Zapatero, Rajoy fling insults before tonight’s TV debate
25 February 2008
MADRID – With the election race set to reach maximum intensity with tonight’s televised debate, Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and opposition leader Mariano Rajoy continued attacking each other at Sunday campaign stumps in Seville and Burgos.
Zapatero said he believed that most Spaniards "do not share the bad omens" the opposition Popular Party (PP) has predicted for Spain should his Socialist Party secure a second term.
"You have never heard anyone on the right – the PP, Rajoy or [former Prime Minister José María] Aznar – recognise their own errors, and they have indeed made mistakes," Zapatero told a Socialist rally in Seville, adding that "their pride" is what prevents them from doing so.
In Burgos, the PP leader, meanwhile, said that Zapatero has allowed his position of power "to go to his head." "He should apologise for lying to the Spanish people about the government’s negotiations with ETA," Rajoy said.
Despite a spate of recent arrests of ETA suspects, Spain has gone into maximum alert ahead of the 9 March vote. Last week, Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba said in a television interview that "ETA would try to kill before the elections."
A poll published by EL PAÍS on Sunday showed that the Socialists have the support of 42.3 percent of the voters while the PP has 38.6. Tonight’s debate begins at 10pm.
[Copyright EL PAÍS / Manuel Délano 2008]