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Zapatero has already made election decision

Source: El Pais - Wed 22th Dec 2010

Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has already made his decision as to whether to stand in the general elections of 2012 or not, but he has only told two people, according to El Pais.

Zapatero declined to be drawn on who was specifically aware of his decision, but one is thought to be his wofe and the other a senior party official. The only other Socialist Party government member present at the Christmas party at the Moncloa Palace where he was speaking, was his deputy, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, whom many consider his natural replacement after being appointed Zapatero's right-hand man in the Cabinet reshuffle in October.

Rubalcaba told journalists that he was not aware of Zapatero's decision, adding to speculation that the mystery man might be former Socialist leader Felipe González or Public Works Minister José Blanco.

Zapatero added that "this is not the right time" to tell the public.

The speaker in Congress, Socialist José Bono, said that Rubalcaba "has more power than it seems" and that he could be "the electric hare that tricks the other hares into running." Before that, José Blanco had mysteriously stated that Rubalcaba was "a false hare." Rubalcaba, a party heavyweight who was already a key Cabinet member under Felipe González in the 1990s, was appointed interior minister in 2006 by Zapatero's administration, a position he retains even after being appointed deputy prime minister and chief government spokesman following the cabinet reshuffle earlier this year.

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