Spain opposition says PM making a ‘show’ with quit talk

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The head of Spain’s main opposition party on Thursday accused Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of making a “show” by speaking of a possible resignation after a court opened a graft probe targeting his wife.

“The vast majority (of Spaniards) are watching with amazement the latest show that Mr. Sanchez has provoked,” Alberto Nunez Feijoo, leader of the conservative Popular Party, told a news conference.

Skeptical of any talk of resignation, Feijoo accused Sanchez of using the court investigation to seek public sympathy.

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He said Sanchez had “set in motion a political survival operation by seeking to mobilize people on the basis of compassion.”

“The head of a government worthy of our nation does not subject it to international shame,” he added.

Sanchez said Wednesday in a letter posted on X, formerly Twitter, that he would suspend his public schedule while he decides whether he wants to continue leading the government after a Madrid court opened an investigation into his wife Begona Gomez for suspected influence peddling and corruption.

He said he would announce his decision on Monday.

The court made the move in response to a complaint by Manos Limpias (Clean Hands), an anti-corruption pressure group whose leader is linked to the far right.

“I need to pause and think,” Sanchez wrote in a four-page letter posted on his X account. “I urgently need an answer to the question of whether it is worthwhile... whether I should continue to lead the government or renounce this honor.”

Online news site El Confidencial said investigators were probing Gomez’s ties to several private companies that received government funding or won public contracts.

The site said the probe was linked to the alleged ties which Gomez - who does not hold public office and maintains a low profile - had with Spanish tourism group Globalia, which owns Air Europa.

It said she had twice met with Javier Hidalgo, Globalia’s CEO at the time, when the carrier was in talks with the government to secure a huge bailout, after it was badly hit by the plunge in air traffic due to the COVID-19 crisis.

In his letter, Sanchez defended his wife’s innocence and said she would cooperate with the investigation.

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