Rajoy launches electoral bid with major tax pledge

19th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

19 November 2007, Madrid - Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy on Sunday promised to carry out the "most important tax reform" since Spain's return to democracy three decades ago if elected prime minister in the general election in March.

19 November 2007

Madrid - Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy on Sunday promised to carry out the "most important tax reform" since Spain's return to democracy three decades ago if elected prime minister in the general election in March.

Speaking at the end of a three-day party conference in Madrid, Rajoy promised to change the tax system so that anyone earning less than €16,000 a year would no longer have to pay any income tax. He also pledged new tax breaks for working mothers and undertook a commitment to raise pensions.

"Seven million people would no longer be obliged to pay income tax... not a single euro," Rajoy declared before 10,000 party members. The promise of a tax reform aimed at helping low-income families was the highpoint of the conference, which sought to lay down the guiding principles of the PP's policy ahead of the March poll.

After four years of what he described as "delirious and foolish" Socialist rule under Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Rajoy said Spain needs someone in power who takes "this country seriously."

He argued that with the approval of new autonomy statutes in regions such as Catalonia and Andalusia, Spain had gone through a devolution process at a pace "unprecedented" anywhere in the world. "We must end this auction... this dismantling of the state," the conservative leader declared. He said that if elected he will reform the Constitution in order to protect central state powers.

Rajoy's promises were met with incredulity and criticism by Socialists. "He has spent a month telling half of Spain that he will lower their taxes. He should really pick up a calculator and a better sense of responsibility because his figures don't add up," Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero, Socialist spokeswoman for economic policy, said.

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ ANDREW EATWELL 2007]

Subject: Spanish news


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