The ruling Spanish socialist party has begun its 37th Congress in Madrid against a backdrop of an economic downturn in the country which has already wiped the shine off the popularity of prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
The three day gathering at the Congress Palace in the Spanish capital is expected to re-elect Rodriguez Zapatero as the party’s general secretary. The Prime Minister drew applause from socialist colleagues when he promised to maintain social spending despite tough economic conditions. The latest economic indicator showed unemployment to be on the rise again in June.
Of the other places up for election in the party’s leadership, all eyes are on the number three position, which Rodriguez Zapatero has promised will go to a woman.