Tag Archives: Francisco Camps

Freedom for Francisco Camps! Death to Garzón!

Francisco Camps, former PP president of the Valencian autonomous community was today acquitted of corruption after a witch-hunt in Valencia's courts that has lasted nearly three years. The put-upon ex local party leader was ruled not guilty in a near-unanimous verdict of 5-4 by a jury this evening, after 15 hours deliberation. Today's events bring to an end what has been a living nightmare for Camps, whose innocence we never doubted. Last year, he nearly pleaded guilty to the corruption charges just to end this farce of a kangaroo court; but on second thoughts (and after his two friends pleaded guilty that morning), he changed his mind and valiantly fought on. For justice, for liberty, for free gifts that definitely didn't affect his decision making skills.

The devil behind this horror story of a near travesty of justice is none other than Baltasar Garzón, the crusading Marxist-Leninist investigative judge, famed for his collection of anti-PP tattoos. Camps will no doubt find some solace in the fact that Garzón remains on trial himself, for having the temerity to investigate the deaths of a paltry 114,000 people during Spain's "long transition" (1939-1978). It's a shame that Mañuel Fraga didn't live to see the verdict delivered.

"Quin país de merda, tú!" – a traditional saying from Cerdanyola which roughly translates as "Freedom for Francisco Camps! Death to Garzón!".

The PP's persecution complex

It's the biggest political scandal in Spain for years. Numerous activists, officials, elected representatives and friends of the Partido Popular appear to be linked to a corruption case known as Gürtel. Centred on the PP in the Comunitat Valenciana, the case involves TV station managers, tailors, mayors and even the Valencian president, Francisco Camps. The accused are alleged to have taken and/or paid bribes in order to obtain public contracts for friendly companies. The most famous accusation is that Camps received €5,000 worth of suits as a gift, paid for by the company Orange Market, which ended up receiving various works contracts from the Valencian government. For background and also a lot more detail on the case, see South of Watford where Graeme has written plenty of posts about it.

Today's Público carries the story that PP leader Mariano Rajoy yesterday claimed that "Since 2004, no PP militante [activist/party member] has been convicted… and there are several, later let off by the government, from the PSOE who were charged". He was being questioned about the allegations that just won't go away. What Público finds unusual about Rajoy's rigorous defence of his party's integrity is his less than rigorous memory of the last five years. The newspaper points out that he's forgetting a minimum of 41 names – 41 PP activists who have been convicted of corruption or connected crimes. Now, I'm not very good with names either, so I understand his difficulty. I guess he'll thank Público later for jogging his memory.

Denial has been a mainstay of the PP's defence over the last few months. There's nothing unusual about that. Few political parties, faced with a devastating series of accusations, would react differently. Though it saddens me, this seems to have become one of the primary functions of a political party (though I shouldn't think it's a recent a development as all that). The second defence the PP has employed – and it's one that seems to be growing in popularity within the party – is that of political persecution. The PP has been quietly hinting from the rooftops that the Socialist government might be pursuing these corruption allegations for purely political reasons.

And it was in this spirit that PP publicity officer Esteban González Pons yesterday claimed that PP officials – even senior 'big beasts' like Rajoy and Aguirre – feel that they're "being spied on", that they have to "speak in codes on the phone" and that they "are certain" that there is a "black hand" which is politically influencing the courts and the police. It's an old trick, of course: if you can't win court cases fairly (and let's face it, unless one of the judges is a mate, they don't seem to be doing too well), you claim that the court is illegitimate. The PP are going a little further and seem to be saying that the entire justice system in Spain is illegitimate: González added this heart-rending appeal: "We've lived through a year during which the PP has been treated in a way that no other party has been treated since the Transition*. The government has persecuted us and has used the police and the courts to discredit our officials".

I guess that means that pretty much anything any PP militante does is OK. Because in a country where the courts are controlled politically, there can be no justice, and no crime, right?

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*There was no 'Dictatorship' only 40 blank years and then a 'Transition'. Please amend your history books in accordance with this new decree.

PP: Acebes & Zaplana out, Camps & Aguirre in

The PP has had a change of leadership. As predicted, this has involved the sidelining of Angel Acebes and Eduardo Zaplana. The new members of what Rajoy is calling his 'own team' are to be la niña de Rajoy, Francisco Camps (president of the Comunitat Valenciana) and Esperanza Aguirre (president of the Comunidad de Madrid). Both Camps and Aguirre lead PP strongholds which gained seats in the recent election,

This isn't a shift towards the centre, mind. Aguirre and Camps are both plenty right-wing when they want to be. Check out Graeme's obssesive enlightening series of posts about Aguirre if you want a better idea of how she ticks.

Meanwhile, the final final final (pero que finales, eh?) results are in and CiU lost a seat to the PP. This is apparently due to the postal vote taking ages to arrive (what?! in Spain?! surely not!). This leaves CiU on 10 seats in the parliament. They're still talking about a pact between CiU and the PSOE but I somehow doubt it. That would mean alliance in Madrid but opposition in Barcelona, which would be a pretty unsatisfactory situation for everyone, parlicularly the electorate. By the way, check out this post (in Spanish) about the peculiarities of the Spanish electoral system and how it encourages a sort of bi-partisan situation. This image in particular is interesting, as it shows how many seats the IU might have if a different system were adopted. Give you a clue: it's seven times as many as they have now.