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Europe votes: Spain's Socialists can smile in defeat | Sarah Morris | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

For a man whose party is predicted to be defeated in Sunday's European elections, Spain's Socialist prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero seemed smiley and relaxed in a TV interview on Friday morning. Perhaps he's relieved the stakes aren't as high here as they are for the leader of his sister party in the UK. Win or lose, Zapatero's party is unlikely to demand his head on a platter despite the conservative People's party (PP) opposition's best efforts to turn the elections into a vote of no-confidence against him.

The PP started out with a campaign designed to hit the Socialists where it hurt. The party's TV ads featured ordinary people, telling the camera they were unemployed or worried about their jobs in a country that had created about half the layoffs in the EU in the past year, putting unemployment at about 15% of the active population. But, perhaps inspired by the way the British expense scandal clobbered Brown, the conservatives and their supportive media sniffed out what they thought Spanish voters would see as a crack in Zapatero's moral armour. Why does he use a military plane to fly to his party's rallies on the campaign trail at the expense of the taxpayer?

by Fran on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 01:25:21 PM EST
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