Death of a corruption-tainted politician
The 68-year-old Spanish senator Rita Barberá died of a heart attack on Wednesday, two days after she testified before the Supreme Court. The conservative politician and ex-mayor of Valencia was facing allegations of embezzling public funds, involvement in illegal party financing and money laundering. Spain's press criticises the behaviour of the parties after her death.
Between excessive praise and lack of respect
The death of the 68-year-old politician Rita Barberá has laid bare a few typical Spanish weaknesses, El Periódico de Catalunya observes:
“For instance that the dead are always praised to high heaven even by those who criticised or ignored them when they were alive. The torrent of adulation Barberá received from her ex-party colleagues yesterday was quite implausible in many cases. … But far worse are the attempts to establish a direct link between Barberá's death and the legal action she was facing. … And equally reprehensible was the decision of the Podemos deputies not to observe the minute of silence for Barberá in parliament. Neither profound political differences nor an inflexible stance vis-à-vis corruption can justify their refusal to participate in this minimal gesture of respect. … The new political class must not make the mistake of indulging in the very intransigence it claims to be combating.”
Corruption must not be trivialized
The sense of guilt some politicians have displayed is misplaced, El Mundo comments:
“Barberá's refusal to give up her parliamentary immunity when the Supreme Court wanted to investigate her party [the PP] forced her to resign as a member. Yesterday, however, there were voices within the PP that revealed a bad conscience and criticised the harsh treatment she was subjected to in recent months. People like [ex-president José María] Aznar lamented her 'exclusion' and that she had been left alone. This opened a debate about the injustice of condemning people in the media before they have been convicted. But the PP is mistaken if it believes it can lower the standards of political responsibility after this emotional blow. In a country where widespread corruption has discredited the system to such an extent as it has in Spain, leaders are obliged to be exemplary in their behaviour and step back from the frontline when there are justifiable suspicions of irregularities.”