How do you know when your country has reached the point of no return on corruption? Spain may have made it. The Popular Party made a pledge, drew a “red line,” as the leader of the Valencia Province phrased it, to refuse to allow any indicted official on the ballot. That’s telling them!
Valiant efforts aside, the pledge did not come to pass. The party could not find enough politicians who were not indicted. As a result, 50 indicted officials appeared on the Valencia ballot in Sunday’s election. Valencia is known as a corruption hot-spot, but a total of 467 mayors in Spain are under indictment, mostly for mishandling public money or kickbacks for awarding government contracts.
The party leaders said that although it did indeed end up with indicted candidates on the ballot, they had reviewed the candidates on a case-by-case basis. The screening standard used for being indicted but still allowed on the ballot was one of “shameful behavior.” That standard remains undefined, but a cross-section of indicted politicians on the ballot indicates that kickbacks or mishandling public money are not considered shameful behavior by the party. Also, the party officials explained that slow prosecutions are the real problem, not the conduct of the indicted officials.