Sánchez: PSOE should call Rajoy to Congress over Gürtel

Ousted Socialist leader Sánchez calls for Rajoy to testify immediately in Congress. Photo: El Diario

• Former party leader says Socialists should toughen position on PP corruption
• PSOE interim head says Rajoy will be called before special Congress committee

Former Socialist party (PSOE) general secretary Pedro Sánchez, one of three leading candidates in the current PSOE leadership contest, has exchanged terse open letters with the PSOE’s interim caretaker committee over how the opposition party should be responding to the high-profile corruption cases hitting the conservative governing Partido Popular (PP).

In a letter to the head of the PSOE’s interim committee, the former PSOE leader has called on his party’s leadership to specifically demand that Spanish President Mariano Rajoy should be immediately called before Congress to give an account of his alleged role in the Gürtel corruption case involving illegal kickbacks to the governing party. In an unprecedented move in Spain, Rajoy has been called to give testimony in court as a direct witness because of his role as PP leader during 2003-04, at a time when the illegal kickbacks and financing of his party were allegedly ongoing.

Sánchez was ousted from the general secretary position in an internal PSOE leadership coup last October after he repeatedly refused to endorse a vote of abstention by PSOE deputies in Congress to enable a PP government and the conservative party’s leader, Rajoy, to assume a second term in office. Following Sánchez’s ouster, the interim caretaker commission appointed to succeed him mandated an abstention by all PSOE deputies, clearing the way for Rajoy to put together the minimum majority needed to form a government.

PSOE interim committee leader Javier Fernández responded to Sánchez in kind on Tuesday, saying bluntly that the party had already decided to request that Rajoy appear before previously scheduled hearings of a special congressional committee set up to investigate the financing of the PP, and sees no need to take any further action at the moment.

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