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Spain’s leader resists calls to quit

Critics link a political funding scam to Mariano Rajoy.

Critics link a political funding scam to Mariano Rajoy.

MADRID — Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Monday he had no plans to bow to opposition parties’ demands that he resign after the publication of text messages in which he tells a former ruling party treasurer under a corruption investigation to ‘‘stay calm.’’

‘‘I am going to see out the mandate the Spanish electorate gave me,’’ he told reporters at a press conference with visiting Polish counterpart Donald Tusk. ‘‘This is a stable government that is going to fulfill its obligations.’’

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Rajoy, who said neither he nor other party figures received illegal payments, did not deny exchanging text messages with Luis Barcenas, the now-jailed former Popular Party treasurer.

He said the messages demonstrated that the state ‘‘was not bowing to blackmail. This is a serious democracy.’’

A former senator, Barcenas was a top member of the party’s treasury for some 20 years until he resigned in 2009 on being named a suspect in a probe of illegal funding of the party.

The text messages, published by El Mundo on Sunday, date from before Barcenas was sent to jail.

In them, Rajoy tells the former treasurer to ‘‘stay calm’’ but advises him that the situation is difficult.

‘‘Luis, nothing is easy. But we are doing what we can,’’ one message says. ‘‘Cheer up.’’

Barcenas was jailed last month while he was awaiting possible trial on tax fraud and money-laundering charges after the National Court found he had held some $61 million in secret Swiss bank accounts.

Speculation has been rampant since then that he might try to drag the party and the government into the scandal.

Both the Swiss bank account and the slush fund investigations have rocked the party and the country.

They come while Spaniards are coping with harsh austerity measures, increased taxes, and tough economic reforms aimed at reducing debt and 27 percent unemployment.

During his appearance before a judge held behind closed doors, Barcenas gave details of making cash payments directly to Rajoy and Maria Delores de Cospedal, party secretary general, over a three-year period while Rajoy was Spain’s opposition leader, the newspaper El Pais reported.

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