Pedro Sanchez remains the Prime Minister of Spain: Who is his wife Begona Gomes?

His decision comes days after the Spanish leader suddenly announced he was considering resigning after a Madrid court said it had opened an investigation into Sanchez's wife, Begonja Gomes

by Sededin Dedovic
Pedro Sanchez remains the Prime Minister of Spain: Who is his wife Begona Gomes?
© Pablo Cuadra / Getty Images

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced that he will consider resigning by Monday due to an investigation into corruption and abuse of power launched against his wife, Begona Gomes. "I must pause and reflect on how to decide whether to continue as head of government or to renounce this honor," Sánchez wrote on Network X, denying the allegations against his wife, Begona Gomes.

BBC Spanish reports Sánchez's statement: "I am a man deeply in love with my wife, who helplessly lives in the mud that is being thrown at her day after day." He made this unusual statement in Spanish politics to announce that he will need a few days to decide whether to step down from his position or not.

Sánchez remains in the position of prime minister

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced today in an address that he remains in the position of prime minister of Spain. His decision comes days after the Spanish leader unexpectedly announced that he was considering resigning from his position, after a court in Madrid said it had opened an investigation against Sánchez's wife, Begona Gomes, the Guardian recalls.

The investigation followed a complaint from the pressure group Manos Limpias (Clean Hands), which has been known to have ties to the far right in Spain in the past. Spanish media did not know what decision Pedro Sánchez would make until the address.

There were three possible scenarios: Pedro Sánchez could remain and call for a vote of no confidence in an effort to strengthen his support in parliament. If he leaves, the Socialists could try to appoint a successor.

Or his departure could trigger new general elections – the sixth in Spain in nine years – which could be held in July. Spanish El Mundo writes that the court in Madrid opened an investigation against Begona Gomes "for possible criminal offenses of influence peddling and corruption in business".

The procedure initiated by the 41st investigative court of the capital, it is stated, was initiated after a complaint filed by "Manos Limpias" (Clean Hands). "Manos Limpias" is a far-right organization founded in Madrid in 1995 by Spanish lawyer Miguel Bernad Remon, a prominent figure in the Spanish extreme right.

Spanish acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks during the investiture debate at the Spanish Parliament on July 22, 2019 in M© Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

Judge Juan Carlos Peñado agreed – without the usual prior consultations with the Public Prosecutor's Office – to open an investigation and keep it secret, El Mundo writes.

The lawsuit gathered journalistic information linking Gomes to businessman Carlos Barabes, who received contracts worth more than 10 million euros from the Central Administration. This was done with the written support of Begona Gomes, who supported the company in the letter.

Gomes is co-director of master's studies at Complutense University, which promotes Barabes. The Manos limpias (Clean Hands) association limited itself to accusing Begona Gomes of her relationship with the Spanish tourist group Globalia, which owns the airline Air Europa, at a time when the latter was in negotiations with the government to provide assistance after a major drop in air traffic due to the health crisis.

At that time, Begona Gomes led the IE African Center, an institution associated with the IE Business School in Madrid, a position she left in 2022. The IE African Center "signed a sponsorship agreement with Globalia in 2020," and Gomes participated in a "private meeting with its CEO, Javier Intaglko, while Globalia was negotiating its multimillion-dollar rescue plan with the government." The plan enabled the allocation of 475 million euros to Air Europa in November 2020.

Who is Maria Begona Gomes?

Maria Begona Gomes Fernandez is originally from Bilbao, although she spent most of her childhood in Valderas, a town south of León, where her family moved when she was young. She graduated in marketing in Madrid and completed her master's studies in Business Administration.

As early as 1999, she began working as a consultant for organizations such as Amnesty International, Intermon Oxfam, Deutsche Bank, Old El Paso, Anesvad. She was elected director of the African Center in 2018. She recently left this position to give another boost to her career – as co-director of a new master's program at Complutense University in Madrid.

Sometimes Spanish media compare her to Michelle Obama. She is a regular guest at fashion shows and usually wears creations by Marcos Luenga, Diego Estrada, Moisés Nieto, or Teresa Helbig. Begona Gomes is essentially the backbone of Sanchez's political career, BBC Spanish writes.

In his book "Manual de Resistencia," published in 2019, Sanchez made it clear that "Begona comes first" and that she was the one who insisted that he should run to lead his party PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party). "She was the one supporting the family," said Sanchez.