News / Europe

Spain’s Ruling Party Faces Confidence Crisis

A demonstrator carries a sign with a mask resembling Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, as they cut off traffic after a protest outside the headquarters of the ruling People's Party (Partido Popular) in Madrid, February 2, 2013.
A demonstrator carries a sign with a mask resembling Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, as they cut off traffic after a protest outside the headquarters of the ruling People's Party (Partido Popular) in Madrid, February 2, 2013.
Caroline Arbour
— As Spain's prime minister faces calls to step down amid accusations of corruption, new figures show unemployment rose in January to an all-time high.  London's Financial Times newspaper notes the political scandal couldn't come at a worse time for the country.  

Spain’s embattled ruling party is in full defense mode, following accusations that the Partido Popular, or PP, kept secret ledgers hiding donations, mostly from construction firms, that were funneled to top officials.

The party’s deputy secretary, González Pons, told Spanish public television Monday the handwritten ledgers published by the newspaper El País last week, which allegedly show a parallel bookkeeping system, are not credible.

Allegations of corruption against the PP erupted several years ago, but fingers mostly pointed at local politicians, until now.

The documents obtained by El País, covering the years 1990 to 2009,  seem to indicate that prior to becoming prime minister, Mariano Rajoy received $34,000 annually, for about a decade.

Former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas, who has been under investigation since 2009, told Antena 3 television Monday it’s all a sham.

There were no secret books, he says.

After a party meeting to discuss the corruption crisis over the weekend, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy denied to reporters having benefited from kickbacks and promised to publish his tax declarations on the Internet.

But both the small United Left party and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party have called on the prime minister to step down.

Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba says Rajoy is a burden now.

In an editorial, London’s Financial Times says the prime minister  “faces the fight of his life,” a scandal that couldn't come at a worse time.

Unemployment went up 2.7 percent in January over December.

There are close to 5 million Spaniards out of work now, 8 percent more than at the same time last year.

Although the austerity measures adopted in the last year have appeased the markets, public support for the government has dropped sharply.

Faced with trying to pull Spain out of the worst economic crisis of its democratic history, the government now has to manage a crisis of confidence.

Mariano Rajoy couldn’t escape questions on the issue in Berlin today.

Visiting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the prime minister reiterated vigorously that the allegations against him are untrue and that he remains committed as ever to steer Spain towards recovery.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid