Favourite to be Spanish PM vows to cut 'everywhere'

17th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The candidate who is the favourite to become Spain's next PM, Mariano Rajoy, said on Thursday that cuts will have to be made "everwhere", except to pensions, to meet the country's deficit target.

"I have already said that my first priority is to maintain the purchasing power of pensions. From that point, we must make cuts everywhere," the leader of the conservative Popular Party said in an interview published in left-leaning newspaper El Pais.

"The stability plan presented to Brussels set the goal of a deficit of 4.4 percent (in 2012). My will is to meet this goal. Everyone must know that for my government, the priority will be keeping Spain's commitments to Brussels."

The Popular Party enjoys a wide lead over the ruling Sociliasts ahead of Sunday's general election and is tipped to win an absolute majority in parliament.

After letting its public accounts slide into a deficit equal to 11.1 percent of annual gross domestic product in 2009, Spain met its 2010 target and cut the deficit to 9.3 percent of GDP.

It is now targeting deficits of 6.0 percent of GDP in 2011 and 4.4 percent of GDP in 2012.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's predicts the country will miss those goals. It forecasts a public deficit equal to 6.2 percent of GDP for this year and, more worrying, 5.0 percent in 2012.

© 2011 AFP

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