Spain's center-right opposition stormed to a crushing election victory Sunday as voters punished the outgoing Socialist government for the worst economic crisis in generations.
The People's Party, led by former Interior Minister Mariano Rajoy, won an
absolute majority in parliament and is expected to push through drastic measures
to try to prevent Spain being sucked deeper into a debt storm threatening the
whole euro zone.
Voters vented their rage on the Socialists, who led the country from boom to
bust in seven years in charge. With 5 million people out of work, the European
Union's highest jobless rate, Spain is heading into its second recession in four
Spaniards, who voted in pouring rain Sunday, were the fifth European nation
to throw out their leaders because of the spreading euro zone crisis, following
Greece, Portugal, Ireland and
The PP won the biggest majority for any party in three decades, taking 186
seats in the 350-seat lower house, according to official results with 98 percent
of the vote counted.
The Socialists slumped to 111 seats from 169 in the outgoing parliament,
their worst showing in 30 years.
Rajoy's bitter medicine for the economy will probably make things worse
before they get better. But he has said Spaniards are prepared for the painful
austerity that is needed to reduce a swollen public deficit threatening to push
the euro zone's fourth economy toward a perilous bail-out
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