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JEREMY HOBSON: Now to Spain, which has become the latest European country to throw the bums out. Spain held elections over the weekend, sent the ruling Socialist party packing, and gave the Conservative Popular party control of parliament.
The BBC’s Sarah Rainsford joins us now from Madrid with more. Good morning.
SARAH RAINSFORD: Good morning.
HOBSON: So, what was the electorate in Spain saying here?
RAINSFORD: Well, the Popular party campaigned purely on a platform of change saying it was the party that represented a safe pair of hands for the Spanish economy, that could manage the Spanish economy better than the Socialist party has managed to do in the last eight years.
HOBSON: And when you say “manage” the economy, I assume you mean make big cuts, maybe raise taxes?
RAINSFORD: The Popular party has spoken about austerity, it’s spoken about sacrifices. It hasn’t spoken about tax increases, in fact, it’s talking about cutting tax for businesses, trying to promote entrepreneurialism. It’s talking about trying to promote small and medium-sized businesses, to get them hiring people again and try to tackle Spain’s really big problem — which of course is unemployment. Almost five million people here in Spain are unemployed.
HOBSON: And do the people in Spain this morning feel they’re going to get what they want?
RAINSFORD: I think half of Spain is hopeful and the other half of Spain is pretty gloomy. People on the left wing here in Spain are concerned about possible cuts to the welfare state, they’re concerned about austerity measures affecting health and education. People on the right wing I think are pleased that finally their party has come to power and they hope it can bring the change that it promised, but it’s a really tall order because, of course, all the eyes on the eurozone and the international markets are also on Spain to see if the Popular party can really deliver what it’s promised.
HOBSON: The BBC’s Sarah Rainsford in Madrid. Thanks, Sarah.
RAINSFORD: Thank you.
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