Spain is in suspense waiting for Pedro Sánchez to say whether he will resign or stay in office

MADRID — Spain is in nail-biting suspense Monday as it waits for Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to announce whether he will continue in office or not.

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

The legal complaint against his wife, Begoña Gómez, was filed by a far-right legal platform that says Gómez used 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.

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

He will announce his decision Monday at a time yet to be decided.

Sánchez 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.

Sánchez, 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. He is one of Europe’s longest-serving Socialist leaders and while popular internationally, he is loved or despised in Spain.

Sánchez blames the investigation on online news sites politically aligned with the leading opposition conservative Popular Party and the far-right 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 Sánchez’s behavior was frivolous, adolescent and unbecoming of a European leader. It said the decision was a tactical ploy to whip up support for electoral purposes.

Nagore Calvo Mendizabal, a senior lecturer in Spanish and European politics and society at King’s College London, said that Sanchez’s decision could be “another of his political maneuvers” and that it could benefit him by whipping up support nationally in the battle against attacks from the right.


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