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Corruption continues via pardons and undone reform

In any democracy, it is rare that citizens elect an official in hopes that he will pardon them for future crimes. But this is what Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has done this week.

Out of one side of his mouth, Rajoy denounced the myriad corruption cases in Spain and vowed to take official measures against them. Yet out of the other side, he has gone against this promise on countless occasions. The doublespeak is flagrant.

The current legislature, which is about to close, will be studied in the future as an example of inconsistent political and financial policy as the result of deep economic crisis, all of which sparked social outcry. Gürtel, Bárcenas, Noos, Eres de Andalucía and Pujol will be familiar names in the media and private conversation for a while.

Yet, not one of the measures that the government has unveiled to solve these problems has come to fruition. At best, the measures such as the Penal Code reform and a law overseeing economic activity have appeared before Congress. At worst, other measures never make it to the law stage.

With more than 1,700 open corruption cases, nearly 600 convictions and 40 billion euros in expenses for the Spanish economy, we need other solutions. Rajoy has to finish the work that he started. Anything else would be embracing a crude, elitist populism.