Spain election: New PM warns 'there will be no miracles'
Published 21/11/2011 | 09:21
Spain’s new Conservative leader vowed to battle "against the crisis" but warned there "would be no miracles" as his party swept to victory in yesterday’s general election.
With almost 98 per cent of the vote counted the Popular Party won 186 seats in the 350 seat congress garnering a strong mandate to push through further austerity measures in an attempt to turn around an economy that risks being engulfed by the sovereign debt crisis.
“We are facing a decisive moment for Spain,” Mariano Rajoy, the next prime minister, said in a televised acceptance speech in front of jubilant supporters in downtown Madrid.
“We are at a crossroads that will shape the future of this great country not just in the next few years but the next few decades.”
Victorious crowds gathered outside PP headquarters turning the street into a sea of blue party flags, their cheers drowning out the euro-pop being blasted out over loudspeakers.
The socialists suffered their biggest defeat since Spain became a democracy more than 30 years ago, punished by an electorate for their perceived bungling of the economic crisis that has left 5 million unemployed.
Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, 60, the prime ministerial candidate who took the helm of the PSOE when Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he would not seek a third term, conceded defeat after the party won just 110 seats down from 169 in 2008.
"The Socialist Party did not have a good result. We clearly lost the elections," he told party faithful in Madrid.
The conservatives won roughly 44 per cent of the votes and the Socialists took 29 per cent, according to official election results.
Smaller and regional parties also did well as the traditional socialist voters turned away from the PSOE. A new party in the Basque country secured several seats in the national parliament.
Analysts welcomed the result as a positive step for Spain.
"The fact the PP has won by a large majority is a very good sign for the markets,” said Teresa Sadaba, professor of economics at Spain’s IESE Business School.
“It means stability. The best scenario now would be for Spain to announce some new emergency austerity measures but I am not sure whether this will happen or not."