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Spain’s deputy PM hospitalised in intensive care

Spain’s deputy prime minister, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, is in intensive care in hospital with an infection caused by a prostate biopsy which had ruled out cancer, officials said Tuesday.

Rubalcaba, 59, had gone to Madrid’s Gregorio Maranon hospital Sunday suffering from a high fever, which he believed was caused by a cold, said a government spokeswoman.

Doctors diagnosed a urinary tract infection caused by a prostate biopsy carried out three days earlier and he was transfered to intensive care on Monday because his fever persisted, said the hospital’s head of urology, Doctor Carlos Hernandez Fernandez.

“A prostate biopsy logically has its risks despite precautionary measures such as providing antibiotics, and in a certain percentage of cases complications in the form of infections may arise,” he told radio Onda Cero.

“He had a very good night. He has a fever. We are still waiting for the analysis results and if everything confirms that he is fit he will leave intensive care today,” he added.

The government spokeswoman said that Rubalcaba, who is also the interior minister and is one of the most powerful men in government, was “doing better”.

Rubalcaba is considered a likely successor to Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who still has not declared if he will stand as the Socialist Party’s candidate for a third consecutive term in general elections slated for 2012.

Zapatero named Rubalcaba as Spain’s 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.