Spanish Socialist PM Sánchez mulls future after latest corruption case opened against his wife

Pedro Sánchez announced in a letter posted on X that he was considering his position after the latest corruption investigation into his wife, but a Spanish journalist tells Remix News there may be another reason for the announcement

FILE - Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks with Slovenia's Prime Minister Robert Golob during their meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
By Thomas Brooke
6 Min Read

Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced he is suspending his public duties to reflect on whether it is worth continuing to lead his country’s government after a Spanish court commenced another anti-corruption investigation into his wife.

In a four-page letter published on X, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) leader accused a court in Madrid of reopening investigations into his wife, Begoña Gómez, at the request of right-wing organization Clean Hands and called the allegations “as scandalous as they are non-existent.”

He further claimed that two newspapers reporting on the allegations are of an “ultra-right orientation,” claiming he and his family have been the victims of a political witch hunt by those who oppose his left-wing government.

Sánchez accused his political opponents, Alberto Núñez Feijóo of the Spanish People’s Party (PP), and Santiago Abascal, leader of VOX, of political point-scoring by “collaborating” with those calling for investigations into his wife, calling their outrage “serious as well as crude.”

“This strategy of harassment and demolition has been going on for months,” he wrote, saying political opponents were targeting Begoña “because she is my wife” in an attempt “to make me weaker politically.”

The allegations against Sánchez’s wife were first reported by center-right news outlet El Confidencial, which claimed she met with the bosses of several private companies that went on to receive government funding or public contracts from Sánchez’s administration.

One example involves two meetings with Javier Hidalgo, the chief executive of a tourism holding company before Sánchez’s government granted the Hidalgo family’s airline, Air Europa, a taxpayer bailout of nearly €500 million.

After claiming that Feijóo and Abascal were slinging mud to “dehumanize and delegitimize” their political opponent, he wrote, “I legitimately ask myself, is all this worth it? Sincerely, I don’t know.”

“I am a man deeply in love with my wife, who lives helplessly with the mud that is spread on her day in and day out. I need to stop and reflect. I urgently need to answer the question of whether … I should continue at the head of the Government or resign from this high honor,” he added.

The Socialist leader explained he would continue working but would be canceling his public duties until Monday, April 29, when he will arrange a press conference and announce whether he intends to continue in office.

His political opponents derided the letter, accusing Sánchez of deflection and attempting to make him out to be the victim in the face of legitimate allegations regarding his wife’s dealings.

Responding to the announcement, VOX leader Santiago Abascal said he wasn’t clear whether Sánchez was stepping back to reflect or to “prepare his legal defense because he should have been sitting on a bench for a long time and not on the blue bench,” referring to prison yard benches and the blue benches in the Spanish parliament.

“We do not know if this is another of his propaganda maneuvers to present himself as a poor victim, and thus silence the majority of Spaniards’ indignation. But what we do know, and we will never forget, is that he is the president who achieved the inauguration with the greatest act of political corruption ever seen, amnestying criminals in exchange for votes,” Abascal wrote on X.

Opposition leader Feijóo claimed that Sánchez’s announcement was not a political or personal one, insisting he and his entourage have a “judicial problem.”

“From today until Monday, he will try to victimize himself and polarize Spanish society,” he added.

Spanish journalist and political analyst Rubén Pulido had another possible explanation for Sánchez’s announcement, which even took much of his inner circle by surprise, suggesting that the Spanish prime minister was pre-empting the outcome of a re-opened investigation by the Spanish High Court on Tuesday into the Pegasus spyware scandal.

The spyware, developed by the Israeli company NSO, made headlines back in 2022 when several top politicians in Sánchez’s cabinet were reportedly hacked and sensitive information was obtained by foreign agents.

Speaking to Remix News, Pulido said, “Sánchez is not thinking of resigning because of his wife’s possible court cases, Sánchez is thinking of resigning for fear of the consequences of a new investigation into Morocco’s spying on his mobile phone.

“Now, he also has Israel as an enemy — don’t forget that Israel developed the software used by Morocco to spy on the Spanish government. Sánchez fears that sensitive information about him or part of his administration as prime minister will come to light,” he added.

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