Spain Set for Early General Elections in Novemberإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero Friday called general elections for November 20, four months early, insisting the country's battered economy was on the road to recovery.
"The course is set. So I am announcing a timetable for elections, which will be held on November 20," Zapatero told a news conference.
The announcement came as Moody's threatened to downgrade the country's debt rating and official data showed the jobless rate remained the highest in the industrialized world in the second quarter.
But the Socialist leader, in power since 2004, remained upbeat about the economy.
"In a very complicated context, the economy is showing positive signs... We have put in place the bases for the recovery," he said.
"For this reason, it is the moment to announce a timetable for the next general elections."
The collapse of the property bubble in 2008 and the global financial meltdown plunged the country into recession in late 2008 and sent unemployment soaring. The economy stabilized in 2010 and has shown slow growth in early 2011.
Zapatero announced in April that he will not seek a third term as Socialist leader in the next elections.
The party chose Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, then interior minister and a party heavyweight, to replace him.
Rubalcaba, who turned 60 on Thursday, has promised to tackle crippling unemployment and to listen to "the street".
The government does not have to go to the polls before March 2012.
But since the Socialist Party was crushed in local and regional elections in May, the opposition Popular Party has pressed the government to call the polls early.