August 1 - Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy concedes that mistakes were made in handling a corruption scandal in his party as he testifies about his own involvement in parliament, but as protesters accuse the country's politicians of being thieves, or chorizos, Joel Flynn looks at how the country's very tentative economic recovery is being threatened ever more.
Spain is famed for sun, sangria and sausage. And corruption. At least that's what prime minister Mariano Rajoy has warned. He and his party are accused of pocketing millions of illegal payments from businesses. . The scandal has been highlighted by protestors waving chorizo sausage. SOUNDBITE: Brazilian tourist, Victoria Steinburch, saying (English): "Chorizo is also a word for thieves in Spanish so somebody that steals is a chorizo." A former treasurer of the ruling People's party, Luis Barcenas, is in jail on bribery and tax evasion charges. Rajoy has apologised to parliament for the scandal, but denies he's done anything wrong. SOUNDBITE: Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, saying (Spanish): "Concerning myself, I can assure you I have always declared everything I have earned. My tax returns for the last 10 years are there for all to see." The scandal couldn't come at a worse time for the country. It's struggling to heave itself out of a crippling recession. One in four Spaniards don't have jobs, and the government is battling a massive budget gap. With concerns over Rajoy's credibility, political paralysis could make things even more difficult. Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba is the opposition leader. SOUNDBITE: Opposition Socialist Party Leader, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, saying (Spanish): "Your problem, Mr Rajoy, is not in this house, it's outside -- it's your credibility, Mr Rajoy, that is in doubt." Investors seem to have shrugged off worries however. Spain sold more bonds than expected at falling yields at an auction on Thursday. But fresh jobs and manufacturing data showed the economy shrinking. Retail sales have also fallen for the thirty-sixth month in a row, although Chorizo is selling well