Corruption scandal threatens to topple Rajoy

Spain's Socialists want to topple the head of government Mariano Rajoy with a no-confidence motion. His conservative People's Party (PP) was ordered to pay a fine of 245,000 euros last week as a result of a ruling in the Gürtel corruption scandal. Will Spain's prime minister survive this latest challenge?

Open/close all quotes (ES) /

What the PM can do for Spain: step down!

Rajoy must resign, editor-in-chief Ignacio Escolar demands in

“The vote of no confidence is not directed against Spain but against Mariano Rajoy. Against a head of government whose word carries no weight, whose credibility has been blown to pieces and has more votes against him than for him in parliament. If Rajoy really cares about Spain's stability he's the one who must go of his own volition. ... Because it's a man called M. Rajoy who appears as the recipient of 373,000 euros from a slush fund the existence of which the judiciary now considers proven. For all these and many other reasons, Mariano Rajoy must not continue to lead the government for a single day longer.”

Público (PT) /

A tactical move

Público explains what the vote of no confidence is really about:

“This motion is first of all aimed against the increasingly discredited Spanish People's Party. ... But it is also aimed at putting pressure on the Ciudadanos party, which has supported the government so far. If it votes against the motion, it will be accused of having kept Rajoy in power. But it is also an attempt by the leader of the Socialists, Pedro Sánchez, to return to the centre of the political agenda after a prolonged absence. ... The motion of no-confidence is therefore a strategic move and does not herald a 'revolution'. The wisest course would be to wait for the elections in 2019.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

A whole party contaminated by corruption

Shortly before the sentences were delivered the PP leader and head of government Mariano Rajoy talked of "isolated cases" of corruption from "many years ago". Such prevarications no longer carry any weight, writes El Periódico de Catalunya:

“How can he continue to talk about isolated cases when in addition to the party itself, two ex-treasurers (Bárcenas and Sanchis), the former secretary of the PP in Galicia, a former advisor of the Community of Madrid, two ex-mayors and other lower-ranking party functionaries are among those convicted? Moreover, the verdict considers the existence of slush funds that were used to pay bonuses and that will be the subject of another trial proven.”

El País (ES) /

This troupe has seen its day

Mariano Rajoy's PP government cannot remain in power after this verdict, El País believes:

“This judgement leaves Rajoy in a position that is incompatible with the political and moral authority required to exercise his functions. The government was already ailing as a result of its poor management of the separatist crisis and its weak position in parliament. Now, after yesterday's verdict which exposes in black and white the dirty finances of the party that sustains it, its poor management of this problem and its complete inability to act as a role model for society, it is even more weakened. The judiciary has done its job, and we should be glad about that. The politicians still haven't done theirs and they cannot continue to hide behind their impunity.”