President of Murcia Regional Government Quits Amid Corruption Links
Murcia’s under-fire regional government president, Pedro Antonio Sánchez, quit on Tuesday after realising that he had no chance of winning a censure vote in parliament this week.
Antonio Sánchez of the Partido Popular, who is facing two separate corruption probes, lost the support of the centrist-Ciudadanos party a few weeks ago over his corruption links, after they run the regional government in coalition with the PP.
On Monday, National Court judge Eloy Velasco said that there were 44 solid reasons why the now-ex Murcia president should be placed under investigation over allegations in the so-called Operation Punica, which is a wide-ranging nationwide probe over corruption between politicians and businesses. The judge had been looking at Antonio Sánchez’s dealings with businessman Alejandro de Pedro, when he was Murcia’s education secretary in 2014.
“I’m resigning for the sake of Murcia,” said Antonio Sánchez on Tuesday. The move scraps the censure motion and prevents the PSOE socialists nominating an alternative leader, at least for the time being. Since Ciudadanos split with the PP because of the corruption issue involving Antonio Sánchez, it is expected that they are likely to side with a new PP nomination for the top job.
The ex-President remains as the PP’s regional leader and also a deputy in the Murcia Assembly, with a pledge to “clear to my name”.