Spain’s embattled justice minister refuses to resign

0
8709

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 08, 2018 Spanish minister of justice Dolores Delgado poses for a family photo with the rest of ministers following their first cabinet meeting at La Moncloa palace in Madrid on June 8, 2018. Dolores Delgado refused to resign on September 26, 2018 while the right-wing opposition and the radical left demand her departure after the publication of conversations between her and former police officer Jose Manuel Villarejo, currently in prison and prosecuted for money laundering. “I will not resign,” she told MPs. “Neither this socialist government nor (me) will accept the blackmail of anyone,” she added. The minister is weakened by / AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO

Spain’s socialist administration has already lost two of its ministers since coming to power in June.

Culture and sports minister Maxim Huerta stepped down after only a week after it emerged she had been heavily fined for tax offences.

And health minister Carmen Monton resigned over allegations about her educational qualifications

pain’s justice minister defied calls to resign on Wednesday, defying growing criticism over audio recordings of her conversations with a former police chief under investigation for corruption.

Dolores Delgado is fighting to avoid becoming the third minister to be forced to quit the administration.

She dismissed calls to step down from deputies on both the right and the radical left.

“Neither this socialist government nor this minister is going to accept anyone’s blackmail,” Delgado told parliament.

She was under increasing pressure after investigative website Moncloa.com published more extracts Wednesday from wiretap recordings of her conversations with retired police commissioner Jose Manuel Villarejo.

Villarejo is currently in jail awaiting trial over a major corruption scandal. The site said the recordings date back to 2009, when Delgado was working as a prosecutor.

The latest appeared to show her accusing judges and prosecutors of being accompanied by under-age girls during a trip to Colombia.

In another extract, released on Tuesday, she appeared to use a homophobic term to refer to her openly gay colleague Fernando Grande-Marlaska, now interior minister.

Delgado says the recordings were “manipulated” but has acknowledged meeting Villarejo at least three times.

Pablo Iglesias, leader of the radical left party Podemos, which helps prop up the minority Socialist government, called on her to step down.

“It is unacceptable that, in this country, ministers can be friends with people like Villarejo,” he said in a speech to parliament.

“I can’t understand how you can still be in your post, where you are doing enormous damage to Spanish justice and enormous damage to our country,” said conservative deputy Maria Jesus Bonilla.

“These recordings leave you in a very bad position not just as a person but also as a minister.”

Government spokeswoman Isabel Celaa said on Tuesday the government had “full confidence” in Delgado.