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Spain: Sanchez supporters rally, urge PM not to quit

April 27, 2024

With a scandal rocking the family of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, thousands of his supporters took to the streets of Madrid to urge the leftist leader to stay in office.

Sanchez supporters pictured with Socialist Party flags at party headquarters in Madrid
Supporters called for Sanchez not to leave office ahead of his expected decision on MondayImage: Andrea Comas/dpa/AP Photo/picture alliance

Supporters of Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday gathered in their thousands urging him not to step down from office.

On Wednesday the Socialist premier said that he was considering the possibility of resigning after a court opened a fraud investigation into his wife. He said he would suspend all public duties until he announces his decision on Monday.

"I need to stop and think whether I should continue to head the government or whether I should give up this honour," he wrote in a four-page letter posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Thousands of Socialist Party supporters flood the streets outside party headquarters in Madrid
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he would suspend all public duties until he announces his decision on MondayImage: A. Pérez Meca/EUROPA PRESS/dpa/picture alliance

'Prime Minister, stay' — Deputy PM

At a meeting of the party's federal committee, Deputy Prime Minister Maria Jesus Montero said: "Prime Minister, stay, Pedro, stay. We are with you."

Outside, the Socialist party supporters played music and waved flags, also calling for Sanchez to stay put.

"I hope he continues, because Spain has to continue with him. If not, it scares me. We are afraid of what could come," Leonor Romero, a councillor from southern Spain, told the Reuters news agency.

Spains' conservative opposition have slammed the prime minister's actions, accusing Sanchez of being irresponsible for putting the country on hold while he considers his next step.

"I ask all citizens not to be fooled. Spain does not have a problem, the one who has a judicial problem is Sanchez, his government, his party and his circle.  Let them solve it,” Alberto Nunez Feijoo, the leader of the People's Party, told a meeting in Tarragona in Catalonia.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his wife Begona Gomez
The Spanish premier's wife is now at the center of a probe into suspected influence peddlingImage: Marcelo del Pozo/Getty Images

What are the claims against Sanchez's wife?

On Wednesday, a Spanish court said that it was launching a preliminary investigation into whether Begona Gomez had abused her position as the Prime Minister's spouse to allegedly secure sponsors for a university master's degree course that she ran.

The court said it had opened the probe into "influence peddling and corruption" in response to a complaint by the anti-corruption pressure group Manos Limpias ("Clean Hands"), whose leader has links to the far-right.

Gomez, does not hold public office and maintains a low political profile.

kb/dj (Reuters, AFP)