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Within hours of the exit polls in Greece yesterday, Susana Diaz, the Socialist leader of Andalusia – one of Spain’s poorest regions – called early local elections for March 22.

Within hours of the exit polls in Greece yesterday, Susana Diaz, the Socialist leader of Andalusia – one of Spain’s poorest regions – called early local elections for March 22.

REUTERS

Within hours of the exit polls in Greece yesterday, Susana Diaz, the Socialist leader of Andalusia – one of Spain’s poorest regions – called early local elections for March 22.

SPAIN's left-wing, anti-austerity Podemos party hailed Syriza's triumph, amid hopes that the result in Athens will usher in radical change to the political landscape in Madrid.

Within hours of the exit polls in Greece yesterday, Susana Diaz, the Socialist leader of Andalusia - one of Spain's poorest regions - called early local elections for March 22. The poll is likely to set out the battleground for a series of municipal and regional votes this year, culminating in a general election, which must be held by December 20.

Like Syriza, Podemos is bitterly opposed to budget cuts and austerity imposed under pressure from Brussels in the wake of the financial crisis.

Inigo Errejon, its deputy leader, said yesterday that his party saw "a new period" of success for Europe's radical left.

"The unfair and inefficient budget cut policies have been defeated by Greek voters despite the fear campaign," he told 'El Pais' newspaper.

"Blackmail has not triumphed in Greece, meaning it will be more difficult for it to triumph in Spain."

Podemos, which translates as "we can", was established only a year ago but won some 8pc of the vote in May's European elections.

Since then, despite the Spanish economy showing signs of improvement, its popularity has risen dramatically, with the latest polls indicating that 28pc of Spaniards would back it.

The party's intention, it says, is to kick out what it describes as self-serving, established figures in the governing centre-right PP party, and the opposition Socialists, who it claims have allowed Europe to impose unfair cuts on Spain.

"The Greeks are finally going to get a Greek government, not an Angela Merkel delegate," Pablo Iglesias, the Podemos general-secretary, said on Sunday. He had appeared at a rally with Syriza's leader, Alexis Tsipras, in Athens last week.

The Spanish government yesterday sought to dampen any expectation that what has happened in Greece could be repeated in Spain.

The industry minister, Jose Manuel Soria, said: "The situation in Greece is very unlike that of other European countries, especially Spain."

While Spain has suffered stubbornly high unemployment, and its welfare system has been overhauled, it has begun to show signs of an improving economy, with growth returning. Podemos plans a rally in Madrid on Saturday, which it says will begin the countdown for the departure of Mariano Rajoy's government.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel fears that France, Italy and other south European countries will use the Greek result as an argument to water down or dodge austerity and eurozone spending rules, tipping the fragile global economy into recession.

Ms Merkel has insisted that Greece abides by existing eurozone austerity measures and reforms designed to "foster Greece's continued economic recovery".

"That also means Greece sticking to its previous commitments," said Ms Merkel's spokesman.

Berlin also fears that the victory for Syriza will signal the beginning of a populist revolt across Europe and victories for parties such as France's far-right Front National.

"I am delighted at this massive democratic blow the Greek people have delivered to the EU," said Marine Le Pen, the leader of the Front National. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk