Spanish voters support Rajoy in home region

City A.M. Reporter
SPANISH Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy last night secured backing for his austerity drive in a vote in his home region of Galicia, but a clear win for nationalist parties in the Basque Country could soon prove a headache for the central government.

According to exit polls, Spain’s ruling centre-right People’s Party was set to retain its absolute majority and government in Galicia with 39 to 42 seats in the regional parliament compared with 18 to 20 seats for the Socialist Party and 15 to 18 seats for two nationalist parties. Opinion polls before the vote had indicated the PP would win 39 or fewer seats.

In the Basque Country, the Basque nationalist PNV was set to win with 24 to 27 seats, compared with 23 to 26 seats for Bildu, a pro-independence party, 13 to 15 seats for the Socialist Party and nine to 11 seats for the PP.

The vote in Galicia, where austerity steps were taken by the PP even before Rajoy took national office last year, had been seen as a referendum on the government’s handling of the Eurozone crisis. The PP has ruled in the region for 24 of the past 31 years.

Analysts said Rajoy wanted to wait until after the election before requesting more European aid.