Euro crisis fells seventh leader and another bank

THE EUROZONE crisis claimed yet another leader’s scalp yesterday, after Spain’s centre-right party swept to power in a landslide victory.

And Spain’s central bank yesterday seized Banco de Valencia, making it the latest casualty of the collapse in the property boom and the first retail bank in the country to seek a bailout.

The restructuring FROB fund will bolster Banco de Valencia’s capital by €1bn and grant a €2bn credit line, the Bank of Spain said.

Outgoing Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero didn’t even bother to contest the Spanish election, leaving his successor Alfredo Rubalcaba to fight for the socialists.

Zapatero is the seventh leader to topple amid the Eurozone turmoil. In February, Brian Cowen, who led Ireland’s centrist government, was unseated by his right wing opponents, making him the first political casualty of the Eurozone debt crisis.

And a further six leaders have been either ousted or lost at the polls.

In March, Jose Socrates, the former Prime Minister of Portugal, resigned after parliament rejected his austerity measures, before his socialist party was defeated by a centre-right party in June elections.

Soon after, Iveta Radicova was ousted in Slovakia after she failed to win parliamentary approval for the Eurozone bailout fund.

In September, Slovenian leader Borut Pahor was ousted for his handling of the crisis.

Then last month socialist Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou was forced to quit, after the opposition demanded his scalp as a price for supporting a new government.

Even Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi – seen as invincible by many political commentators – had to fall on his sword, after the yields on Italy’s debt jumped to unsustainable highs.