Spain's conservative People's Party won a regional election in Andalucia but did not secure the outright majority it expected, depriving Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of a symbolic boost to help him push through harsh spending cuts.
Rajoy had hoped his PP party would secure a majority in the country's most populous autonomous region, and planned to use it as a mandate to deepen cuts in public spending as he tries to drag Spain out of the euro zone debt crisis.
A solid win in Andalucia, known for its olive oil industry and beaches and a Socialist stronghold, would have also put the PP in control of 12 of 17 autonomous regions and strengthened Rajoy hand five days before he presents a tough 2012 budget.
But the results from Sunday's vote suggest his party will not be able to govern the region alone since the Socialists could form an alliance with a leftist party to control the legislature.
With 99.8% of votes counted, the PP had 50 seats in the 109-seat local legislature, the most it has ever won in the region. The Socialists had 47 and the United Left had 12.
Opinion polls had forecast the PP would take between 54 and 59 seats as Andalucia was tired of three decades of Socialist rule, due to high unemployment and corruption scandals.
In April, Rajoy is expected to enact reforms allowing the regions to cut health care and education spending. He commands an absolute majority in the national parliament and will be able to forge ahead with plans for spending cuts to hit a tough public deficit target of 5.3% of GDP.
However Rajoy determination will be tested on Thursday when Spain sees its first general strike since November 2010.
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Do they now phone Argentina for instructions on what to do next?Mar 27th, 2012 - 12:26 pm 0
man!! you come right out of a comic book!!Mar 27th, 2012 - 01:43 pm 0
He is obviously saying 'and my penis is only this big'.Mar 29th, 2012 - 06:26 pm 0