Socialist Worker

Mariano Rajoy gone after he's implicated in corruption crisis

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2607

Holding in the tears—Rajoy has been kicked out

Holding in the tears—Rajoy has been kicked out (Pic: European People’s Party)


The fall of right wing Spanish leader Mariano Rajoy is a blow against supporters of austerity across Europe.

Rayoy, who has presided over seven years of harsh attacks on the working class, lost a vote of no confidence in the parliament on Friday of last week.

It follows a court case which saw dozens of people with links to Rajoy's ruling PP party, including a former treasurer, convicted of crimes relating to the use of an illegal slush fund.

This was used to finance party election campaigns between 1999 and 2005.

Judges issued prison sentences totalling 351 years and the PP was ordered to repay more than £200,000, the amount it received from the scheme. The judge said testimony from Rajoy and other party officials who said they knew nothing was “not credible”.

In the end it was grubby corruption that destroyed Rajoy. But battles over housing, pensions, women’s rights and the resistance in Catalonia have all undermined him.

With political turmoil it’s time for workers, the Catalan movement, and all the campaigns to step up the fightback

The socialist grouping Marx 21 said, “We celebrate Mariano Rajoy’s removal, but it is not enough to change the names and acronyms of the government.

“There needs to be social change, the end of repression and a more real democracy, including the right to decide on the future of Catalonia.”

Rajoy will be replaced by Pedro Sanchez, the leader of Spain’s Labour-type PSOE party, which tabled the motion to remove him.

The PSOE allowed Rajoy to form a government in 2016 after an inconclusive election because it feared that another election would be disastrous for PSOE as its support had fallen.

Sanchez was removed as leader at the time because he had opposed the move. But he returned last year.

Almost his first act was to promise that he would respect the budget passed recently by Rajoy. That means there will be very little change.

PSOE has only 84 MPs in the 350-seat chamber. Its motion against Rajoy passed only because of support from the anti-austerity Podemos party, the Basque nationalist party and two pro-independence Catalan parties.

PSOE has totally opposed any attempt at Catalan independence. Sanchez will now have to deal with the issue.

Direct rule by the Spanish state is due to end on Saturday. Sanchez said he would seek dialogue with the new Catalan government.

Stresses

But he added that any negotiations would have to abide by the constitution, which stresses the “indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation”.

The extreme weakness of Sanchez’s position means that another general election is highly likely before the end of the year.

Recent polls suggest the right wing Ciudadanos (Citizens) party would be the biggest single party if there were an election now. But no strong government could be formed

Other European governments will be hoping Sanchez can stabilise the country.

But there is deep anger in Spanish society.

Unemployment is down from its peak of 26 percent in 2013, but is still close to 20 percent.

More than one in three young people are unemployed. Almost half the workforce earns less than £200 a week.

More than a quarter of workers are on temporary contracts.

Meanwhile the rich are grabbing more and more.

With political turmoil it’s time for workers, the Catalan movement, and all the campaigns to step up the fightback


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