Opposition leader and PM to meet in US-style TV debate

5th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

TVE will organise a US-style one-on-one debate between Zapatero and Rajoy ahead of the general election on 9 March 2008.

3 December 2007

MADRID - Spanish public broadcaster TVE will organise a US-style one-on-one debate between Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy ahead of the general election on 9 March 2008.

With 100 days to go until the election, TVE made the announcement Friday after receiving approval for the debate from the Central Election Board (JEC), which ruled that excluding other parties from the programme would not violate campaign rules.

"[The JEC] found no legal reasons to impede such a debate, so long as it respects political and social pluralism, and media neutrality," TVE said in a statement.

In order to ensure other groups are heard, TVE said it will invite the leaders of all parties represented in Congress - including the Socialists and the PP - to a second debate within two weeks of the first. Both debates are to be aired in late February or early March.

The tête-à-tête between Zapatero and Rajoy will be the first time in 14 years that an incumbent prime minister and the leader of the main opposition party have faced off in a televised debate.

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL. 2007]

Subject: Spanish news