Early Spanish general election set for November 20th
Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announces that Spaniards will go to polls four months earlier than scheduled. The Spanish Parliament will be dissolved on September 26. The election will be a contest between former Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba and conservative Mariano Rajoy
Madrid (ACN).- Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero today announced an early general election. Citizens will go to polls on November 20th, four months earlier than scheduled. Zapatero has finally accepted to call an early election after months of pressure from the conservative opposition and his own Socialist party. The Prime Minister has explained that Congress and Senate will be dissolved on September 26th.
"I believe the moment has arrived to announce a general election which will be held on November 20th," Zapatero told a news conference. The Spanish Prime Minister argued that he decided to call an early election because his economic strategy to recover the poor financial situation within the country is \u201Cin place\u201D and \u201Cthe way forward is clear\u201D. Zapatero said the labour market is showing signs of recovery, since data shows a rise in summer employment. Zapatero said he chose November 20th as the Election Day because he wants to promote \u201Ceconomical and political stability\u201D. The Prime Minister argued that holding an election on that day means Spain will have a new government by the beginning of 2012. The preparation of the new budget, usually debated in October, will therefore be a task for the winner. The People\u2019s Party (PP), the main opposition political force, has long campaigned for an early election, especially since May 22nd, when the Socialists suffered great losses in the local and regional votes and conservatives gained control of almost every single autonomous community in the state. The Catalan Convergència i Unió have also recently urged Zapatero to call for an election. Zapatero, an unpopular leader due to the effects of the economical crisis, announced earlier this year that he was not planning to seek re-election. Former Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba was named the Socialist candidate and since then the party has improved poll ratings. In fact, following Rubalcaba\u2019s nomination, a poll gave the Socialist Party (PSOE) a 36% approval rating, compared to the 43,1% of the PP and Mariano Rajoy. The figures showed a narrowing of the lead of the conservatives by 3 points, something that has given hope to the PSOE to have a better than expected result in the election. The announcement for an early election arrives the same day that credit rating agency Moody\u2019s suggested it may review Spanish debt for a possible downgrade. Moody\u2019s mentioned weak growth and the regional spending as the main challenges of Spain.