Spanish president retains support for Justice Minister following reprimand of Congress

Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday gave a public vote of confidence to Justice Minister, Rafael Catala, Attorney General, Jose Manuel Maza and the Chief Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, Manuel Moix.

Rajoy’s support for the trio came in a televised control session in the Spanish Congress on Wednesday morning which followed the vote taken by Congress on Wednesday to “reproach” Catala for his “direct political responsibility,” in the recently uncovered ‘Lezo’ corruption scandal, which indicates further illegal financing of Rajoy’s People’s Party (PP).

The Lezo scandal has seen the former President of the Madrid Autonomous Community, Ignacio Gonzalez, sent to prison on corruption charges, while taped phone conversations show how he and associates knew in advance and expressed satisfaction that Moix was to be made Anti-Corruption Prosecutor.

Tuesday’s motion criticized Catala for appointing both Maza and Moix to their posts as “part of a strategy to defend the corrupt people in the PP.”

The vote was passed with the support of every party represented in Congress, with just the PP voting against it. Even the center-right formation “Ciudadanos” whose support allowed Rajoy to form his minority government at the end of October 2016, voted in favor of the measure.

However, despite being highly symbolic, Tuesday’s vote was non-binding and on Wednesday, Rajoy made it clear he was not going to follow the wishes of Congress.

When asked by Socialist Party (PSOE) Antonio Hernandez over what he intended to do, the Prime Minister, insisted he had “full confidence,” in Catala, Maza and Moix and despite accusations from Hernandez that the trio were “stopping the avalanche of corruption cases,” he said the government’s aim was to “prevent, pursue and discover,” corruption cases and then to “punish,” those responsible.

 

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