IN between sampling Minorcan cheese, which he described as being in the first division, Mariano Rajoy, the Partido Popular's candidate to be the next prime minister of Spain, yesterday attacked the Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, for bringing the bogeyman into the election.
Rajoy, who was on a whistlestop tour of the Balearics as part of his electoral campaign leading up to polling day on March 9, told a meeting of 400 PP supporters in Mahón that Zapatero had introduced a message of fear into the campaign.
Do you know what proposals Rodríguez Zapatero has brought forward? he asked his audience. The first, vote for Zapatero so that the PP doesn't win. The second, vote for Rodríguez Zapatero, because if you don't, the PP will win. And the third, vote for Mr Rodríguez Zapatero because if you do the PP can't win.
The PP leader continued in ironic mode when he brought up Zapatero's proposal to return 400 euros to Spanish voters from the Government.
If I was to give 400 euros to Zapatero for every promise that he doesn't fulfill it wouldn't cost me anything. But if I was to give him 400 euros for every insult he threw at me I'd be ruined.
After remarking that the Socialists had spent four years in Government saying how bad the PP were, Rajoy said that if he came to power, he would occupy himself with the worries of the electorate, who want to pay their mortgages and get to the end of the month with a little bit saved.
In reference to the Balearics, Rajoy said that you could not treat as equal things that were different and promised to work to increase the frequency and lower the cost of flights to the mainland if elected, because the Spanish Government haven't done anything.
The Opposition leader also found time to visit the market in Mahon with the president of the PP in the Balearics, Rosa Estarás.
Rajoy exchanged his knowledge of fruit with some of the stall holders. He asked one woman why some kiwis were more expensive than others. She explained that the more expensive ones came from New Zealand.
Rajoy also received a few compliments from some local women.
You're much more handsome in the flesh than you are on television, said one. You're very generous, responded Rajoy.
After his brief visit to Minorca, Rajoy travelled on to Ibiza before attending the PP's main rally last night in Inca in Majorca.