Thousands rally in Madrid to assist PM as corruption probe continues | EUROtoday

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Thousands of supporters of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez rallied on the headquarters of his Socialist social gathering imploring him to not step down over a graft investigation towards his spouse.

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The 52-year-old, who has been in workplace since 2018, shocked Spain on Wednesday when he put his resignation on the road after a Madrid courtroom opened a preliminary investigation into suspected affect peddling and corruption towards his partner Begona Gomez.

Sanchez stated he would droop all public duties till he declares his resolution on Monday. The usually hyperactive premier has since remained out of sight and silent.

According to Madrid metropolis authorities, the gang rallying on Saturday to beg Sanchez to remain on numbered round 12,500.

Supporters held up placards saying “Spain needs you”, “Pedro don’t abandon us’, and shouted slogans such as “Pedro chief”.

“I hope that Sanchez will say on Monday that he’ll keep,” said Sara Dominguez, a consultant in her 30’s, adding that his government had “taken good steps for girls, the LGBT group and minorities”.

Jose María Diez, a 44-year-old government official who came from Valladolid in northern Spain to express his support, said there was a real possibility that the far-right could take power if Sanchez quit.

“This will imply a step backwards for our rights and liberties,” he warned.

Inside the party headquarters, there were similar passionate appeals.

‘Pedro stay’

“Pedro keep. We are collectively and collectively we are able to … take the nation ahead, Spain cannot step again,” said Budget Minister Maria Jesus Montero, the government number two.

“Today all democrats, all progressives, are summoned to Madrid towards a pack whose solely intention is to overthrow a democratic and legit authorities,” said Felix Bolanos, Minister of the Presidency, Justice and Parliamentary Relations.

At one point, Socialist leaders took to the streets to thank those gathered. “They will not succeed,” government spokeswoman Pilar Alegria told the crowd.

The court opened the investigation into Sanchez’s wife in response to a complaint from anti-corruption pressure group Manos Limpias (Clean Hands), whose leader is linked to the far right.

The group, which has presented a litany of unsuccessful lawsuits against politicians in the past, said on Wednesday its complaint was based on media reports and could not vouch for their veracity.

While the court did not give details of the case, online news site El Confidencial said it focused on links Gomez had to Spanish tourism group Globalia when carrier Air Europa was in talks with the government to secure a huge bailout.

The airline sought the bailout after it was badly hit by plunging passenger numbers during the Covid-19 crisis.

At the time, Gomez was running IE Africa Centre, a foundation linked to Madrid’s Instituto de Empresa (IE) business school, which had signed a sponsorship agreement with Globalia in 2020.

Spain’s public prosecutors office on Thursday requested the dismissal of the investigation, which Sanchez said was part of a campaign of “harassment” against him and his wife waged by “media closely influenced by the correct and much proper”.

If Sanchez decides to remain in office, he could choose to file a confidence motion in parliament to show that he and his minority government are still supported by a majority of lawmakers.

If he resigns, an early election could be called from July — a year after the last one — with or without Sanchez at the helm of the Socialist party.

The right-wing opposition has accused the prime minister of being irresponsible for putting the country on hold while he mulls his decision.

“It’s very clear to us that that is all a tactic… We know Pedro Sanchez and issues with him at all times prove like a cleaning soap opera,” Cuca Gamarra, the number two of the main opposition conservative Popular Party, said on Friday.

“He is making us all wait and the nation is at a standstill,” she added.