CORRUPTION allegations ignited a tense debate on Monday December 14, as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy clashed against Socialist rival Pedro Sanchez in a televised encounter billed nationally as ‘face to face’.
A terse and combative affair was primarily a showcase for the leaders of Spain’s two dominant parties to illustrate their credentials over zeitgeist insurgents Podemos and Cuidadamos from the left and centre respectively.
Mr Sanchez then sought to attack Popular Party (PP) leader Rajoy over high-level corruption allegations that are now under investigation, stating “If you continue to be prime minister, the cost for our democracy … will be enormous, because the prime minister, Mr. Rajoy, has to be a decent person and you are not,”
A red-faced Rajoy responded with vitriol “You are young. You are going to lose these elections,” “You can recover from an election loss, but you can’t recover from the contemptible, mean and despicable statement you have made here today.”
And so concluded the final debate, ahead of the elections on December 20, widely perceived to dramatically shake-up the Spanish political system whatever the result. Rajoy has secured an unexpected edge in the final polling figures which hint at a minority government led by the PP, although observers consider an alliance with Cuidadamos to be a distinct possibility.