Deal hammered out on TV election debates

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Spain's governing Socialist Party and the main opposition Popular Party ended weeks of bickering Thursday and agreed to two televised debates between their respective leaders.

15 February 2008

MADRID - Spain's governing Socialist Party and the main opposition Popular Party ended weeks of bickering Thursday and agreed to two televised debates between their respective leaders, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Mariano Rajoy, before the 9 March general election.

The debates, the first in which an incumbent prime minister will go face to face with the leader of the opposition in 15 years, will be broadcast on 25 February and 3 March. Each will last 90 minutes without advertising breaks.

After spending weeks squabbling over which channel or channels should be allowed to carry the debates, both parties agreed yesterday to hold them on neutral territory at Spain's Television Academy and to make the broadcast available free of charge to any public or private television station that wants to air it.

[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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