News / Europe

Spain PM Resists Calls for His Resignation

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (L) reacts to a question from a reporter as he leaves after a session at the Senate in Madrid, Aug. 1, 2013.
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (L) reacts to a question from a reporter as he leaves after a session at the Senate in Madrid, Aug. 1, 2013.
Selah Hennessy
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy admitted Thursday that he has made "mistakes" related to a corruption scandal engulfing his party, but he faced down calls for his resignation. Analysts say Rajoy is betting that the economy will save his political career - as Spain, like other euro countries, finally see a slow move toward economic recovery.

A number of top members of Spain’s governing Popular Party are accused of taking under-the-table payments over the course of almost two decades. Rajoy is one of the alleged recipients.

Luis Barcenas, the party’s longtime treasurer until 2009, said a construction magnate gave him cash donations, which he then distributed to senior Popular Party figures.

Rajoy and other members of his party say the claims are false.

But speaking before parliament on Thursday, the prime minister said he had made one mistake.

"I am sorry,” he said, “But that's the way it is. I was wrong in trusting someone we now know didn't deserve it."

Economic defense

But Rajoy said he has no plans to resign, as the main opposition has demanded. Instead, he drew attention to Spain’s economy, which is showing signs of a slow recovery.

Ramon Pacheco Pardo from the European and International Studies department at King’s College London said Rajoy is likely to continue with that line of defense.

“I think that the message that is going to come from the government and from the prime minister is that the important thing is economic growth: economic growth is probably coming back, so the population should focus on their own pockets rather than on a scandal,” said Pardo.

Spain’s unemployment rate recently dropped from around 27 percent to 26 percent, the biggest improvement in five years. But with more than one-quarter of the population still out of work, the numbers may not be too cheering, says Pardo.

And as the country struggles through crippling economic troubles and widespread unemployment, allegations that governing party members have received tax-free payments has hit a raw nerve.

“We have a recovery but in any case it is not very quick, it has been quite a slow recovery. But also, even though there is a recovery, this has not reached the general population, so the feeling among workers and job seekers is that the situation has not improved yet or is not improving,” he said.

Jobs remain scarce

Pardo said on a macro level, the economy of the eurozone appears to be improving, albeit slowly.
 
Manufacturing activity is on the rise and in some countries, including Spain, exports are growing.

A worldwide survey of manufacturers published on Thursday showed industrial activity has risen in the eurozone for the first time in two years.

But Pardo said those macro level improvements have hardly been felt on the micro level.

Christian Schweiger, a Europe expert at Durham University, said that until Europeans have jobs, European governments will find it hard to convince their electorates that things are looking up.

In some eurozone countries, youth unemployment is about 40 percent.

“These young people, they find no jobs at home. And they are struggling to find jobs abroad," said Schweiger. "Because more and more of them are looking towards countries like Germany and the UK, and these countries are reluctant to accept the flood of migrant workers coming into their countries.”

He said governments should expect widespread protests emerging if the job market does not turn around.
 
Rajoy’s Popular Party has a strong majority in parliament, having won a clear victory in the 2011 vote.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid