Corruption Scandals Already Trip Up Spain’s New Government

If the Prime Minister is made to testify, all bets are off

After taking almost a whole year to form, Spain’s coalition government is already showing signs of strain. Chief among its problems is the endless string of corruption scandals engulfing the government’s majority party, the People’s Party.

In the latest scandal the regional government of Madrid — a bastion of the party’s national apparatus — is accused of channeling illegal funds through the local water company, Canal de Isabel II. Also, the embattled construction behemoth OHL allegedly gave the former president of the regional government, Ignacio González, a €1.4 million bribe in return for the tender of a light-rail project in Madrid.

González is now in jail awaiting charges, as is his brother who is promising to drag down others. Javier López Madrid, OHL’s chief executive, has also been arrested by Spain’s Civil Guard.

The latest scandal raises serious questions about the durability of Spain’s fragile coalition government. True to form, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy continues to say nothing on the matter. But his silence may soon be broken following news last week that he has been called as a witness in the ongoing Gürtel kickbacks case. It will be the first time that a sitting prime minister has taken the witness stand in 42 years of ostensibly democratic rule

Continue reading the article at WOLF STREET

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