Despite corruption seemingly being rampant and both the traditional main parties pledging to clean up the system, both Prime Minister Rajoy (PP) and Spain’s former, and longest serving, Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez have stated that politicians implicated in corruption cases should not be automatically excluded from the elections.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajpy is reported as stating that the decision to exclude politicians targeted in criminal investigations from running in elections should be made on a case by case basis, as to do otherwise would be putting election hopefuls on trial before their cases have been heard in court.
Not all those implicated in corruption cases, of which there are many still making their way through the courts in Spain, end up being convicted. Some cases, of course, take many, many years to reach any sort of conclusion, and even then can be appealed.
On the other hand, some convicted politicians do occasionally return to office after serving their sentence.
The maxim of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ obviously has to be weighed against the need for elected politicians to be beyond reproach.
However, surely there must be sufficient hopefuls without pending corruption cases against them to make the argument moot.