Embattled Spanish PM Zapatero to stand down at next election

LAST UPDATED: 1 May, 2011 @ 22:40
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Embattled Spanish PM Zapatero to stand down at next election

PRIME Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will not fight a third general election.

With the recession deepening and trailing in opinion polls, the socialist leader told a press conference on Saturday that it was time to hand over the leadership of his PSOE party to someone else.

In a live annoucement he said: “I will not be a candidate in the next general elections,” before admitting that he had ‘made mistakes’.

He said it had been particularly hard this year because after enacting a budget austerity plan to reduce the public deficit due to pressure from international financial markets, the destruction of jobs has continued.

The unemployment rate is still over 20 percent (4.6m) and the highest in the European Union.

Local elections held on May 22 are expected to be a test of whether support for the PSOE has fatally waned.

Opposition leaders have called for Zapatero to step down due to the nation’s economic crisis, and even some in his own Socialist party have expressed doubts about his leadership.

Zapatero was first elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2008.

The man named then as deputy prime minister, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, is now widely seen by Spanish analysts as a potential successor.

He would likely be challenged by the popular defence minister Carme Chacon.

8 COMMENTS

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  1. Zapatero has been a disaster for Spain.
    His weak and ineffective Leadership has put the country
    into a mode of decline and crisis.
    20 PER CENT UNEMPLOYMENT is shocking,what has Zapatero and
    his buddies been doing with their time,Where are the schemes and ideas for generating jobs especially for young
    people.
    Spain should be the Bread basket of Europe,its potential
    for agricultural supply aligned with green energy incentives would employ huge numbers throughout the regions.

  2. When doing some shopping in Malaga at the weekend I came across the film festival area that was being erected, just off Larios. All this effort, and what for exactly? A few films?

    They should have dumped that idea straight away and made a JOB festival instead! This country has no idea on its priorities, at all. The ‘Anotonio Banderas Tapas Tour’ is more important than things like jobs and education in Malaga these days.

    Zapatero must surely be one the worst European leaders ever. Totally inexperienced and in denial of reality.

  3. @frank, at the leadership of the PP in the time of aznar Spain had also 20 % …. people tend to forget that….. Zapatero cannot fix fast what others before him destroyed big time…

    Now Zapa get’s the blaim for everything. That is not fair.

  4. I have more respect for him now that he realizes the valid reasons for him leaving… before he got thrown out in the next election. Certainly not an easy task leading Spain – but Zapateros was not up to it.

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