A DAY is a long time in Spanish politics. On the evening of May 23rd Mariano Rajoy, the conservative prime minister, was celebrating his minority government’s success in getting this year’s budget through Congress, opening the way for him to see out another couple of years. The next day came a bombshell: a court gave its verdict in a long-running corruption trial involving past officials of the ruling People’s Party (PP) and in which Mr Rajoy himself testified as a witness last summer. Not only did the court sentence the party’s former treasurer to 33 years in jail, but it also found that the PP had benefited from kickbacks and cast doubt on the prime minister’s evidence.
With that, his rivals pounced. On May 25th Ciudadanos, a liberal party that has helped to keep Mr Rajoy in office (the PP formed only a minority government after elections in December 2016) and is leading in many opinion polls, demanded that he call an immediate general election. Pedro Sánchez, the...Continue reading