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Parliamentary Election - November 2011

Spaniards voted Sunday 21 November 2011 in legislative elections that returned the conservative Popular Party to power. The economy dominated voter concerns. The Socialist candidate for prime minister, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, said Spain was living at an historic crossroads, with the next four years very important for its future and urged Spaniards to vote. But polls leading up to the election indicated the Popular Party will likely be the winner in the balloting for 350 members of parliament and 208 senators. The Popular Party, led by incoming prime minister Mariano Rajoy, took 187 seats, a 33 seat gain. The Socialists will control 110 seats, a big 59 seat drop.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said April 03, 2012 that his nation's economic plight is one of "extreme difficulty" and that the country may need an international bailout. The Spanish leader told a meeting of his People's Party that those who do not understand the severity of the country's problems are "fooling themselves." He has suggested that Spain might need a financial rescue package, following European bailouts already handed to Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Within seven months, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government announced $80 billion worth of cost-saving measures, including cuts to all ministries. And it made labor laws less rigid. Streets and squares have been filling regularly with angry protesters. The leading unions and the opposition believe the government is irreversibly destroying Spains cherished social model.

On 02 February 2013 opposition leaders called on Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to resign over alleged payments to PP officials using a 22 million slush fund. Socialist leader Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said Rajoy isnt fit to govern the country at such a delicate time, as more details continue to emerge from the scandal. Rajoy called the information false and vowed to stay on as prime minister. The scandal began following the discovery of a slush fund controlled by former party treasurer Luis Barcenas. Secret ledgers published in Spanish newspaper El Pais in late January 2013 show records of cash payments made to top-ranking PP officials over a 12-year period.

On August 01, 2013 Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy admitted that he had made "mistakes" related to a corruption scandal engulfing his party, but he faced down calls for his resignation. Analysts said Rajoy is betting that the economy will save his political career - as Spain, like other euro countries, finally see a slow move toward economic recovery. A number of top members of Spains governing Popular Party are accused of taking under-the-table payments over the course of almost two decades. Rajoy is one of the alleged recipients. Luis Barcenas, the partys longtime treasurer until 2009, said a construction magnate gave him cash donations, which he then distributed to senior Popular Party figures. Rajoy and other members of his party say the claims are false.

Spain's economy was slowly recovering, but the image of many of its institutions still suffered. In the 22-25 May 2014 EU elections, the governing Popular Party (PP) and the main opposition Socialists performed extremely poorly, reflecting widespread disenchantment with the bi-party politics that have dominated Spain in the democratic era. The big success story of the elections was Podemos, a new political party with a tiny budget and little party machinery behind it, but whose leftist non-traditional platform scooped 1.2 million votes. After the abdication announcement, the leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, backed calls for a referendum on the monarchys future. "We Spaniards have the right to decide our future; that's why we want to vote," he said.

Preliminary results from Spains regional elections showed big gains for upstart leftist and center-right parties and the Conservatives losing their majority. Spain's ruling center-right People's Party (PP) headed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, has secured victory in the country's regional and municipal elections held on 24 May 2015, preliminary vote counts showed. After 90.94 percent of the votes were counted it was clear that PP had managed to come ahead in most of the country's 8,122 municipalities. The results might be the worst for PM Mariano Rajoy's party in more than 20 years, as many of the voters, suffering from severe spending cuts introduced by the current government, have turned to the market-friendly Ciudadanos and anti-austerity Podemos, after a series of corruption scandals in the country.

Separatists in northeastern Spain's Catalonia region claimed victory September 27, 2015 in local parliamentary polls that could push the region toward a faceoff with the central government over independence. Nationalist regional president Artur Mas spoke to jubilant supporters late Sunday in Barcelona. "We have won," he told crowds of flag-waving independence backers. He spoke with more than 80 percent of the vote already tallied.

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