Spain: New PM Rajoy Says Debt And Unemployment To Be His Enemies


Spanish Prime Minister-elect Mariano Rajoy says his only enemies will be unemployment, excessive debt, and economic stagnation.

With all but a few votes counted, Mr. Rajoy and his conservative Popular Party won Sunday’s parliamentary election by a landslide over the ruling Socialists.

The Popular Party will control 187 seats, a 33-seat gain. The Socialists took 110 seats — a 59-seat drop.

Mr. Rajoy cautioned Spaniards not to expect any miracles when his new government takes on the country’s disastrous economy, including 22 percent unemployment and a looming recession. He has given few details on what his economic plans might be.

Mr. Rajoy ran against Socialist candidate Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero decided not to seek a third term because of low approval ratings.

Voters blame the Socialists for failing to act swiftly to prevent the slide in the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy. They are also angry over job and salary cuts.

Along with Italy, Spain is considered too big a country to bail out the way the European Union and the International Monetary Fund helped Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

Mr. Zapatero’s government liberalized the traditionally Roman Catholic country by introducing reforms such as gay marriage. But he is seen as having been slow to react to Spain’s financial crisis and the bursting housing bubble.


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