Madrid regional president Cristina Cifuentes steps down over stealing face cream

In this photo taken on April 8, 2018, Madrid's regional government president Cristina Cifuentes attends the national convention of ruling People's Party in Sevilla, Spain. (Photo by AFP)
The president of Madrid’s regional government, accused of faking a master’s degree, has stepped down after video footage caught her stealing two tubes of anti-aging creams in 2011.
Cristina Cifuentes, one of the most high-profile figures in the conservative People’s Party (PP) led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, was already under pressure to resign over claims she had falsified her master’s degree.
Cifuentes, 53, finally resigned after a closed-circuit TV video published by newspaper OK Diario on Wednesday showed her emptying her handbag for a security guard in a supermarket after being accused of shoplifting.
Speaking at a press conference, she condemned the publication of the video, saying the footage showed nothing more than an “involuntary mistake” she had made in 2011.
Cifuentes said she had become the subject of a very public and very personal “lynching” over recent days and weeks.
“This has been a campaign of harassment and demolition and one which has, for a while now, stopped being political and become personal. Some clear red lines have been crossed,” she added.
The scandal over Cifuentes’ university degree began on March 21, when it emerged that two signatures on her master’s awarded to her by King Juan Carlos University in Madrid were forged. She first threatened to sue the site that had reported the news but she later gave up the qualification.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (L) greets President of Madrid's regional government Cristina Cifuentes as they arrive at the Alcala de Henares University, near Madrid, on April 23, 2018 to attend the 2017 Miguel de Cervantes Literature Prize award ceremony. (Photo by AFP)
Cifuentes’ resignation is a setback for the PP and a blow to Rajoy, whose party has faced a succession of corruption scandals, as she was seen by many as a potential future leader of the party and was expected to run in next year’s elections.
She headed the region of Madrid since 2015.
Speaking after the resignation, Rajoy said the former Madrid regional government did the right thing, adding, “Cristina Cifuentes has done what she had to do. I think the situation made her resignation obligatory.”
Her resignation averted a vote of no confidence called by opposition parties in the regional assembly in early May.

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