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Support slumps for scandal-hit government

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Support slumps for scandal-hit government
Spain's Government, led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, has seen falling support after allegations former party treasurer Luis Bárcenas ran an illegal party slush fund. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP
10:11 CEST+02:00
Spain's two major political parties are running neck and neck in the polls with support for the Spanish Government still in freefall despite repeated messages that the country is about to see a return to growth.

Less than half a percentage point separates Spain's ruling Popular Party (PP) and the opposition socialist PSOE party in the latest survey by pollster Metroscopia.

The poll commissioned by Spain's centre-left El País newspaper puts voter support for the PP at 30.5 percent while 30.1 percent of voters would cast their ballot for the socialists.

But the figures are less a vote of confidence for the PSOE than a demonstration of a loss of voter confidence in the Government, El País argues.

At the November 2011 general elections in Spain, 44.6 percent of voters went with the PP while 28.7 percent opted for the socialists.

Since that time, however, the PP has continued to lose support while the opposition PSOE has clawed back just 1.4 percent in support.

The results come despite the Spanish Government's recent attempts to talk up the country's economic recovery.

On September 5th, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos told the Financial Times that Spain would emerge from recession in the current quarter.

De Guindos also argued that a year-on-year "growth rate of about 1 percent" could be enough "to start creating jobs" and said Spain could reach that point "in the second or third quarter of next year.

But Spain's Government has also been rocked by an ongoing scandal involving allegations of an illegal slush fund operated by former party treasurer Luis Bárcenas.

Bárcenas claims to have made under-the-table cash payments to leading PP figures during his time in control of party purse strings.   

On August 1st, Spanish Prime Minister appeared in the country's Parliament to answer questions on the allegations.

He told MPs he had ever received any cash but admitted he had been wrong to trust his party's former treasurer Luis Bárcenas.

But a survey published in El Mundo newspaper at the time showed 72.1 percent of Spaniards believed he he had not told the truth. 

The latest Metroscopia poll is based on an estimated voter turn out of 62 percent, or almost 9 percent lower than the turnout for the Spain's last general election.

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