SPAIN will go to the polls next March in what many are saying will be difficult election campaign. In the red corner is Rodriguez Zapatero, the present prime minister who was elected to power just a few days after the Madrid bombing. Despite a rather wobbly start he has governed Spain relatively well. In the blue corner is Mariano Rajoy, (who was defeated by Zapatero at the last general elections). Rajoy has taken a tough-line over the Basque terror group ETA and opposed Zapatero´s attempts to open dialogue with the outlawed group. Rajoy is behind in the polls although it is only a couple of percentage points. So it should be a difficult campaign. With the Spanish election system you have to win by an enormous margin to get an overall majority and therefore the smaller nationalist parties could come into play in a similar fashion as they have here (where there is a seven party coalition government). Rajoy´s Partido Popular need to bounce back and he says that he is confident of victory. ETA is set to be a major election issue but so is the state of the Spanish economy. The troubles which the housing market is undergoing on the mainland which has led to a recession in the building industry is also set to be a major issue. So March is a key month in Spain.
As this is my last Viewpoint before Christmas I would like to wish all readers a very Happy Christmas and thank you for all your support during the year. Once again, and thanks to you, it has been a good year and I am pleased to say that we have welcomed many new readers. Thank you.