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Spain's election: 'A walk in the park' for Mariano Rajoy

Spain's election: 'A walk in the park' for Mariano Rajoy
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The two frontrunners in Spain’s election have been walking around Madrid’s parks on the day before voting.

Striding to victory, Mariano Rajoy looked like a man with an unassailable lead, marching all the way to the Spanish premiership. A win for the conservative leader looks a foregone conclusion.

His rival Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba strolled at a much slower pace, bracing perhaps for the much predicted defeat of his ruling Socialists. The government, in power for seven years, is widely seen by Spaniards as having mishandled the response to the growing euro zone debt crisis.

Some see positive changes ahead.

“I lived under Franco, then I experienced democracy, said Manuel Canizare at a market in the Spanish capital. Accusing the Socialists of always leaving Spain with no money, he said: “I have lived through it. No one told me about it. This is how it is. So I hope those coming next will sort things out, as they have done in the past.”

“Whoever wins, wins,” lamented Valencia resident and pensioner Isabelle Mosquera. “Because we are not the ones who govern. We are being governed from abroad. We are being governed by foreign banks, by multimillionaires from abroad. By ‘Senora’ Merkel, by ‘Senor’ Sarkozy.”

But Rajoy’s Popular Party has its roots in the post-Franco politics of the late dictator’s allies, according to Madrid resident Ann Mair Richard, a teacher.

“The Conservatives are backed by multinationals and the banks,” she said. “That is why I am in a panic.”

Spain’s ‘Indignados’ protesters are urging a boycott of both of the main parties. And some voters are indeed looking elsewhere for salvation, lining up to buy tickets for the big money Christmas lottery.