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Spanish security chief expelled after spying scandal

Since it was revealed in April that a long line of Catalan separatist leaders had been kidnapped with the help of two different Israeli spyware, the Catalan separatist party ERC has demanded a “head on a platter”. ERC is the wave leader’s party in the Spanish Congress and can paralyze all legislation. Paz Esteban, who claims that the wiretapping was done after court approval, has defended CNI’s actions with great force, and has received support from Defense Minister Margarita Robles, a fellow Prime Minister in the PSOE.

Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles.

Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles.

Photo: Borja Puig de la Bellacasa / AFP

Paz Esteban, one of the most efficient and powerful people in the Spanish administration, was sacrificed by Sánchez to keep the majority of votes in Congress. For the Catalan Equity and Reconciliation Commission, her county is a major victory, and some voices are now being raised within the party to demand the resignation of Defense Minister Robles as well, as she is also seen as having been aware of the wiretaps.

That day, in an effort to quell criticism of the government over the wiretappings, Secretary General Sanchez revealed that controversial Israeli programs had also intercepted the prime minister, defense minister and interior minister. However, by all accounts, members of the government were not spied on by the CNI, but by the Moroccan intelligence service, which was deeply penetrated into Spanish public life.

Many of Sanchez’s socialist colleagues consider it a tactical mistake to succumb to the ERC’s ultimatum. Catalan separatism is unpopular among Spanish socialist voters, and there are increasing indications that elections will be held this year. The sacking of the respected Paz Esteban – to please a party that does not even recognize the map of Spain – would be a welcome addition to the new and increasingly popular right-wing leader Alberto Nunez Figo. For the first time in several years, opinion polls indicate a Conservative victory in the next election.

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