Spain ruling party set for defeat in regional votes: poll

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Spain's ruling Socialist Party, battered by the economic crisis, is facing defeats in some of its traditional regional strongholds in elections this month, an opinion poll said Friday.

The party is expected to be short of an absolute majority in all the 13 regions that hold parliamentary elections on May 22, the CIS polling institute said.

And it will be ousted from power in central Castilla-la-Mancha, the Balearic islands and in Asturias in the north as well as the city hall in Spain's second city of Barcelona.

Spaniards are to elect parliaments in 13 of the country's 17 regions as well as municipal councils throughout the nation. Campaigning officially began on Friday.

Another poll released on Sunday by Spain's leading daily El Pais predicted the Socialists would win 33.4 percent of the overall vote compared to 39.2 percent for the main conservative opposition Popular Party.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced on April 2 that he would not stand for a third term in general elections scheduled for March 2012.

Some in the party believe that a change of leadership could halt the Socialists' plummeting popularity.

The CIS poll was conducted between March 17 and April 18.

© 2011 AFP

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