So today marked one of the most tumultuous days in the Spanish parliament ever, with accusations of supporting terrorism being levied at Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, general cries of corruption, and a unified demand from the main opposition parties for the Minister of the Interior Fernando Grande-Marlaska to either stand down or be fired.
Really, it’s almost a question of what will explode first, the ruling coalition or Spain itself.
Marlaska is in trouble for having fired the top Guardia Civil officer in Madrid after the copper was discovered to be investigating senior politicians and the pandemic expert Fernando Simon (upon the orders of a magistrate) to see whether they allowed some politically connected marches to go ahead in Madrid just ahead of lockdown, whilst stopping others. It seems Marlaska disliked the idea of a copper investigating PSOE politicians without first asking permission from the PSOE.
The next day, the national nº 2 of the Guardia Civil, Laurentino Ceña, resigned “in disgust” and “to support my fired colleague”. (Alright, he had a week to go until retirement and kept his pension, but it looked bad).
Marlaska then appeared on TV to do two things: he said that the investigation had nothing to do with the firing (but didn’t give a reason for why he fired the copper, other than saying that he didn’t like him) and he bunged the Guardia Civil a massive €265 million bribe to keep quiet – he promised them a pay rise, back-dated to January. This left everybody’s mouths open, as this had not been previous mooted and nobody was expecting it.
Anyway, as I was saying, shortly after appearing in Parliament and facing down calls to resign for firing coppers, Marlaska went and dismissed another top copper, Guardia Civil nº3 Lieutenant-General Fernando Santafé.
Santafé was Ceña’s right hand man and, by tradition, the man to occupy Ceña’s position as DAO officer. But it seems Marlaska didn’t like him. So he told him to bugger off, and instead has proposed divisional general Félix Blázquez González.
It’s a massive promotion for Félix, who is currently in charge of anti-immigration patrols off the coast of Gibraltar. Santafé is being bunged off into some position running the Guardia Civil university, a demotion in all but name.
You have to admire the cool, calm attitude of Marlaska.
Meanwhile, the association state lawyers has accused the investigation magistrate of “politicising” her investigation, in what appears to be a counter-attack by the government against the magistrate.
And Vox has gone and put a penal complaint against the head of the Guardia Civil, and the secretary of state for security, for allowing the dismissals to go ahead. The complaint will, if accepted by the courts, allowed a supreme court magistrate to open an investigation into the dismissals.