MADRID Feb 3 Public support for Spanish Prime
Minister Mariano Rajoy and his ruling People's Party has fallen
as they have been engulfed by a corruption scandal, an opinion
poll showed on Sunday.
Media reports over the past fortnight have alleged that at
least a dozen top party officials, including Rajoy, received
kickbacks from a slush fund operated by its former treasurer.
While Rajoy has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, the
growing scandal has provoked the fury of Spaniards who were
already disenchanted with the government's handling of a deep
economic recession and high unemployment.
The centre-right People's Party (PP) was swept to power with
an absolute majority in late 2011 as voters rejected the
policies of the former ruling Socialists (PSOE).
But if a general election were called now, Spain's two
biggest parties would be neck-and-neck, neither with a clear
majority, a Metroscopia opinion poll published in the country's
leading newspaper El Pais suggested.
The survey showed 23.9 percent of the public voting for the
PP - the lowest level since the 2011 election and down from 29.8
percent in the same poll last month. Support for the PSOE was at
23.5 percent, little changed from the 23.3 percent last month.
Seventy-seven percent said they disapproved of Rajoy as the
head of the government, while 85 percent had little or no faith
Eighty percent of those polled said the PP leaders named by
the media as alleged recipients of kickbacks should resign.
However, Socialist opposition leader Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba
has failed to capitalise on the scandal threatening the
credibility of his political rivals. The poll showed 89 percent
Almost all respondents - 96 percent - said corruption was
widespread and not adequately punished, according to the survey
which was carried out between Jan. 30 and Feb. 1 and interviewed
1,000 people across Spain.
(Reporting By Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Pravin Char)