Should Spain's interior minister step down?
The conservative opposition in Spain is demanding the resignation of Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska. Marlaska had dismissed the chief of the Guardia Civil, the national law enforcement agency, claiming the move was part of a general replacement policy. However it later came out that the police chief was investigating members of the government on the orders of the judiciary - albeit on the basis of potentially biased reports.
Resignation is unavoidable
A minister who lied to the members of the Senate can no longer remain in office, El Mundo stresses:
“Marlaska deliberately lied to avoid committing the crime anyone knows they are committing if they obstruct a judicial investigation concerning their government. Things look particularly bad for him because this lie has become glaringly obvious and the judge has enough evidence to take action against the minister of the interior for coercement and inciting the betrayal of secrets. ... But Marlaska should resign before the judiciary brings charges against him. He dismissed an honest man because he refused to commit an illegal act [to inform the interior ministry about the investigation]. ... He is a villainous minister who should not be allowed to stay in office a day longer.”
This is not proper democracy
In a functioning democracy the minister of the interior would certainly have to resign after such a scandal, but on the other hand a police chief should not manipulate reports, writes Ignacio Escolar, editor-in-chief of eldiario.es:
“It is in this Spain, and not in an exemplary democratic state, where the Civil Guard has again produced a report full of distorted facts, errors and lies in order to accuse the left, currently in government, of various crimes without any grounds to do so. This report goes beyond mere bungling: it twists the testimony of at least one witness to such an extent that it says the opposite of what the witness actually said. These are very serious deeds which, in better functioning democracies, would have harsher consequences than merely the dismissal of a Civil Guard chief.”