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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid