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Pedro Sánchez. EFE
Pedro Sánchez to stay as Spain's PM after five-day reflection period
Politics

Pedro Sánchez to stay as Spain's PM after five-day reflection period

The head of the Spanish government announced this Monday that he will not be resigning

SUR

Malaga

Monday, 29 April 2024, 11:18

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Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced this Monday that he will not be resigning, after taking five days to consider his future in the role.

In a much awaited speech Sánchez thanked supporters for all the encouragement he had received in recent days and said that had influenced his decision.

"This is what I have decided and I've informed the head of state: I have decided to continue, stronger than ever, at the helm of the government," he said.

Sánchez referred once again to the "harassment" that his family had been suffering for years.

He will stay to continue to fight against those who, he said, tried to bring him down with "personal attacks, fake news and lies to gain what they did not achieve in the elections".

"Whatever our profession, we live in a society which demands that we keep moving at all costs, but there are times that the only way forward is to stop, reflect and decide in which direction we are going in," he said to justify the five-day hiatus in his public agenda.

"We have to say 'enough is enough!', or this degradation of public life will condemn us as a country," he added.

The decision comes as great relief to his party, after five days of concern about how to progress if their leader had stood down at short notice.

Last week's letter

The decision comes after Sánchez said in a letter to the people of Spain posted on X on Wednesday that he was going to take five days to reflect on whether it was worth staying in the job. That morning it had been revealed that an inquiry had been opened into his wife, Begoña Gómez, following allegations of influence peddling and corruption in business.

“I need to pause and reflect,” Sánchez said in his lengthy letter. “I need to answer the question as to whether it is worth it,” he wrote.

He said that right and far-right-wing groups were intent on creating a political mire and he needed to decide “whether I should continue at the head of the government or give up this high honour”.

It was announced earlier on Wednesday that a Madrid court had opened the investigation after Manos Limpias, an organisation described as a right-wing pseudo-trade union, reported Gómez over the allegations.

These had been swirling around for weeks on right-wing news websites. Manos Limpias, which has made successful accusations against public figures in the past including the sister of King Felipe, qualified its accusations against the PM’s wife on Thursday, saying they were based on the press reports and it was up to the judge to prove them right or wrong.

In his letter, Sánchez said his wife was taking legal action against “false” claims. He accused Spain’s right wing political groups of a strategy designed to “harass” and “bring down” the couple that has been going on for months. He added that he was “deeply in love” with his wife who had to live with “mud being slung at her day after day”.

PSOE supporters outside the party headquarters on Saturday.
PSOE supporters outside the party headquarters on Saturday. Europa Press

Reactions last week

Reaction to Sánchez’s letter, which reports said was a personal initiative that few close to him had advance warning of, has divided along party political lines.

High-profile members of the PM’s PSOE party queued up on Thursday to offer support and urge him not to stand down.

Deputy PM and finance minister María Jesús Montero criticised “the campaign to undermine, delegitimise and dehumanise the PM has had to suffer personally since taking up office”.

The head of public prosecutions, a government appointee, called on the investigating court to dismiss the case against Gómez.

Meanwhile politicians on the right said Sánchez had made an antidemocratic move to generate public sympathy. Leader of the opposition Partido Popular, Albert Núñez Feijóo, called Sánchez’s action a “teenage show”, adding that the PM“could not govern on compassion”.

Crowds show support

Over the weekend thousands of Socialist supporters gathered outside the PSOE party headquarters to show their support for Sánchez. "Pedro, stay," shouted the crowds, along with PSOE government ministers who greeted and encouraged the supporters.

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