Prime Minister Sanchez remains in office – and is rising sharply in the polls

Prime Minister Sanchez remains in office – and is rising sharply in the polls

For five days, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez controlled the country in a stranglehold. Will he resign or stay? He had to ponder this question after a corruption investigation was opened into his wife, Begonia Gomez Fernandez, last week. The investigation was initiated by the pseudo-far-right union Manos Limpias (Clean Hands), which filed complaints with the court based on now-corrected news articles.

“My wife and I know that this smear campaign will not stop. “We have suffered from it for ten years,” Sanchez said, apparently emotional, in a speech he delivered Monday morning on the steps of the Palacio de la Moncloa in the capital, Madrid, where the Spanish prime minister lives and works. For a moment it looked like he was going to announce his departure. This feeling was reinforced by the fact that Sanchez had visited King Felipe VI earlier that morning. “Living in this situation is painful, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”

Sanchez is surprised when he retracts his argument. “But we are.” [mijn vrouw en ik] It can be dealt with.” The Prime Minister says he wants to take office “more strongly” and defend democracy, so he announced a “cleansing offensive,” without explaining concrete plans. Sanchez says he will remain prime minister because of the support he has received in recent days.

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Celebratory shouts rang out in the presidential complex, but the country's reaction was confused. Analysts and commentators wonder: What were we watching? A heroic act, according to his supporters. A narcissistic act in the opinion of opponents.

“If the prime minister has no problem looking ridiculous, he can do it. But the fact that he is dragging the rest of my country over shows that Spain does not have a prime minister worthy of its citizens,” said right-wing opposition leader Alberto Nuñez Viejo (Popular Party). 48 million Spaniards and uses the king as one of his actors in this play.”

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The leader of the far-right Vox party, Santiago Abascal, called Sánchez a “troubled autocrat” and said the prime minister was “continuing his coup.” Abascal calls on the Greater Popular Party to resist.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister can count on a lot of support from left-wing parties, which have called for an end to attacks from the right.

Political gains

It is still too early to judge what the Prime Minister intends to do with his actions in the long term, but the first results have already been achieved. Sánchez's party, PSOE, rose in national opinion polls on Monday afternoon, from 24.2 to 38.6%, giving him a lead of about ten percentage points over the Popular Party. The Socialist Party also came first in opinion polls in Catalonia, where regional elections will be held on May 12.

Sanchez appears to have used the five-day period to reflect on his premiership and to mobilize voters in light of the Catalan and European elections. The Prime Minister himself said that his decision was not based on political gains.

This is “the scenario that no one expected,” says parliamentary correspondent Carlos Hernandez of the online newspaper elDiario.es. “There is no vote of no confidence. nothing. Pedro Sanchez in his purest form. Half of Spain can now breathe a sigh of relief again, while the other half must wait to regain power. It is expected to become clear in the coming days whether a motion of no confidence will be submitted to Parliament. But it seems that Sanchez is also ready for this, because according to opinion polls he wins this proposal easily.

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Sanchez has often shown himself to be unpredictable. Last year's early elections were also a surprise. The Popular Party led in the polls, but Sanchez continued to risk his position. It seemed crazy, but he managed to stay in power against all odds.

Sanchez explains the decision

On Monday evening, the Prime Minister joined the public broadcaster to explain the past five days. According to the president, the judicial investigation into his wife was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” after ten years of “pause,” with elections, epidemics and wars. He described the attacks from the right flank as a mud machine that keeps rotating.

“What I did on Wednesday was to share my feelings with the country. I wanted to explain how I feel after ten years. On a personal and professional level.” Sanchez wanted to take five days to reflect in an “intimate environment.” According to him, those five days were also necessary so that The country can think, “I'm not the only one going through these attacks. Other politicians, as well as journalists, are constantly victims. Journalists who go out to eat are reprimanded. “This not only affects me, but also affects the people and democracy.”

He reacted somewhat annoyed at the opposition's claims that Sánchez had a political agenda. “What we are seeing now with these smear campaigns based on false information is that they are calling into question the credibility of institutions. They are kicking against democracy. This is not just happening in Spain. We see it in Russia, the United States, etc. Western democracies are in danger. We are dealing with “Aggression that puts our work at risk is worrying.”

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He says the decision to stay is due to the overwhelming expressions of support he received last weekend. “In the interest of protecting democracy.”

(This article was supplemented at approximately 10pm with Sanchez's comments on Spanish television.)



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