Spanish Socialists hurting after local election result
MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s ruling Socialists were reeling yesterday from stinging losses in local elections and now have to balance voter anger over high unemployment and investor demands for austerity measures. A week of protests by Spaniards fed up with the stagnant economy and the European Union’s highest jobless rate preceded Sunday’s elections, which left the Socialists out of power in most of the country’s cities and almost all of its 17 autonomous regions. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Sunday night conceded the Socialists had lost heavily but said he planned to stay on to the end of his term in March next year. The center-right opposi- tion Popular Party has called for the Socialists to resign several times in recent months, but leader Mariano Rajoy did not call for early elections at a victory rally on Sunday night.