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Pain in Spain puts Conservatives in poll position

Pain in Spain puts Conservatives in poll position
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The Spanish centre-right opposition goes into the final week of the European election campaign with a lead in the polls.

Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party has been able to tap into public frustration at an economy that has struggled more than most to resist the recession. “Stopping the crisis, stopping unemployment, creating new jobs: I say it is possible and we will do it. And if the government is incompetent and don’t know how, we’ll replace them,” he told a rally on Sunday. Various opinion polls give the PP a two to four percent lead over the ruling socialists. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is fighting this election against a morose economic backdrop; more than 17 percent of the active population is out of work. But he has hit back angrily at Rajoy, accusing him of having nothing positive to offer. Campaigning in the Basque country he told his supporters: “Right now we’re realising something after all he said this week. Who’s looking the most nervous, the least sure of himself, without any ideas or plans apart from insulting and denigrating? It’s the leader of the Popular Party, it’s the right that has no plans for Spain or for the European Union.” Another thing the polls predict is low turnout, as low even as 38 percent. The most common complaint among Spaniards is that the European campaign has little to do with their biggest concerns.