Sánchez will announce on Monday whether he wants to stay on as prime minister of Spain

by Lorraine Williamson

Spanish Prime Minister Sánchez announced in a statement on X on Wednesday that he is reconsidering resigning from his position as head of government. Next Monday, he will announce his decision, he reported on X.

Sánchez also announced in the message that he is stepping down from his duties for a number of days. The reason for this is that a judicial investigation into his wife was announced on Wednesday. She is suspected of having committed corruption with her company.

The head of government denounces the “strategy of intimidation and demolition” against him and those close to him. And he openly wonders if “right now […] all this is worth it. “I honestly don’t know,” he reported Wednesday.

Unprecedented attack

On Wednesday morning, the 41st Court of Madrid launched preliminary proceedings against Sánchez’s wife, Begoña Gómez, to investigate her alleged relationships with several private companies that ended up receiving funds and government contracts from the government. The complaint came from the far-right trade union Manos Limpias.

Sánchez speaks of an “unprecedented attack” on him and his wife by “a coalition of right-wing and far-right interests”. He also refers to the right-wing conservative Partido Popular and the ultra-right party Vox. Last summer, Sánchez lost the elections to the Partido Popular. But when that party was unable to form a coalition, Sánchez managed to reach an agreement with a number of smaller parties. Among them are the Catalan pro-separatist parties ERC and Junts, which gave their support in exchange for an amnesty for Junts leader Puigdemont and hundreds of other separatists.

“We often forget that there are people behind politicians,” he writes. “I am a man who is madly in love with my wife, and I have to watch helplessly as mud is thrown at her every day.”

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Reactions from Spanish politicians

Members of the PSOE are expressing their support for the prime minister and his wife on social media. According to Justice Minister Bolaños, also a member of the PSOE, the accusations are false.

The parties criticised in the letter give a fierce reaction. Vox writes in a statement that Spain is “witnessing a new kind of victimisation.” “If Sánchez wants to think, let him do so, but after his dismissal.” A senator from the Partido Popular writes: “He is the good guy, the others are bad. Of course, Sánchez wants to continue. Even at any price.”

What happens if Sánchez resigns as prime minister?

Sánchez has been in power since 2018. At the time, the then Prime Minister Rajoy of the Partido Popular lost a confidence vote in parliament because of a corruption scandal within his party. Sánchez’s cabinet has been leaning on a shaky majority in parliament since last year. If Sánchez decides to step down, the first vice president of the government, María Jesús Montero, will assume the acting presidency until the formation of a new government. Article 101 of the Constitution stipulates that in the event of the resignation or death of the President of the Government, the entire government shall cease to be in office, but shall remain in office until a new government takes office.

Only once has a prime minister resigned in today’s democratic Spain: in 1981, Adolfo Suárez, the first president of democracy, resigned, and Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo was subsequently installed.

No early elections possible

Whatever Sánchez announces on Monday, he cannot call early elections. That’s because less than a year has passed since the last general election. These took place on 23 July.

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