REBELS from Spain’s ruling conservative People’s Party launched a new political party hoping to tap into public discontent over sky-high unemployment, graft scandals and surging separatism in Catalonia.

Leaders of the new party, named Vox (voice in Latin), accuse Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of being too soft on Catalan and Basque separatism and of breaking election promises by, for example, raising taxes.

An opinion poll last weekend showed that half way through Rajoy’s term the PP has lost its lead to the opposition Socialists in the wake of austerity measures and Rajoy’s plan to restrict abortion. It is the second time the Socialists have inched ahead since they lost a general election in late 2011.

Voters from across the political spectrum, disillusioned by corruption scandals, have increasingly turned to smaller parties such as the centrist Union for Progress and Democracy (UPyD).

PP leaders are particularly worried about the growth of a rival conservative party in Catalonia, Ciudadans.

Polls also show that after unemployment – which stands at 26% – corruption is Spaniards’ main worry.

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