Spain election 'around December 20': PM

3rd September 2015, Comments 0 comments

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Thursday that this year's key general election, set to be potentially the most transformative in decades, will take place around December 20.

"The most likely date for the general election in Spain is December 20," he told COPE radio station.

"It will happen around that date, though there is another possible date."

Rajoy and his conservative PP party took power in December 2011 after beating the Socialists in a landslide at the height of Spain's economic crisis.

He has pushed through tough cuts and labour reforms which he says are responsible for Spain's return to economic growth.

The cuts sparked mass street protests by Spaniards, their anger fanned by numerous cases of political corruption.

The unemployment rate remains extremely high however at more than 22 percent.

Rajoy faces a challenge from protest parties that have gained support in the crisis.

His party tops the opinion polls but protest party Podemos is in third place and could force the PP out by teaming up with the second-placed Socialists.

That would herald a striking change in Spanish politics which has been dominated by the two big parties since the 1970s.

Rajoy has warned that would undermine Spain's economic recovery. He forecasts growth of up to 3.3 percent this year.

He cites Greece's troubles since the left-wing Syriza party, an ally of Podemos, came to power there.

Rajoy also faces a political challenge from the Catalonia region, whose leaders are campaigning for independence from Spain.

They want a regional election in Catalonia on September 27 to serve as a plebiscite on independence, which Rajoy fiercely opposes.

© 2015 AFP

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