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Major parties start new year on back foot

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Major parties start new year on back foot
PSOE General Secretary Alfredo Pérez Rucalbaba (left) and Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Both men lead parties struggling to win popular support. Photo: Cesar Manso
09:56 CET+01:00
Spain's two largest political parties are both struggling in the polls but the ruling conservative Popular Party still has a nine point advantage over its closest rival, the socialist PSOE, a new poll shows.

Only one in three voters say they will vote for the PP led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and just one in four would cast their vote for the PSOE, the poll published on Tuesday in Spain's centre-right El Mundo newspaper shows.

The 24.9 percent figure is the lowest ever for the Alfredo Pérez Rucalbaba-led socialists. The news is slightly better for the PP who have picked up 2.7 points in the last two months. El Mundo put these gains down to a concerted public relations campaign on the part of the government stressing the improvements in the Spanish economy.

However, the figures of both parties are well down from the 44.6 percent of ballets achieved by the PP and the 28.8 percent racked up by the PSOE in the November 2011 general elections.

The big winners in the El Mundo poll are the left-wing IU party and the centrist UPyD party, led by the popular Rosa Díez. Some 14.7 of people said they would vote for the IU if a general election were to be held now, while 9.8 percent would vote for the UPyD.

That's against the 6.9 percent and 4.7 percent picked up the two parties in 2011.

The El Mundo poll results figures once again demonstrate how difficult it will be for either of Spain's largest two parties to govern alone. This could see Spain's political landscape become increasingly fractured.

Spain's ruling PP currently enjoys a majority, holding 186 seats. It stormed into power in the 2011 general elections after the Spanish public punished the former PSOE government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero for perceived mismanagement of the country's economic crisis.  

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