Spanish Socialist demands wealth tax
Spain's Socialist candidate for November elections urged the government led by his party Sunday to immediately reinstate a wealth tax suspended three years ago.
Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told a gathering at Galapagar, near Madrid, that he had asked Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to "reactivate with immediate effect the tax on the biggest fortunes".
"If the government approves this now, the money will be available in 2012 for the new government," he said, having earlier estimated the yield from such at tax at 1.4 billion euros ($2 billion).
The Socialist government suspended the wealth tax in 2008, shortly after winning elections but before the country started feeling the effects of the global economic crisis.
Spanish media have quoted sources close to the government as saying that Zapatero will accept Rubalcaba's demand, and the measure could be approved by the cabinet as early as Friday.
Zapatero, in office since 2004, has decided not to run for a third term, and Rubalcaba, his former deputy and interior minister, was chosen in July as the Socialists' standard bearer.
The Socialists were crushed in local and regional polls in May, when a huge swathe of the electorate, furious over Spain's economic crisis, abandoned the party in favour of the rightist Popular Party.
A recent poll in the conservative daily El Mundo, predicted the Popular Party would win 47.1 percent of the vote to 32.3 percent for the Socialists.
© 2011 AFP