Spain's deputy PM leaves intensive care

8th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain's deputy prime minister, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, left intensive care Tuesday as his fever eased after an infection caused by a prostate biopsy, an official said.

Rubalcaba, 59, remained in Madrid's Gregorio Maranon hospital but his temperature had eased and he no longer needed intensive treatment, said a spokesman in the deputy prime minister's office.

"He has left the intensive care unit," he said.

Rubalcaba, who also holds the post of interior minister and is considered one of the most powerful figures of the government, had a prostate biopsy Thursday that found no signs of cancer.

But three days later he was hospitalised with a high temperature, believed to be the result of a urinary infection from the biopsy. When the fever refused to break he was transferred Sunday to intensive care.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Rubalcaba was "a lot better" and should be able to watch the Barcelona-Arsenal Champions League clash on television later in the day.

The prime minister could not say when his deputy would resume his duties. "I don't know how many days, as you know he is a very hard worker," Zapatero told a news conference with the visiting Chilean president.

Rubalcaba is considered a likely successor to Zapatero, who has not said whether he will stand as the Socialist Party's candidate for a third consecutive term in general elections slated for 2012.

Zapatero named Rubalcaba deputy leader in October 2010 as part of a broad government reshuffle. Rubalcaba retained the post of interior minister, a job he has held since April 2006.

© 2011 AFP

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