Spain: Scandal-tainted ‘mayoress of Spain’ dies under graft cloud

Author(s): Sonya Dowsett | Date: November 23, 2016 | Language: English
Source: | URL: | Type: Text

Rita Barbera, a scandal-tainted stalwart of Spain’s ruling People’s Party (PP) and mayor of the Mediterranean city of Valencia for 24 years, died of a heart attack in Madrid on Wednesday in a hotel near parliament.
An unmistakable figure in Spanish politics since the 1980s with her trademark string of pearls, red suits and heavy makeup, Barbera, 68, was for many a symbol of the corruption ingrained into the highest levels of the country’s establishment.
On Monday, she appeared before the Supreme Court under investigation for money laundering during her time as mayor of Valencia. She said in court her center-right PP in Valencia had never taken any illegal financing and denied any wrongdoing.
Known as “the Boss” and “the mayoress of Spain” by supporters, Barbera was an integral part of Valencian life, appearing on the balcony of the town hall every March flanked by young girls in local dress for the regional festival of Las Fallas marked by parades and fireworks.

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