The health commissioner in Extremadura stepped down from his post on Wednesday after a regional newspaper discovered that he was running an ophthalmology practice across the border in the small Portuguese town of Elvas.
Franciso Javier Fernández Perianes, who had been health commissioner since February 3, said his decision to resign was "irreversible." The Socialists in Extremadura had been calling for his removal from the post since news broke about his practice.
The Extremadura daily Hoy reported that holding public office in Spain and operating an ophthalmology practice in Portugal was in violation of the Regional Law of Incompatibilities. The resignation also came just hours after the regional government in Extremadura decided to close all public doctors' health offices in the afternoon in an effort to save more than two million euros annually.
While admitting that "I put my foot in it," Fernández Perianes told another newspaper that he didn't know that he was breaking the law by having a practice in Portugal.