11 Nov, 2011 @ 12:22
1 min read

Race of the Number Twos

By Wendy Williams

THE Spanish electorate will next Sunday have to choose between two politicans, dubbed the ‘Number 2’ men of their parties. 

Neither Mariano Rajoy, from the PP party, nor the PSOE’s Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba have a high popularity rating among the Spanish.

According to a poll by the state-run Centre for Sociological Research, Rubalcaba inspires ‘a lot of confidence’ in 5.3 per cent of those polled, compared with 4.5 per cent for Rajoy, while 39.7 per cent said Rajoy inspired ‘no confidence,’ compared with 35 per cent for Rubalcaba.

But the question is really can the PSOE recover enough to stop the PP obtaining an overall majority at the November 20 general election.

Moreover unlike in the municipal elections held in May, the expat vote doesn’t count here.

Foreigners cannot vote in the General election unless they have become naturalised Spanish, regardless of whether they are paying taxes and contributing to the Social system.

In total, there are 350 seats to be decided in the Congress of Deputies – determining who becomes Prime Minister.

There are a further 208 directly elected seats in the Senate.

The elections were originally scheduled for March 2012 but after the opposition People’s Party cleaned up in the regional elections, it increased pressure on the incumbent Socialist government to call snap elections.

The retiring Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero – who has been in office since 2004 but announced he would not run for a third term – called elections four months ahead of schedule.

It came after he imposed the deepest austerity measures in three decades arguing that with the economic recovery under way the country was ready for the poll.

Interestingly the day chosen actually coincides with the 36th anniversary of Franco’s death.

Spain’s centre-right PP is expected to win with an absolute majority, making Mariano Rajoy, 56, the next Prime Minister, although pre-election polls show almost a third of Spaniards are still undecided.

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