Bribe scandal may hit Spanish right's election hopes

19th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Popular Party who previously had a three point lead over the Socialists is now only ahead by 2.3 points, shows a recent poll.

Madrid – Nearly three quarters of Spaniards believe a corruption scandal will harm the conservative Popular Party's chances of winning the next election, a poll published Sunday showed.

The poll in the El Pais newspaper found 73 percent of voters believe allegations that regional PP lawmakers accepted bribes to award lucrative construction contracts will damage their 2012 general election prospects.

The centre-left daily's survey also found 72 percent of the PP's own voters shared the same view the scandal could hamper the party's bid to beat Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist party in three years time.

The results show "the deterioration of confidence in (PP leader Mariano) Rajoy and the erosion of its electoral chances (in 2012)," the newspaper said.

The poll carried out on 15 October found that 41.3 percent of Spaniards would vote for the Popular Party in an election compared to 39 percent for the Socialists in 2012. The PP previously had a three point lead.

Rajoy on Thursday announced a code of conduct for members in an attempt to turn the page on the scandal.

He also voiced his "confidence" in the head of the Valencia regional government, Francisco Camps, a senior PP member who had been the subject of a judicial probe over the allegations.

On Wednesday, Rajoy ordered the dismissal of Camps' deputy, Ricardo Costa, over the allegations that businessmen paid bribes to regional PP lawmakers to guarantee lucrative construction contracts.

A number of PP members in the Valencia and Madrid regions have been under investigation since February over the alleged bribes.

Spanish media recently published transcripts of wiretaps and interviews that painted a murky picture of backhanders, bribes and illicit gifts allegedly linked to a group of companies run by Francisco Correa, a PP event organiser.

Correa allegedly held a number of secret accounts under the name "Don Vito", the name of the lead character played by Marlon Brando in The Godfather films.

In August, a court in Valencia dropped a corruption probe against Camps. Prosecutors have since appealed the decision.

AFP / Expatica

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