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Spanish newspapers see the regional election victory in Galicia as giving a breathing space to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, his centre right People’s Party and his austerity drive.

In the Basque country however, wins for nationalist parties including the Basque Nationalist Party PNV could cause headaches for the government.

The regional votes came on the heels of massive demonstrations against tax hikes and public services cuts, and polls showing the prime minister losing support.

One student said “In the PNV there are pro-independence and not pro-independence people. Perhaps there is a minority group that advocate independence. I’m pro-independence but I think it is not the right time, we are in crisis and it is not the moment for independence.”

The tension is not expected to ease, as nationalist parties are expected to win another regional vote in Catalonia on 25 November.

Socialist MP and former justice minister Juan Fernando López Aguilar, acknowledged the party’s crisis: “We are facing a very serious situation, the worst the socialists we have experienced in 35 years, and is good to recognize it, to say it out loud so the Spanish people know that we are aware of it.”

The results have thrown Spain’s socialist party into disarray in both Galicia and the Basque Country and they may now be entering a leadership war as different factions criticise the opposition’s policies.

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