Ex-Socialist minister asks to resign party membership over abuse claim

MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar anticipates PSOE's decision to temporarily suspend him

Juan Fernando López Aguilar in 2012.
Juan Fernando López Aguilar in 2012.

Spanish Socialist MEP and former justice minister Juan Fernando López Aguilar has asked to be temporarily suspended from the party over a domestic abuse claim filed against him by his ex-wife.

The move anticipates a likely decision by the Socialist Party (PSOE) to revoke his membership while the affair is settled. That decision had been widely expected on Tuesday, said sources familiar with the situation.

The politician said he was “the victim of a phony complaint” that can only be understood as part of “painful” divorce proceedings

López Aguilar will have to give evidence at the Supreme Court over a claim of domestic violence filed by his former wife.

The case must be seen by the high court because the ex-minister has aforado status, meaning he enjoys legal immunity from the lower courts.

The politician has described himself as “the victim of yet another phony complaint” that can only be understood as part of “painful” divorce proceedings. The son of his former partner had filed a complaint against him in January, then withdrew it.

“It has been very painful to see that people you once loved and worked for and did things for are now threatening to make you suffer if you go through with the marriage breakup,” he said in a release. “I am now suffering an attack against my honor, my credibility and my political work of many years.”

More information
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A decade of male-on-female violence leaves a tragic total of 658 deaths

López Aguilar was justice minister when the Socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero passed a sweeping domestic violence law in 2004.

The Socialists’ secretary for equality issues, Carmen Montón, noted on radio station SER that a definitive expulsion from the party would only be contemplated when a member was convicted of a crime; in the event of an acquittal, he or she would be reinstated.

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