Outgoing Spanish PM admits to errors in wake of election

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Outgoing Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero admitted Saturday to leadership errors in explaining his party's drubbing at the polls.

"We made management and communication mistakes," Zapatero told leaders of the Socialist Party, though he did not elaborate.

His party was crushed in national elections November 20 by the centre-right Popular Party.

Conservative prime minister-elect Mariano Rajoy expects to take office on December 20. His press service said Saturday he would not reveal the makeup of his cabinet before that date.

Zapatero also blamed Spain's unemployment rate of 21.52 percent, the highest of any industrialised country, "to particularly adverse consequences of the economic crisis", but added: "It's not an excuse".

He defended Spain's unpopular austerity measures put in place last year as an essential move aimed at preventing Spain from asking for bailouts from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

"We had no other choice," Zapatero said.

Rajoy's Popular Party won more than 44 percent of the vote, assuring an absolute majority of 186 seats in the 350-member Congress of Deputies.

© 2011 AFP

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