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Support for Zapatero fails

Source: Reuters - Mon 14th Jun 2010

Public support for Spain's minority Socialist government slid in May, polls showed today, as prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero tries to introduce tough labour reforms and to pass an austerity budget.

The two polls were held while Mr Zapatero negotiated long-awaited labour market reforms, which he hopes will go to parliament on June 22nd, and after a €15 billion austerity budget plan for 2011 that includes civil servant pay cuts and welfare freezes, which will be voted on in September.

Support for the government was 33.5 per cent, well behind the 45.8 per cent recorded for the conservative opposition Popular Party (PP), according to a poll commissioned by the conservative newspaper ABC.

The left-leaning Público daily, said support for the government stood at 33.1 per cent compared to the PP's 41.7 per cent.

A poll on June 6th in El Pais newspaper put the Socialists 10.5 percentage points behind the PP.

The conservatives say they will vote against any anti-crisis proposal posted by the government, meaning the bills will need support from smaller, regional parties for Mr Zapatero to avoid a vote of no confidence.

With public support waning, Mr Zapatero could find it difficult to find support for the unpopular bills.

The next national election is scheduled for 2012, but could be sooner. If a major bill fails in parliament it could spark a no confidence vote in the government.

The government must take its controversial job market reform and 2011 budget to parliament between now and September.

The Socialists currently hold 169 seats in a parliament of 350 seats compared to the PP's 153.

The DYC poll for ABC showed the PP would win an outright majority if elections were held now.

The ABC poll was held between June 3rd and 10th, while the Público poll was conducted between May 17th and June 9th by Publiscopio.

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