THE Spanish government is expected to pass a new transparency law today finally allowing citizens to find out how public money is spent.
The law, which is the first of its kind in Spain, covers public contracts, the right to information and good governance.
Prime Minister Rajoy said: “With this law, all citizens will be able to find out who is spending money in all the agencies.”
If not complied with, individuals will be subject to sanctions – including criminal charges, removal from office and loss of pension rights.
Spain currently has one of the least open governments in the developed world, and is one of only four countries inEuropenot to have a Freedom of Information based law in place.
Advocates of the new model hope it will help reduce government corruption after several high profile scandals in Spain.
Chief Justice Carlos Divar resigned in June after being accused of spending €30,000 of public funds on luxurious holidays.
While Inaki Urdangarin, the son-in-law of King Juan Carlos, came under scrutiny after it was alleged he had been making money from a non-profit organisation.
“Spain’s economic crisis has generated a healthy hypersensitivity toward the use of public funds and the privileges of the authorities,” said Javier Cremades, chairman of the law firm Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo.
The proposal received over 3,700 suggestions from the public, some of which have been included in the final draft.
But controversially the law will not apply to the Royal family, with the cabinet’s justification being they are not part of the government.