Spain showers Prime Minister Sanchez with support and ridicule as he approaches the end of his 'reflection period'

Spain showers Prime Minister Sanchez with support and ridicule as he approaches the end of his 'reflection period'

All eyes in Spain are on Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. He will announce on Monday whether he will remain prime minister, or whether the attacks of the (extremist) right have become too much for him and his family. To everyone's surprise, Sanchez announced on Wednesday that he would step down from public duties for five days, after a judge in Madrid launched a corruption investigation into his wife, Begonia Gomez. This was the result of a complaint filed against her by the pseudo-far-right union Manos Limpias.

According to Manos Limpias (Clean Hands), Gomez abused her prominent position to arrange sponsors for the university master's program she was running. It is also said to have questionable relationships with companies that have received a lot of government money in the past.

That's not true, Sanchez says. He wrote that the Socialist Prime Minister was now fed up with “the constant attempts to delegitimize the new progressive coalition government.” In a message. “The intimidation has been going on for months. They are attempts to weaken me politically and now personally by attacking my wife.” Sanchez added that it goes without saying that his wife would cooperate with the investigation.

Support demonstrations

Sanchez's drama has been received in different ways. On the one hand, there was support from socialist allies and Spanish citizens. Tens of thousands of people turned out in Madrid on Saturday and Sunday to urge the 52-year-old prime minister not to allow a witch hunt. On the other hand, opponents accuse Sanchez of victim thinking, navel-gazing, and melodrama. There is doubt among Spaniards about the prime minister's motives: were his emotions sincere?

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A poll conducted by the right-wing conservative opposition party, Partido Popular (PP), showed that 54% of the 1,527 respondents believed Sánchez was playing a strategic trick. He will try to mobilize his voters for the Catalan and European elections – this is also the narrative of the PP and Vox, a far-right opposition party. A large majority do not believe that Sanchez, Spain's prime minister since 2018, will actually resign.

Manos Limpias has been going to court regularly for years to bring charges against progressive (left-wing) politicians. There are doubts about the legitimacy of these accusations. Madrid prosecutors on Thursday called for the corruption investigation into Begonia Gomez to be dropped due to a lack of evidence. Manos Limpias later admitted that the charges may have been based on incorrect media reports.

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