Spain elect new Government

Spanish voters celebrate
Spanish voters celebrate

Jose Luis Zapatero’s Socialist party, which has governed Spain since 2004, admitted defeat in Spain’s parliamentary elections held yesterday (Sunday).

Spain’s centre-right Popular Party (PP) claimed victory in an election dominated by the country’s debt crisis.

With the votes counted, the PP, led by Mariano Rajoy, has a clear majority in the lower chamber.

Mr Rajoy said he was aware of the “magnitude of the task ahead” and told supporters there would be “no miracle” to restore the Spanish economy and reduce unemployment.

“Forty-six million Spaniards are going to wage a battle against the crisis,” said 56-year-old Rajoy.

In Sundays election his party won 186 seats of 350-seat lower house against the Socialists 111 seats.

The new Government will have a number of matters to deal with across the country not least in the Malaga province where a number of projects have sitting on the table for long periods.

The conversion of the Benítez military camp into a park, the remodelling of the Baños del Carmen, the northern access to the airport, the coastal railway, the Antequera rail test ‘ring’ and the construction of sewage plants are among the projects which are still outstanding.

Marbella has numerous projects pending including the coastal railway which will be a great advantage to town. Marbella is currently the only town in Spain with a population of over 100,000 without a railway station. In the short term, the main concern is the completion of the road tunnel at San Pedro. This project is well advanced and expected to be ready for safety checks by the end of this year. The Government will also have to decide whether or not to reactivate the project to eliminate the direct accesses onto the A-7, something which Marbella council has been demanding for years. The 54 million euro project was among those dropped last year to save money.

On economic matters, the new Government will also be faced with a request from Marbella council to help with the 300 million euro debt with Social Security and the tax authority, which arose from non-payment during the GIL era. The local authority is having to pay one million euros a month, just in interest, and this is severely affecting the municipal coffers.

Finally, Marbella’s list includes two environmental projects. One is to stabilise the beaches: the survey to determine what measures should be adopted to stop the loss of sand is being carried out in Marbella but has been suspended for technical reasons in San Pedro. These reports are expected to cost 400,000 euros. The other major project is the recuperation of the sand dunes at Artola, Bahía de Marbella and Real Zaragoza.

So interesting times for Spain. The first 12 months of this office are likely to be the most important with a list of severe austerity measures expected to be announced. The Government will have it’s work cut out convincing not only the Spanish, but the rest of the world, that Spain is on the up and the crisis that currently faces the country will be dealt with.

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