1 August 2013.Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is expected to appear in the parliament to answer questions over an alleged corruption scandal. His party with a strong majority wanted to block his appearance but pressure from the opposition mounted to put forward a symbolic no confidence motion. The scandal is exposed at a sensitive time when some tentative signs of economic recovery appeared to restore public image damaged by tough spending cuts and months of social unrest in the midst of prolonged recession.

Luis Barcenas, his party’s former treasurer was arrested in June and was charged with bribery, money laundering, tax fraud and other crimes. He said that he paid €90,000 to Mr Rajoy and party Secretary General Maria Dolores Cospedal in 2009 and 2010.

Rajoy has denied any wrongdoings on his part and claimed that he has not received any illegal payments from his Popular Party.

His appearance would focus not only on the Barcenas affair but on Spain’s economic outlook, which has improved recently.

According to conservative newspaper El Mundo, Barcenas paid a total of 343,700 euros to Rajoy over two decades.

The scandal broke out when a newspaper published pages of a ledger which showed irregular payments to top party members including Rajoy. People were annoyed because the news broke out at a time when they were facing severe spending cuts due to deep recession.