Spanish PM has reached decision on re-election bid: report

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Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has decided whether to run for a third consecutive term in general elections scheduled for 2012 but will make an announcement at a later date, Spanish media reported Tuesday.

The Socialist premier, facing his lowest poll ratings since coming to power in 2004, told reporters at a Christmas reception for the press at his official residence late Monday that he has informed his wife and a unnamed member of his Socialist Party what the decision is, daily newspaper El Pais said.

He refused to say what his decision is, arguing "it is not the right moment", the newspaper added.

Support for Zapatero's Socialist Party has fallen to a record low, according to a poll published on December 5 by El Pais.

It would win 24.3 percent of the vote if elections were held now, compared with 43.1 percent for the main opposition Popular Party, the poll showed.

The government has seen its popularity drop over the past year as it tightened austerity measures in a bid to rein in spending and soothe market fears that Spain could need a bailout like the ones given Greece and Ireland.

It has raised the sales tax, frozen old-age pensions, slashed public sector pay by an average of five percent and and scrapped a subsidy for the long-term unemployed in a country with a jobless rate of around 20 percent.

© 2010 AFP

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