FROM Felipe Gonzalez to Mariano Rajoy, nearly all of Spain’s prime ministers since the return of democracy have had one problem: their lack of English. And the language of Shakespeare, it turns out, is also an issue for the Popular Party hopeful at the upcoming general election, Alberto Nuñez Feijoo. 

And that issue is something that the Socialist Party has used to attack Feijoo, in an online video that suggests that the upcoming election campaign is going to be fought in the mud by all sides.  

Speaking this morning on television channel Telecinco, Feijoo admitted that he had ‘a problem’ with the language, as is the case with ‘the majority of Spaniards’. But he tried to play down his lack of linguistic skills by pointing out that at major international summits, translators are on hand. 

When asked by TV host Ana Rosa if he was already studying the language, he quipped: “Well look, I just had arranged an English teacher from last Monday, and it turns out that now they’ve called me to a general election!”

Feijoo was referring to the surprise decision by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to bring the general election planned for December forward to July 23, after the poor showing of his Socialist Party at the local and regional elections on Sunday. 

In response to his comments, the Socialist Party rushed out an attack ad that was released on social media earlier today. 

In it were the clips of the PP leader talking about his English, with a subtitle saying that it was ‘another problem for Feijoo’.

The video then cuts to job adverts, all of which state that a high level of English is required, and then clips of Sanchez and several of his ministers all speaking more than acceptable English on news programs and at summits – all set to a comedy soundtrack of circus music. 

If Feijoo is successful at the July 23 polls, he will at least be able to take solace in the fact that of the seven prime ministers since Spain returned to democracy in the 1970s, only Pedro Sanchez has been able to speak fluent English while in office.

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