Spain Plans Law That Will Punish Politicians Who Overspend

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said the Cabinet examined the draft of a transparency law that will seek to punish politicians who overspend.

“The law will complement the law on budget stability so that Spanish public administrations meet their pledges, manage public funds responsibly and transparently,” Saenz said at a news conference in Madrid today after the Cabinet meeting.

The new rules will increase the local administrations’ credibility in Spain and abroad, Saenz said. Spain missed its 2011 budget-deficit target by 2.5 percentage points mainly due to regional governments’ overspending.

The law will make senior officials personally responsible and liable for sanctions when budget rules aren’t respected, for example if surpluses aren’t used to reduce debt, Saenz said.

Sanctions include being barred from occupying certain public positions for a period of five to 10 years, Saenz said.

The transparency law will also increase citizens’ access to official documents and records so that information on subsidies, the cost of public events or the wages of officials, public contracts, spending and other government reports is made more widely available, Saenz said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angeline Benoit in Madrid at abenoit4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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