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Democracy and corruption in Spain: Why Rajoy must go and elections should be called

The only answer to the party financing scandal engulfing prime minister Mariano Rajoy and his right-wing Popular Party is Mr Rajoy’s head and immediate elections says Joan Coscubiela

Never before has a social and political conflict presented itself in Spain so clearly. Either the citizens and and institutions rescue democracy or corruption in all its facets, which are many, will have triumphed.

To be sure, the Barcenas-Rajoy-Popular Party case  is not the only problem facing the country. There are many powerful reasons to demand that Mariano Rajoy resign and elections are called.

First of all, the social drama resulting from his policies and especially his lies: he’s done the opposite of what he said he would and lied repeatedly, even after being elected Prime Minister.

In my case, as a Catalan, it is also significant that he refuses to recognize the democratic right to decide their future that citizens of Catalonia demand.

But all these reasons, today have a common thread –  the defence of democracy against those who want
impunity from corruption, which is in itself the very negation of democracy.

I reiterate what I’ve said in Congress on many occasions. The head of a government, which has been taking under the table payments for his party, and allowing others to do so, cannot demand sacrifices of the citizens, particularly the most needy. A Prime Minister who, until January 2013, bought the silence of a corrupt tax evader and given shelter to him in the governing Popular Party has no credibility when he claims to know nothing of what this offender has done. But mostly, Rajoy has no longer any authority to represent his country.

Today, once again, Rajoy has lied and cheated in a boorish and insulting fashion. He has lied to the public so many times he runs the risk of normalizing such dishonesty. Today in Spain, as well as rights won over many decades, it is democracy itself which is at stake.

Democracy is above all the existence of checks and balances to prevent any power of any kind to be imposed on the whole of society. During this parliamentary term, following elections that handed victory to the Popular Party over the Socialists in November 2011, democracy has been weakened beyond recognition. It is not just the absolutist fashion in which the PP has exercised its absolute majority in the legislature, it is the repeated abuse of Decree Laws, the undemocratic control of the judiciary, of the criminalization and persecution of social movements.

Now Rajoy confirms that, in his obsession to hold onto power at all costs, that he plans to prevent the exercise of mechanisms of democratic control over Spanish institutions. His refusal to appear before Parliament – preventing one of its most decisive functions, that is the control of the Executive Branch – has shown us that the most important thing today is to rescue democracy from the kidnapping organised by the Popular Party.

The people have started to mobilise and I hope this builds in the coming days. And as political forces, we have an obligation to force Rajoy to appear before parliament. To achieve this there is only one way to join forces around what unites us – the defence of democracy.And that means the resignation of Rajoy and return sovereignty to the public, through elections.

Joan Coscubiela was general secretary of the Workers Commissions (CCOO) trade union in Catalonia between 1995 and 2008, and MP for Initiative for Catalonia-Greens (ICV) since 2011.

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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