Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero says he will not seek a third term in office in the country’s general elections in 2012.
Mr. Zapatero told members of his Socialist party at a meeting in Madrid Saturday to open the party’s primary process to elect his successor. The current front-runner for the leadership post is Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba.
The Socialist party has been slumping in opinion polls, causing speculation that Mr. Zapatero might step down sooner or later.
The prime minister also has been under pressure to get Spain’s economy back on track and reduce the nation’s 20.5 percent unemployment rate.