Spanish PM fails to stem economic crisis, survey reveals
A poll shows majority of Spaniards feel the government is not dealing with the economic crisis adequately.14 July 2008
MADRID - Spain is in the grip of an economic crisis and the government is not dealing with it adequately - or so a significant majority of Spaniards thinks.
A recent survey for El Pais reveals a big drop in the approval rating for Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, just four months after his Socialist Party was re-elected for a second term. If elections were held now, the survey found, both the Socialists and the opposition Popular Party (PP) would be tied on 41 percent of the vote each.
The poll, which was conducted by Metroscopia in early July, shows that nine out of 10 Spaniards believe that the country is mired in an economic downturn, despite the fact that until last week Zapatero scrupulously refused to admit that there was a "crisis."
Sixty-three percent of respondents said the government does not know how to handle the situation, while almost 70 percent expect the crisis to be "long."
The general pessimism is driven by increasingly worrisome economic indicators. A surge in the price of oil and food products helped push inflation in June to its highest level in 13 years, with the Consumer Price Index up an annual five percent, according to the National Statistics Institute.
Earlier in July, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) predicted that the unemployment rate in Spain would rise from 9.7 percent this year to 10.7 percent in 2009.
The OECD also warned that the economy will not return to normal until 2010 and said it may further reduce Spain's GDP growth forecast for this year again after lowering it in June from 2.5 percent to 1.6 percent.
[El Pais / Expatica]