By Jason Moore

SPANISH Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapatero did the honourable thing yesterday and called a general election. Zapatero is not standing marking the end of his eight-year rule as Prime Minister. Socialist Zapatero became Prime Minister almost by accident following the backlash against the then ruling Partido Popular after the Madrid bombings. The Partido Popular had sought to blame the Basque terror group, ETA, for the Madrid attacks, because at that time Spanish troops were based in Iraq. Within days of the election it became clear that the bombings were the work of Al Qaeda, who attacked Spain as a result of its role in Iraq. Zapatero won by a landslide and became an unlikely Prime Minister. Dubbed Mr. Bean, by some of his critics, Zapatero, inherited a booming Spanish economy. Eight years later and the country has almost gone bust. Zapatero, obviously can´t take the full blame for this state of affairs, the banking crisis led to a collapse in the real estate market which led to a severe recession in Spain. But it is Zapatero´s handling of the economic slowdown which has caused him to become deeply unpopular in some quarters in Spain. Under his Premiership unemployment has almost reached the five million mark and there is still no end in sight to the economic recession. Zapatero will be remembered for the recesssion which is a pity because he has done some good things, but I suspect history will be rather unkind to him.

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