Opposition calls on deputy PM to resign over role in ETA talks

PP calls into question Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba's actions in "Faisán case"

The opposition Popular Party returned with a vengeance to one of its previous lines of attack against the government on Tuesday, by using the issue of ETA terrorism as a means to try and discredit the ruling Socialists.

Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba was in the line of the opposition's fire for his role in the so-called "Faisán case," which allegedly saw members of the Basque terrorist group's extortion team tipped off about an impending raid. The PP wants Rubalcaba to explain his involvement in the case.

PP leader Mariano Rajoy said Tuesday that the deputy prime minister, who has also been the interior minister for the past five years, should "explain the negotiations" with the terrorists. Meanwhile, in Congress, PP spokesperson Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría called on Rubalcaba ? who is widely tipped to run for prime minister in next year's general elections if José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero steps aside ? to resign.

More information
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"Rubalcaba has a problem," Sáenz de Santamaría said Tuesday. "All the pieces of the puzzle are coming together, and the image that is appearing is his face."

Rubalcaba responded by saying that he was not going to enter into a debate about ETA, but he reiterated the fact that while in opposition, the Socialists supported the PP government's actions against the terrorist group "in sickness and in health," despite the fact that ETA made use of a ceasefire during the PP's time in office to rearm.

During the previous legislature, the PP constantly used the subject of terrorism to attack the government, calling into question the Socialists' attempts to negotiate a peace agreement with ETA. However, until this week they had abandoned that strategy, focusing instead on the economy and Prime Minister Zapatero himself.

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