New Spanish PM refuses to lay out plans

City A.M. Reporter
PRIME Minister-elect Mariano Rajoy resisted pressure yesterday to disclose his plans for rescuing Spain from economic disaster, keeping anxious Spaniards and impatient investors on edge following his election triumph.

The landslide victory of his conservative People’s Party (PP) at the polls on Sunday failed to lift investors, who were desperate for some detail on his strategy to prevent Spain going the way of other Eurozone members in taking an international bailout.

Angry voters punished the outgoing Socialists for a crisis that has pushed unemployment in Spain to more than 20 per cent, the highest in the European Union.

PP Secretary-General Dolores Cospedal said Rajoy, long known for his caution, would not name a cabinet or detail his strategy before he was sworn in just before Christmas – a delay imposed by Spain’s constitution.

Briefing reporters after a meeting of the party leadership, she said Rajoy had told them he believed he had a mandate to bring in austerity measures.

“The first thing to tell Spaniards is the truth. Society is mature enough to be aware of absolutely everything that’s happening,” Cospedal quoted Rajoy as saying.

“Rajoy has expressed his wish for the swearing-in debate and the naming of the new government to take place as soon as possible in line with the law and we shall work for the new government to be in place before Christmas Day,” she said.

Rajoy had built his election campaign on restoring economic confidence and the lack of detailed information on his policies dented bond markets, which have so far taken little cheer from the widely predicted conservative victory.

Spanish 10-year government bond yield spreads widened around 30 basis points on the day to a session high of 475 bps, before settling at 468 bps.