen...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...