Spanish PM takes break from public duties amid inquiry into wife

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has suspended public duties to “stop and reflect” on whether to remain in the job, after a court opened a preliminary inquiry into alleged illegal activities by his wife.
The prime minister issued a four-page letter on Wednesday, saying he was taking a five-day break from public duties and would announce his decision to stay or quit on Monday. Sanchez has been in office since 2018 and last year secured another term for his Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) as leader of a minority coalition government.
“I urgently need to answer a question that I keep asking myself: Is it worth it for me to remain [in office] in spite of the right and far-right’s mudslinging?” the PM wrote, explaining the decision on what he called “unprecedented slander and harassment.”
The announcement came hours after Spanish media reported that a Madrid judge had launched a preliminary investigation into whether the PM’s wife, Begona Gomez, had used her government connections to further her private business interests.

The court did not give details of the accusations against Gomez other than to say it had begun investigating allegations of influence peddling and corruption on April 16.

The complaint against Gomez was raised by anti-corruption campaigners Manos Limpias, or Clean Hands, who have taken part in a number of high-profile court cases in recent years. The platform is reportedly led by a man linked to the far right.
Manos Limpias put out a statement on Thursday acknowledging that its allegations might be false, because they were based on online newspaper reports. “If they are not true, it will be up to those that published them to take responsibility for the falsehood,” the platform claimed.
According to media reports, Madrid’s prosecuting authority on Thursday requested the dismissal of a corruption case against Gomez.
Sanchez said his wife would defend her honor and work with the judiciary to make clear there is no substance to the allegations against her.