Ruling Spanish Socialist Party Suffers Worst Defeat in 30 Years

Economic crisis and massive youth protests take their toll

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Following the massive protests that spread through Spain in the past week over the crippling economic crisis, the ruling Socialist party suffered their worst electoral defeat in over 30 years, Bloomberg reports. The party was defeated in virtually all of the 13 regional governments up for grabs on Sunday, according to the BBC.

With 91% of municipal votes counted, the opposing center-right Popular Party had almost a 10-percentage point lead, the interior ministry said. Populist leader Mariano Rajoy said his party had taken its biggest-ever victory in local and regional elections.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero conceded his Socialist party had been resoundingly defeated, and that three years of economic crisis had taken their toll. "It destroyed thousands of jobs. It is a crisis that had profound effects on citizens' morale. I know that many Spaniards suffer great hardship and fear for their futures," he said. "Today, without doubt, they expressed their discontent."

Nonetheless, Zapatero said he had no intention of holding the general elections ahead of time, though he has already agreed not to seek a third term. Rather, he vowed to pursue reforms to try to improve the economy until March of next year, when the general elections are slated to occur.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.