Spain’s economic crisis has been used to score political points ahead of the General Election next month.
Opposition conservative leader Mariano Rajoy promised a rigorous programme to get Spain’s finances in order.
Some commentators though pointed out that there was little in the speech to the Popular Party congress about how exactly he would do it.
Rajoy said: “Spain needs another prime minister and another government that is supported by the Spanish people with a clear mandate: to tackle the crisis.”
The current socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has been at the helm while Spain has plunged deeper into crisis with a collapsed construction industry and ballooning debt.
He is standing down – but the man filling his shoes, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, said Rajoy was on auto-pilot.
“…and the problem with auto-pilot,” he added, “is that you can’t use it during a storm.”
But with Spain’s credit rating having just been cut, and with a record high 21 per cent jobless rate, all the signs are that the socialists will lose in next month’s election.