PM called to explain role in corruption to MPs

Mariano Rajoy in parliament.
Mariano Rajoy in parliament. / EFE
  • Mariano Rajoy revealed nothing new in Congeso and caused controversy by comparing his recent court appearance to that of an ex-Socialist minister in an old murder trial

MPs returned to the national parliament after the summer break this week for an appearance by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who had been summoned to answer questions about what he knew about the Gürtel corruption case.

Opposition MPs had voted to call Rajoy after he had appeared as a witness in the ongoing high-profile corruption trial in July. The case centres on allegations of illegal funding for Rajoy’s PP party, of which the PM has denied any knowledge or involvement.

Appearing before MPs in the main chamber of the Congreso de los Diputados, Rajoy showed his frustration that they were choosing to focus on him rather than other issues affecting the country. “My duty is to govern,” he said, adding that MPs had already brought up the subject of corruption 52 times in recent years.

He drew criticism when he referred to Margarita Robles, an ex- PSOE minister and current MP, who appeared as a witness in court in the 1990s trial of Guardia Civil officers for murdering two ETA terrorists. He said that nobody criticised her and called her to parliament at the time for being in court, comments which drew criticism for being an inappropriate and unfair comparison.