- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2013

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is facing increasing pressure to either explain his ongoing support for a disgraced former treasurer who’s headed to court over a slush fund scandal — or resign from office.

Mr. Rajoy, 58, of the People’s Party, has refused for weeks to comment on the growing controversy of his former colleague, treasurer Luis Barcenas, but pressure for him to issue a statement mounts.

A High Court has accused Mr. Barcenas, 55, of making secret payments to politicians — and it seems odd to many that Mr. Rajoy refused to comment publicly on the scandal, Agence France-Presse reported.

Many are also outraged about supportive emails Mr. Rajoy sent to Mr. Barcenas, the Financial Times reported.

The head of Spain’s Socialist Party, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, accused the prime minister of “serious collusion” with Mr. Barcenas, and said that “given the unsustainable political situation in Spain, the Socialist Party calls for the immediate resignation of Mariano Rajoy as head of the government,” AFP said.

And on Monday, an editorial in the daily newspaper, El Pais, demanded the prime minister explain his views of the scandal.

“Out of respect for the democratic system, the citizens and his own party and voters, the head of government must give a true explanation to parliament,” the editorial read.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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