Spain speaks: conservative opposition wins in landslide victory (video)
Spain overwhelmingly voted for new leadership to lead the climb out of economic crisis. Prime Minister-elect Mariano Rajoy has warned of more austerity measures.
Spaniards handed the conservative Popular Party a historic landslide victory and the incumbent Socialist Party its worst defeat in history in this weekend's general elections, highlighting their overwhelming dissatisfaction with the status quo and a demand for new leadership that could help the country climb out of its worst economic crisis in decades.Skip to next paragraph
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Spain's political upheaval, largely expected, is the fifth in Europe in the past two years. Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and Italy have all seen governments overturned amid the eurozone's economic crisis. Prime Minister-elect Mariano Rajoy will take office by the end of the year with the goals of stabilizing the economy and improving Spain's standing in turbulent Europe.
The Popular Party will have an absolute majority in parliament, allowing its leader to steer Spain without having to negotiate with other parties. “The Spanish people have spoken loud and clear.They have decided to break with the old and embrace the change we proposed,” Mr. Rajoy said in his victory speech.
The Popular Party captured 186 of the 350 seats in the lower house, with almost 45 percent of the vote, while the incumbent Socialist Party took 110 seats with 29 percent of the vote. The results also favored minority parties.
Calling for national unity, Rajoy spoke with tempered optimism. “There will be no miracles. We haven’t promised them. … It’s not a secret that we will rule in the most delicate of junctures that Spain has faced in 30 years. I will have no other enemy other than unemployment, the deficit, excessive debt, economic stagnation, and everything else that keeping our country in these dire circumstances.”
Rajoy, who finally clinched victory after two failed attempts, has already hinted that Spaniards must brace for more austerity, despite the draconian measures already implemented by the Socialist Party.