Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will go before parliament to answer to allegations he received bonuses from secret accounts maintained by his conservative People’s Party (PP) between 1996 and 2000. Having published documents alleged to be notes by former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas detailing irregular bonuses and transactions in a second set of accounts, El Mundo remarks —
… until now, Rajoy has opted for a strategy of playing for time and waiting for the storm to pass, but this will no longer be possible. [He] must provide a convincing explanation of his relationship with Barcenas and the situation of his former treasurer. For this reason, it will be very serious if the PP chooses to block the move to have him go before the members of parliament, which is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of basic democratic hygiene.
Noting the PP continues to deny the allegations while Rajoy refrains from comment, columnist Victoria Prego points out Spain’s citizens are waiting for “explanations” and “evidence” rather than “words” —
Fortunately, the case has already entered the justice system, where validity is attributed to evidence and not to opinion. [If Bárcenas] has evidence, he must provide it immediately. To date, we have had to contend with a storm of suspicions with the political force to damage the integrity of many, and in particular of Mariano Rajoy […] who cannot be permitted to overlook his obligations to address the public and to provide explanations. The country cannot be left in the dark, or unequivocally in anger.Receive the best of European journalism straight to your inbox every Thursday
… now it is the word of Bárcenas against the word of the prime minister, who personally denied receiving or distributing secret funds on February 2. This raises the question of the legality of the financing of the PP and a possible violation of the law [prohibiting ministers from accepting payment other than their official salaries] by the members of the Aznar government if they did in fact receive irregular bonuses while serving as ministers.