MADRID – A petition calling for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to resign over a corruption scandal has garnered more than a million signatures, an online count showed on Thursday.
The petition at change.org was sparked by the publication of documents purportedly showing that Rajoy and other members of his conservative Popular Party had received undeclared payments.
“I demand the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the calling of snap elections, as well as the resignation of any member of the Popular Party named in the documents who holds office publicly or in the party,” the petition read.
On Thursday afternoon the number of signatories logged on the online petition was 1,017,188 and counting — about one signature for every 47 people in Spain.
Rajoy has resisted calls from the opposition Socialist Party and from angry street protestors to resign over the scandal.
It came at a sensitive time for Spain as Rajoy s government imposes spending cuts and tax rises on Spaniards suffering in a recession.
The allegations are based on account ledgers purportedly written by the party s former treasurer Luis Barcenas and published in leading centre-left newspaper El Pais a week ago.
Rajoy, Barcenas and the party have denied the alleged secret payments and said the ledgers are false.
Barcenas on Wednesday went before an anti-corruption prosecutor investigating the affair. In that hearing Barcenas repeated his denial that the party kept secret accounts, Spanish media said.