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Spanish PM refuses to step down under pressure over scandal


08:02, July 16, 2013

MADRID, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday refused to resign under mounting pressure due to allegations of illegal financing in the ruling party.

Rajoy vowed to "fulfill the mandate" when questioned by reporters, despite jailed former party treasurer Luis Barcenas, a once-trusted aide of Rajoy, has provided more testimony on charges including bribery, money laundering and tax fraud.

The 58-year-old prime minister has denied any wrongdoing and reluctant to comment on the issue in the past days.

According to the reports, Luis Barcenas might turn over documents to the court concerning a secret slush fund ran by the party for many years.

Rajoy, said Monday that his government will ensure political stability and emphasized the importance of the reforms to resolve the crisis over corruption scandal affecting his government.

Rajoy made these comments at a press conference at the Moncloa Palace with his Polish counterpart, Donald Tusk, after both governments met to discuss European, international and industry issues.

Monday's press conference created a lot of expectancy after Sunday the Spanish newspaper El Mundo published several messages which showed the support of Rajoy to the ex-treasurer of the ruling Partido Popular (PP) Luis Barcenas, nowadays in jail charged with fraud.

The main opposition party, PSOE, called on Rajoy to resign on Sunday after learning of the existence of these messages.

Asked about this issue, Rajoy said "I'm going to defend the political stability and I will finish my term of office and if others want to play something else for one reason or another, it is their sole responsibility ".

Rajoy reiterated that the most important is political stability and the reforms the country has to carry out. "I will not allow Spain's political stability to be affected."

Rajoy pointed out that "the rule of law cannot be blackmailed" while saying that the Spanish justice is working independently without receiving pressures from the government.

Rajoy said that the institutions responsible for the investigation (police, tax office and prosecutors) have not changed, which proves Spanish justice is working without pressure.

Meanwhile, Barcenas testified on Monday for nearly five hours. Local media reported he delivered several papers and a pen drive to the judge, while stating he had given illegal payments to Rajoy and the General Secretary of the PP Maria Dolores de Cospedal in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

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