SPAIN’S Interior Minister is refusing to resign after leaked tapes link him to a smear campaign of separatist politicians in Catalonia.
Jorge Fernandez Diaz is reportedly heard discussing ways to discredit pro-independence parties with Catalonia’s top anti-fraud official.
They are thought to have been recorded two years ago when the region held a referendum on independence from Spain.
Mr Diaz has said:
“I remember having had this meeting, but as for the content of these conversations, I remember the general gist, which was to meet a magistrate that heads up the anti-fraud office of the regional government, whose mission is to fight fraud and corruption.
“To claim that an interior minister is conspiring against members of Catalonia’s government is surreal.”
Leaders of opposition parties have been calling for his resignation since the tapes were leaked on the Publico website.
Hundreds of Catalonians, waving independence flags, st
aged a demonstration in Barcelona yesterday calling for the same.
Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his colleague had provided a ‘clear’ explanation and that there is no need for him to resign.
He said: “As we’re four days before the end of the campaign, someone is trying to take advantage and fish in troubled waters to see what comes out.”
Spain will hold its general election on June 26.