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August 8, 2022

Conservatives win Spanish election, leader Rajoy warns ‘no miracles’

MADRID – Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy is poised to become the next prime minister of economically embattled Spain, with his ascension assured after the ruling Socialist Party’s candidate conceded Sunday’s national election, CNN said.

Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba made the concession before a somber audience of Socialist Party supporters – a stark contrast to the raucous, celebratory crowd gathered outside the Popular Party headquarters in Madrid. Less than 30 minutes later, Rajoy offered “a message of confidence” and vowing to push for “solidarity” in the wake of Sunday’s vote. He did so in a televised speech inside a quiet room before coming out minutes later to address the boisterous crowd. “The Spanish people have expressed themselves, they’ve done so clearly,” he said in the first address. “And we’ll now embrace this change.”

As detailed on the Interior Ministry website, with 100% of the votes counted, the Popular Party had over 10.8 million votes (44.6% of the total votes) and captured 186 seats in parliament. That compares with just under 7 million votes for the Socialist Party, giving it an advantage in 110 legislative contests.

However, Spain’s borrowing costs continued to mount on Monday and the stock market fell by 2%, according to the BBC.

Rajoy told his supporters: “There won’t be any miracles. We never promised any.” Speaking outside party headquarters in central Madrid, he assured his audience: “We will stop being part of the problem and will be part of the solution.”

The PP leader, faced with slow growth and high unemployment, is unlikely to be sworn in by King Juan Carlos until December 22, according to media reports on Monday.

The economic picture facing the new government continues to worsen. Spain’s borrowing costs on Monday rose to 6.5% and the Ibex 35 stock index fell 2.05% in morning trading. Unemployment stands at five million and the jobless rate for non-students aged under 25 is 46%.

Miguel Arias, the PP’s campaign co-ordinator, said Spain was “going to make all the sacrifices”. “We have been living as a very rich country,” he told BBC News. But Rajoy, 56, has so far provided little indication of how he aims to calm the markets and fight Spain’s economic crisis.

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