July 15 - Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rules out stepping down after opposition leaders call for him to leave office due to a growing scandal over alleged illegal financing of the ruling People's Party. Ciara Sutton reports.
I will not step down - the message was clear from Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy. He's under pressure from opposition leaders over the growing scandal involving alleged illegal financing of his People's Party. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER MARIANO RAJOY SAYING: "If the opposition want to play at something else for one reason or another it is their unique and exclusive right to do so. What I guarantee Spaniards is that there is a stable government which will fulfil its obligations." The declaration came after Spanish paper El Mundo published text messages of support allegedly sent by Rajoy to the disgraced former People's Party treasurer. Luis Barcenas is accused of running a slush fund, taking donations from construction bosses and distributing them to party leaders in cash - he's in court answering questions related to a ledger published last week in El Mundo. Top politicians are among those said to have benefitted from the fund. But Rajoy and the party have always denied receiving any payments. The case has become a thorn in the side for Rajoy as he tries to turn around a struggling country and convince investors a recovery is under way. He's previously avoided even saying Barcenas' name in public and has dodged appearing before opposition politicians to address the allegations. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER MARIANO RAJOY SAYING: "The text messages which were published yesterday only serve to ratify what has been said before, that the rule of law does not submit to blackmail and that the institutions - have acted, are acting and will continue to act with absolute independence. I repeat, this is a serious democracy," The scandal has angered Spaniards, already suffering from a drawn-out recession and painful spending cuts. Analysts doubt it's enough to topple Rajoy - but support for the People's Party has plummeted.