Spying scandal rocks Spanish opposition

January 22nd, 2009 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Jan 22 (DPA) An alleged spying scandal Thursday rocked Spain’s main opposition conservative People’s Party (PP) against a backdrop of underlying power struggles.The Madrid regional government used former police officers to spy on the movements and meetings of Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon’s deputy and on a regional senior official close to PP leader Mariano Rajoy, the daily El Pais reported.

The spying would have occurred in 2008 during a power struggle between Madrid regional Prime Minister Esperanza Aguirre and Ruiz-Gallardon, who are the main candidates to succeed Rajoy.

The daily El Mundo said Aguirre’s deputy had also been spied on, and linked the affair with a struggle between Aguirre and Ruiz-Gallardon to control the Caja Madrid bank.

The newspaper El Economista included Caja Madrid president Miguel Blesa among the victims of the alleged spy network.

Rajoy has said he believes Aguirre’s statement that she was not aware of possible spying.

PP spokesman Esteban Gonzalez Pons accused Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Socialist government of involvement, and called on prosecutors to intervene.

The affair was seen as dealing a new blow to the PP, where Rajoy’s leadership came under criticism after he suffered his second election defeat to Zapatero in March 2008.

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