Spain opposition leader calls for early elections

4th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Mariano Rajoy, leader of Spain's conservative opposition Popular Party, on Monday demanded early elections after Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced he will not seek re-election.

"Spain needs early elections, as soon as possible," Rajoy told private radio Cadena Ser.

Zapatero was re-elected for a second four-year term as head of a Socialist government in March 2008, beating Rajoy who has led the opposition since 2004.

The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for March 2012.

Rajoy's PP tops Spanish opinion polls since Zapatero, whose popularity has plunged as he fights an economic crisis, announced on Saturday he would not seek a third term in 2012.

"Zapatero is the leader of a government that has not done things well, and now leaves us in an unenviable situation," the opposition leader said, referring to "uncertainty" caused by the premier's announcement.

Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba and Defence Minister Carme Chacon are the two top candidates to replace Zapatero as head of the Socialist Party.

© 2011 AFP

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