Spain’s Sanchez says he will ‘reflect’ on whether to remain prime minister, as court probes wife

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced Wednesday that he was cancelling his public duties until next week to “reflect” on whether to continue leading the government, just hours after a Spanish court said it had opened a probe against his wife.

In the surprise move, Sanchez said on X that he would announce his decision on whether to remain as prime minister next Monday, in an appearance before the news media.

Sanchez, a socialist, said on X that the court had opened the probe against his wife, Begoña Gomez, “at the request of a far-right organization called Manos Limpias (Clean Hands) to investigate the alleged crimes of influence peddling and corruption in her business dealings.”

Sanchez said his wife would defend herself and cooperate with the judicial system. Sanchez said the complaint by Clean Hands appeared to be based on “alleged information” published by what he termed some “right and far-right” digital media.

Sanchez said “I need to stop and reflect” about “if I should continue leading the government” or step down.

Earlier Wednesday, the Madrid regional Superior Court of Justice press office issued a two-line statement saying that a judge had begun a probe on April 16 against Begoña Gomez “for alleged influence peddling and business corruption” after receiving a complaint from the Clean Hands organization, and that the probe is under seal.

Sanchez, head of Spain’s Socialist Party, leads a coalition government with a narrow parliamentary majority.

Javier Maroto, a leader of Spain’s main opposition conservative Popular Party, said on X later Wednesday that “of course” Sanchez wants to remain as prime minister and added that his latest move was a “pre-campaign event.”

Spain’s northern Basque region held regional elections last Sunday in which the Socialist Party won more seats than the conservatives and also more than the far-right Vox party.

And a poll predicts the Socialist Party will also fare better than conservatives and the far right in regional elections in Catalonia next month around Barcelona.

But various nationalist parties in both of those regions also have large followings among voters.

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