Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says he will continue in office

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he will continue in office “even with more strength” after days of reflection.

Mr Sanchez shocked the country on Wednesday, announcing he was taking five days off to think about his future after a court opened preliminary proceedings against his wife on corruption allegations.


“I have decided to continue on with even more strength at the helm of the government of Spain,” he said in a televised speech after informing King Felipe VI of his decision.

His resignation would have deprived Europe of its longest-serving Socialist prime minister currently in charge of a major European Union country right before European elections in June.

“It is a decision that does not mean a return to the status quo, this will mark a before and after, I promise you that,” Mr Sanchez said, without detailing what steps he could take to curtail “the smear campaign” he says he and his family is facing.

The eurozone’s fourth-largest economy had been in suspense since Mr Sanchez, prime minister since 2018, posted an emotional letter on X on Wednesday.

In it it he said the moves against wife were too personal an attack on his family and he needed time to decide on his priorities.

In that letter, where he declared himself “deeply in love” with wife Begoaa Gomez, he said that he could no longer just stand aside and watch her being targeted by a legal probe brought by allegations by a right-wing platform that accused her of using her position to influence business deals.

The group, Manos Limpias, or “Clean Hands”, acknowledged that the complaint was based on newspaper articles.

Spanish prosecutors say it should be thrown out.

Mr Sanchez said the move was too personal an attack on his family and he needed time to decide on his priorities.

He essentially has four options: resign, seek a parliamentary vote of confidence, call a new election or remain in office.

Any one of them could upset key legislative plans as well as a crucial election in the Catalonia region in May and the European Parliament election in June.

Mr Sanchez, 52, has been Spain’s prime minister since 2018. He was able to form a new minority leftist coalition government in November to start another four-year term thanks to the exceedingly fragile support of a handful of small regional parties.

While popular internationally, Mr Sanchez is loved or despised in Spain.

The prime minister blames the investigation on online news sites politically aligned with the leading opposition Popular Party and the Vox party that spread what he called “spurious” allegations.

His supporters say this should be a wake-up call to react against baseless attacks that are poisoning Spanish politics.

The Popular Party, however, said Mr Sanchez’s behaviour was frivolous, adolescent and unbecoming of a European leader.

It said the decision was a tactical ploy to whip up support for electoral purposes.


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