Pedro Sanchez says he will continue as Spain’s prime minister as wife investigated over corruption claims

Legal complaint against Spanish PM’s wife claims she used her position to influence business deals

Athena Stavrou
Monday 29 April 2024 14:17 BST
Pedro Sanchez with his wife Begona Gomez
Pedro Sanchez with his wife Begona Gomez (AP)
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Pedro Sanchez has said he will continue as Spain’s prime minister despite his wife being investigated over corruption claims.

He announced his decision on Monday morning after taking several days away from public duty to consider quitting.

The legal complaint against his wife, Begona Gomez, was filed by a legal platform that claims she used her position to influence business deals.

Last Wednesday, Mr Sanchez said the move was a personal attack on his family and he needed time to decide his priorities.

However, after several days of tension as the nation awaited his decision, the prime minister announced his decision to stay in office on Monday.

Mr Sanchez met King Felipe VI – a step that would have been necessary should he have decided to resign – but announced in a televised address that he had informed the monarch of his decision to stay on.

The prime minister had been encouraged to stay by widespread expressions of support over the weekend, he claimed.

“I have decided to go on, if possible even stronger as prime minister. This is not business as usual, things are going to be different,” he said in the national broadcast.

“I give before you my commitment to work tirelessly, firmly and with serenity for the pending regeneration of our democracy and for the advancement and consolidation of rights and freedoms.”

Mr Sanchez announced his decision to continue as PM on a national broadcast (/)

He added: “I pondered whether it was worth it to endure the attacks that my family have suffered for the past 10 years, as leader of the government of Spain. Today, after days of reflection, I have a clear answer.

“If we all accept, as a society, that political action allows indiscriminate attacks against innocent people. If we agree that partisan politics justifies the use of hate, of incitement, and of falsehoods towards third parties, then it is not worth it.”

The group that brought the legal complaint against his wife, Manos Limpias, or “Clean Hands”, acknowledged that it was based on newspaper articles. Spanish prosecutors say it should be thrown out.

Mr Sanchez blames the investigation on online news sites politically aligned with the leading opposition Popular Party and the Vox party, which spread what he called “spurious” allegations.

He has been Spain’s prime minister since 2018 and is one of Europe’s longest-serving Socialist leaders.

While popular internationally, he is loved or despised in Spain. 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 Mr Sanchez’s behavior was frivolous, adolescent and unbecoming of a European leader. It said the decision was a tactical ploy to whip up support for electoral purposes.

Following his decision not to resign, fellow members of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party offered their support to Mr Sanchez.

The party’s secretary Santos Cerdán León wrote on X/Twitter: “We are going to continue working tirelessly. For the regeneration of democracy. To continue consolidating rights. So that clean politics prevails. We will face the challenges that lie ahead stronger than ever.”

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