Posted on July 18, 2013 by

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy

Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:39PM GMT

Thousands of people in Spain have taken to the streets in the capital Madrid to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

On Thursday, protesters staged anti-government rallies after Rajoy dismissed calls by opposition lawmakers to answer questions on a corruption scandal in parliament.

On Sunday, head of the opposition Socialist party Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba called on Rajoy to resign after a media report accused him of receiving illicit cash payments when he was a minister in the late 1990s.

On June 9, Spain’s daily El Mundo published excerpts from the ledger entries of a secret slush fund run by the governing People’s Party (PP), implicating Rajoy and other senior PP members in the corruption scandal.

The document — purportedly handwritten by former PP treasurer and senator Luis Barcenas — showed the names of the Spanish prime minister and PP members as well as the amounts each had allegedly received.

According to the report, the illegal payments to Rojoy included an amount of 42,000 euros (USD 53,705) in 1997, and two payments of 12,600 euros (USD 16,111) in 1998.

The document was sent to the country’s High Court on Monday, the Spanish daily said.

Barcenas, who confirmed the authenticity of the ledgers last month, is currently being held in custody in connection with several corruption charges.

In January, similar claims by the El Pais , another Spanish newspaper, ignited protest rallies against the Spanish prime minister and drew calls from the opposition Socialist Party for Rajoy’s resignation.

However, Rajoy and the PP have repeatedly denied the allegations.