Never before had a future premier of Andalusia made the fight against corruption a top priority in an investiture debate. Then again, never had corruption copped the public agenda like now. For the Socialists, corruption comes in the form of the ERE scandal, involving millions of euros in regional subsidies for struggling companies that were often allotted to ineligible candidates. For the Popular Party (PP), corruption takes the shape of the Gürtel and Bárcenas cases, which also affect many elected officials.
Susana Díaz, who if all goes to plan will be elected Andalusian premier on Thursday, said her administration would focus on fighting corruption "on all fronts," "with all her strength" and "tirelessly."
Díaz, 39, who will be the first woman to hold that post, added that when she meets with Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy of the PP she will propose "a pact for political regeneration" in the entire country, not just Andalusia.
"I am ashamed of corruption and I reject both connivance with it and lack of enthusiasm in fighting it," she said at the onset of her one-hour speech in the Andalusian assembly.
Díaz is seeking to distance herself from the administration of the outgoing José Antonio Griñán, who is leaving halfway through his second term to save the Socialist government the "erosion" caused by the ERE case. Around 20 government officials are being investigated, and some analysts believe that Griñán, who was economy commissioner when the subsidies were handed out, may be next in line for a court investigation.
Some of the measures suggested by Díaz - who was elected as the Socialist replacement for Griñán after being the sole candidate to garner the necessary support - include obliging the spouses of all elected officials in Andalusia to make their tax filings public. She admitted, however, that there is no legal precedent for this and that the initiative would depend on the willingness of politicians and their partners. This is in fact not the first time that the idea has been bandied about, but so far it has never been implemented by either the Socialists or the conservatives.