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Spain's election race heats up

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 01:42

Spain's debate ahead of Sunday's general election heated up when the Socialist opposition leader attacked Prime Minister Rajoy over corruption allegations. With polls showing Rajoy's party short of a parliamentary majority, Ciara Lee reports on the economic impacts of an election upset.

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Dubbed a somewhat dull election campaign, things finally heat up in Spain. This angry row erupting during a televised debate ahead of Sunday's general election. Opposition leader Pedro Sanchez attacked Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy over the corruption scandal in his party in 2013. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PEDRO SANCHEZ, SOCIALIST PARTY CANDIDATE, SAYING: "You shouldn't continue to be prime minister nor be candidate for prime minister. You should have resigned, assumed responsibility personally and left office. The debate was a late chance for both men to bolster support in the face of challenges from new parties to Rajoy's centre-right People's Party and Sanchez's Socialists. Spain's economy is picking up after a severe economic and banking crisis but unemployment remains over 20 percent. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PEDRO SANCHEZ, SOCIALIST PARTY CANDIDATE, SAYING: "What's happening is that you follow Mrs. Merkel, that's all. Spain's interests are completely different from Germany's interests because we're a debtor economy and they're a saving economy." Many voters remain undecided, but the likely outcome appears to be a coalition or minority government. Commerzbank's Peter Dixon says the rise of outside parties is an increasing theme across Europe. (SOUDNDBITE) (English) PETER DIXON "Challenger parties are in effect sticking two fingers up to the status quo saying we don't want to continue on the path that we have been on for the past five years. And that does mean I guess that there is a risk, albeit an outside one in this case, that we could see some shift in the fiscal stance of countries such as Spain." Rajoy says under his leadership the country avoided a bailout like that seen in Greece, Portugal and Ireland. But the country did receive around 40 billion euros in European aid for its nationalised banks. And tough austerity measures have been widely resented.

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Spain's election race heats up

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 01:42