Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has made a defiant speech to lawmakers, affirming that he is not resigning and not calling elections.
But he did apologise to MP’s for mishandling a major corruption scandal, though denied he or his centre-right People’s Party accepted illegal payments.
Beyond parliament, investors shrugged of the scandal as it has not destabilised the government and on Thursday Spain sold debt more cheaply than two weeks ago.
But the opposition are pursuing their quarry with intense criticism.
“You have not acted as a Prime Minister of a country in crisis. You have acted as chairman of a party that, according to our knowledge, has grown, has existed and has won elections supported by a system of illegal financing for over 20 years,” said Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the Socialist Party Secretary General
Media outlets have published copies of an SMS message Rajoy sent to the People’s Party ex-treasurer Luis Barcenas telling him to him to be strong. Barcenas is at the heart of the corruption scandal and has testified he ran a slush fund for the party hidden from the authorities.
He is in jail pending trial on charges of bribery and tax evasion. Opposition parties had threatened to call a vote of no confidence before Rajoy agreed to make his appearance before lawmakers.