Read in Catalan

José Luis Ábalos has decided to resign as president of the interior ministry committee in Spain's Congress of Deputies. But, as Socialist (PSOE) party sources have confirmed to, he has decided to keep his MP's seat in the lower house for now, which is precisely what the party is asking him to give up. PSOE leadership gave the ex-minister 24 hours this Monday morning to leave his role as a parliamentary deputy, as he has "political responsibility" in the Koldo case, an alleged corruption plot centred on the purchase and sale of masks during the Covid pandemic, with his former close advisor Koldo García as protagonist.

The resistance to step aside of Ábalos, who until 2021 was Spanish transport minister and PSOE number three, increases the pressure on his party. The greatest fear is that the former key ally of Pedro Sánchez might revolt against the hierarchy, hang on to his seat and remain in Congress - with its razor-thin government majority - as an independent. Socialist sources admit that the party's leadership is already preparing for a scenario in which the former minister refuses to walk. As Esther Peña, PSOE spokesperson, asserted this Monday, the party is aware that José Luis Ábalos himself "is not under investigation" for the Koldo case and that "his name does not appear" in the summary. However, they believe that the ex-minister does have "political responsibility" for the actions of his ex-advisor.

Peña did not respond in the press conference this Monday as to what might happen if Ábalos digs in. The spokesperson, however, was confident that "he will act coherently for the greater good, which is the PSOE". According to the Socialists, Ábalos is "an example of respect and history in this party". "Those who do what they have to do have no blame," said the party spokesperson in a press conference.


VIDEO | PSOE spokesperson Esther Peña: "We know that the name of José Luís Ábalos does not figure in the investigation, but we believe that a political responsibility does exist"

The positions of Ábalos and Sánchez

This Saturday, José Luis Ábalos gave an interview to the newspaper El País in which he did not close the door to resigning, but at the same time made it clear that he would never do so at the behest of the opposition People's Party (PP), but rather, responding to the PSOE. He argued, in fact, that he is not anchored to his seat in the Congress of Deputies, but that "you have to think" whether abandoning it "will achieve something or just calm down the campaigning from the right wing, which will not end with me". But on the same day, Pedro Sánchez reiterated his commitment against corruption, stating that he must be "relentless" in his fight, "no matter where it comes from and whoever falls".

🟡 Spanish minister Ábalos after 2020 Venezuela controversy: "No one's sacking me"

"In contrast with those who obstructed the action of justice to hinder investigations that affected them - as happened during the PP administration - today there is absolute collaboration with justice to get to the bottom of the matter," indicated the Spanish prime minister at the Calle Ferraz headquarters in Madrid during the opening of the Socialist International.