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Spain's Socialists 'could win vote with Rubalcaba as leader'

Mon 10th Jan 2011

A poll undertaken by the El Pais newspaper revealed how 37.1 % of those surveyed would vote for the Socialist party if elections were to be held tomorrow and if Rubalcaba was party leader, while 30.6 % would vote for the PP opposition party.

The currently ruling Socialists could win an election with a lead of 6.5 points - but onlyif their popular Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba was leader - the poll, which was published yesterday by the newspaper, showed.

Rubalcaba's was promoted to deputy PM in November in what was believed to be an attempt by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to address the falling support the Socialists have witnessed since the country's fall into financial crisis in 2008.

However the differential in the support for the party under Zapatero and the opposition widened since the government introduced unpopular austerity measures to convince financial markets that the public deficit is finally under control.

The political cost can only be speculated on, with impending reform of the pension system, leading to suggestions that Zapatero may not be put forward as the candidate for his party at the next parliamentary elections.

Rubalcaba, who also hold the position of Minister of the Interior, is considered to be the most likely candidate to replace Zapatero as head of the party. The poll showed he currently has the highest rating of any minister or political party leader.

El Pais conducted the poll by means of telephone interviews of 1,023 voters with a margin of error of 3.1 %.

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