Top Spanish politician steps down
Madrid's regional president Cristina Cifuentes resigned on Wednesday after media published a video taken seven years ago allegedly showing her shoplifting. Cifuentes had already come under fire over reports of a faked master's degree. What will be the consequences of her downfall?
The regional president's downfall displays all the negative characteristics of politics as a business, El País notes:
“Cifuentes' denials and lies; the connivance of the university professors who helped the politician to fake her degree; the silence and paralysis of Mariano Rajoy; the declarations of support and applause from her party colleagues even after it was more than obvious that she had committed fraud; and finally the exhibition of dirty laundry that someone had been keeping hidden since 2011 only to exploit it politically in a mafia-like attack that has nothing to do with democracy. It's not just that the Popular Party leadership has failed right down the line, but that the worst kind of practices in the struggle for political power have come to light, more akin to those of criminal groups.”
Power changeover in Madrid increasingly likely
Spain's conservative ruling party the Partido Popular (PP) is now so weakened that radical political change seems appropriate, El Periódico de Catalunya argues:
“The PP's involvement in corrupt affairs has reached an unacceptable level. ... With Cifuentes one of Rajoy's potential successors has fallen. From the point of view of the PP leader, her resignation is better than a motion of no confidence because now he can start looking for a candidate himself. ... With its plunging approval ratings, its lack of orientation in Catalonia and the constant corruption scandals the crisis of the ruling party clearly points to the end of one political cycle and the start of another.”
What can the middle class be proud of now?
Juan Martínez Majo, a politician for the Popular Party, asked publicly why it's such a problem if his colleague Cifuentes doesn't have a Master's degree, pointing out that this has nothing to do with her politics. Ignacio Escolar, who as chief editor of eldiario.es exposed the scandal, replies:
“The problem is that Cristina Cifuentes does have a Master's degree. She acquired the degree half a year ago with the help of an official who also changed her grades illegally. ... The problem is that Cifuentes doesn't deserve the degree because she never attended classes or took exams or wrote a Master's thesis. She received preferential treatment because of who she was. ... The problem is that this public university was the pride of Spain's middle class. That it took a lot of effort to build up its prestige. And that it was supposed to be equal for everyone.”
A democracy of papier maché academics
People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, the conservative daily ABC counters:
“The socialist MP who is now pushing for a motion of no confidence held a fraudulent Master's degree in mathematics for years. And so far no one has been able to gain access to [Socialist leader] Pedro Sánchez's famous doctoral degree. A papier maché democracy with politicians less educated than they claim to be, capable of inflating their careers on the basis of lies and fake qualifications is an indignity. But they should all be scrutinised under the same conditions and treated equally by the media so that the social reproach they receive is identical and not conditioned by their ideology.”