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Spain's Government continues to lose popularity

Tue 7th Dec 2010

Spain's ruling Socialist PSOE party, led by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, is continuing to lose popularity, according to a poll of public opinion.

The results, published in the Spanish press, showed the PSOE trailing the right wing opposition Popular Party (PP) by a significant 18.8 points.

The PP had already overtaken the ruling party in popularity in an opinion poll conducted one month ago.

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According to the recent poll, if general election was to be held on imminently, Zapatero's party could only get 24.3% of the vote: the lowest level in the party's history, while the PP would gain 43.1% - enough to win an overall majority.

The poll was conducted follwing the latest round of austerity measures to reduce national deficit, such as ending the 425-euro monthly payment to long-term unemployed, and greater privatization of the country's airports and national lottery.

It also followed the Catalan nationalist party (CiU)'s victory in the elections of the Catalan autonomous parliament last week, when the PSOE took an embarassing beating.

However, although published yesterday the poll took place before the air-traffic controllers' strike over the course of this weekend, which brought the airports to a standstill and caused travel chaos for over 350,000 domestic and international passengers.

According to the poll, the recent cabinet reshuffle had done little to change the sentiments of the public.

The majority of those taking part in the poll were unhappy about the PSOE's policy of spending cuts and blamed the government's failure to pursue coherent economic policy.

Approximately 80% of voters believed that Zapatero had been slow to react to the debt crisis, while 63%% said the actions were either improvised or imposed by external factors such like the financial markets.

The only beacon of hope for Zapatero is that he is not required to call a general election until 2012, by which time he will doubtlessly hope that an economic upturn will improve his government's election prospect.

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