Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Thursday, 23 june 2016 | THE GUARDIAN

English

Spanish minister accused of conspiring against political rivals

Four days before election, Jorge Fernández Diaz faces calls to resign over leaked conversation with anti-fraud official


Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters



THE GUARDIAN
 
AFP, 22-06-2016.-
 
 
Spain’s interior minister is facing calls to resign over a conversation, leaked four days before Sunday’s general election, in which he and an anti-fraud official are said to have discussed ways to incriminate political rivals.

In the conversation, recorded in 2014 and reported by the leftwing news website Público, Jorge Fernández Diaz and the head of Catalonia’s anti-fraud office, Daniel de Alfonso, appear to discuss possible investigations that could be launched against pro-independence politicians in the region.
Police unions and several rivals of Fernández Diaz’s conservative Popular party (PP) have demanded that he quit.

“We have an interior minister, who should be protecting us all, apparently using his post to investigate political rivals,” Pablo Iglesias, head of the anti-austerity Podemos party, told the public broadcaster TVE. “I think this should trigger an immediate resignation.”
 
Fernández Diaz condemned the leak and said police had been asked to investigate exactly how the conversation had been recorded and disclosed. He acknowledged that the meeting with de Alfonso had taken place.

“I remember having had this meeting, but, as for the content of these conversations, I remember the general gist, which was to meet a magistrate that heads the anti-fraud office of the regional government, whose mission is to fight fraud and corruption,” he told Spanish radio.

“To claim that an interior minister is conspiring against members of Catalonia’s government is surreal,” he said. Madrid politicians and Catalonian separatists have long been at odds over a pro-independence drive in the region.

During the conversation, de Alfonso allegedly lays out several leads on possible offences by various pro-independence politicians or their relatives, but adds that they are all weak.
Fernández Diaz allegedly insists that some can still inflict “a lot of harm politically”.
 
The PP is expected to come first in Sunday’s general election but to miss out on an absolute majority, weakened by the rise of upstart parties such as Podemos as well as several corruption scandals.
Pedro Sánchez, head of the Socialist party, also called on Fernández Diaz to resign, accusing him of “using the state apparatus to fight against his political rivals and not to fight against corruption within his own party”.

The acting prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, defended Fernández Diaz, saying he had given a clear explanation. “As we’re four days before the end of the campaign, someone is trying to take advantage and fish in troubled waters to see what comes out,” he said.

The elections are Spain’s second in six months. December’s vote resulted in a hung parliament, after which parties failed to agree on a coalition government.
 
 


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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

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