Spain Kisses Off Socialists, Elects Right Majority

Conservatives return to power for first time since 2004
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2011 3:26 AM CST
Spain's socialists lose support, giving big majority to conservatives in Sunday's election
Spanish Prime Minister-elect Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party kisses his wife, Elvira, before delivering his victory speech after the Spanish general elections yesterday.   (Getty Images)

Spain's conservatives won a decisive victory yesterday, grabbing a clear majority of the parliament and returning to power for the first time since losing to the socialists in 2004, reports the Washington Post. The People's Party won 186 of 350 seats in the lower house, giving it the power to take strong action to reform the economy in the face of soaring debt and 22.6% unemployment, the highest in Europe. “Countries like Spain are on the brink,” said one economist. “This government will have the moral authority” to make changes, he added.

But others pointed out that the Popular Party's victory did not come from gaining support—it had just 500,000 more votes than 2008—as much as from the socialists losing it, as leftist voters fled for a host of minor parties. "There aren’t going to be any miracles, but we didn’t promise them," said PP leader Mariano Rajoy, now the incoming prime minister who is expected to introduce heavy cuts in spending in an attempt to win over international investors. "Spain's voice must be respected again in Brussels and Frankfurt. We will stop being part of the problem and will be part of the solution." (More People's Party stories.)

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