Will address graft scandal in Parliament: Spain`s PM
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Last Updated: Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 08:54
  
Madrid: Bowing to pressure from the opposition, Spain's Prime Minister said on Monday he will appear in Parliament to answer questions over allegations he received secret payments from a slush fund run by his conservative Popular Party.

"I will go before Parliament to offer all explanations," Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told a joint news conference with his Romanian counterpart Victor Ponta when asked if he would address the affair in the Assembly, as had been demanded by the main opposition Socialist Party.

"I want to give explanations to Parliament, tell what happened and give my version, I think citizens need that."

Rajoy has denied receiving illegal payments and has said he will not step down over the affair.

Over the past week, pressure has increased on the Spanish leader to answer questions from lawmakers in parliament regarding the scandal, with fresh indications he may have received illegal payments from a slush fund run by his Popular Party's former treasurer Luis Barcenas.

Barcenas testified in court on June 15 that Rajoy received USD 33,000 in cash in 2010.

Opposition Socialist leader Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba has threatened to introduce a motion of censure against Rajoy if he does not appear. Rubalcaba told the centre-left daily El Pais yesterday that Rajoy "cannot continue to govern if he does not explain" the scandal in Parliament.

Nearly nine in 10 Spaniards, 89.1 percent, feel Rajoy should explain himself in Parliament over the scandal, according to a poll published yesterday in centre-right daily newspaper El Mundo which has been aggressively pursuing the graft scandal.

The survey also found that just under two-thirds (65.6 percent) of respondents believed Rajoy had received payments, with 19.6 percent saying the opposite. Rajoy said he had spoken to the head of Parliament to ask to appear in the Assembly at the end of July or the beginning of August.

He said he would offer explanations "on the economic situation facing the country, with new figures that we know at that time, but also on the political situation, and I will speak to the subject that interests you," he added.

"I think the time has come to explain to parliament what the situation is and take stock of what we have been doing lately."

Until now Rajoy has used the absolute majority his party won in a landslide election victory in 2011 to block calls for him to face questions in Parliament over the scandal.

AFP


First Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 08:53


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