Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero

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Spain's Ruling Socialists Clobbered in Election

Country grapples with Eurozone's worst unemployment

(Newser) - Facing widespread protests amid 21.3% unemployment, Spain’s ruling Socialist party suffered a resounding defeat at the hands of conservatives yesterday—reportedly the party's worst-ever performance in local and regional elections. The conservative People's Party took 38% of the vote at the municipal level, compared with 28%... More »

Octopus Predicts Spain Will Win World Cup

So go call your bookie

(Newser) - It's official: Spain is going to win the World Cup. Paul the Octopus has decreed it, the Daily Telegraph reports. The psychic cephalopod is 6 for 6 this World Cup, and went 4 for 5 in Euro 2008, missing only when he predicted his beloved Germans to defeat Spain in... More »

Hacker Morphs Spanish Prez Into Mr. Bean

Prankster hijacks Spain's EU site

(Newser) - A hacker yesterday redirected visitors to Spain's EU presidency website to a page replacing Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's image with that of Mr. Bean. The goofy, benign comedy character appeared with the words: "Hi there." Zapatero's resemblance to Rowan Atkinson's bumbling character is a long-running joke... More »

McCain Disses Spain's PM, One Way or Another

Will remain chilly ... or confused Zapatero with Latin Americans

(Newser) - John McCain seemed to say Spain’s prime minister is an enemy of the US during an interview with a Spanish-language radio station this week, Time reports. Asked whether, if elected, he would meet with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, McCain answered, “I will establish closer relationships with our... More »

Portugal PM Gets Heat for Smoking on Plane

Was he just blowing smoke when he backed Portugal's cigarette ban?

(Newser) - Portugal banned smoking in public places five months ago but the country's prime minister appears to have forgotten the rule his own government enacted. Jose Socrates—known to be a smoker in private—stunned passengers and triggered an uproar when he blithely lit up in the first-class cabin of a... More »

Women Rule in Spain's New Cabinet

9 of Zapatero's 17 ministers, including defense, are female

(Newser) - So much for machismo. Re-elected Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announced a new government this weekend, with a surprise twist: His new cabinet boasts more women than men. The eight men and nine ministras include a pregnant woman who will head the army as defense minister, the... More »

Socialist Party Wins in Spain

But ruling party will fall short of majority in parliament

(Newser) - Spain's Socialist Party overcame a sputtering economy and the murder of a former councilor to win today's national election, the BBC reports. "The Spanish people have spoken clearly and have decided to open a new period without tension, without confrontation," Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told a... More »

Spain Divided Ahead of Big Vote

Nasty campaign will weigh in on Zapatero era

(Newser) - Spaniards are bitterly divided between the ruling Socialist Party and right-wing Popular Party as they head for the polls tomorrow, the Washington Post reports. Polls do not predict a majority for Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's socialists or the Mariano Rajoy-led Popular Party, but much will depend on the... More »

Spanish PM: Basque Group Killed Pol

Eta separatists trying to disrupt elections, Zapatero says

(Newser) - Spain’s Prime Minister is blaming Basque separatist group Eta for the shooting death of a party functionary a day before national elections, the BBC reports. Jose Zapatero, whose Socialist Party is expected to win the contest, painted Isaias Carrasco’s murder as an attempt to disrupt elections, but vowed... More »

Economy Overshadows Spanish Vote

PM in race to wire as unemployment climbs; voting is Sunday

(Newser) - Spain goes to the polls Sunday after a bitter campaign in which the prime minister and his rival have traded insults and accusations of lying. Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has maintained his slight lead and did well in this week's debate, but a raft of bad economic... More »

Spanish Voters Hit YouTube

Hundreds query candidates, but site's influence still uncertain

(Newser) - It's not only in the US that Internet video is changing politics: Ahead of Spain's neck-and-neck March 9 election hundreds of voters have posted questions for Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and his opponent on YouTube. Zapatero has responded to several, Reuters reports, but the more strident—such... More »

Foes Mobilize to Block Blair as First Euro Prez

Iron support for US still rankles

(Newser) - Stiff opposition is mounting against the possibility of former British prime minister Tony Blair being named the first president of Europe. A "Stop Blair" website has been launched, and a cross-party caucus in the European parliament is forming to campaign against him. A new treaty about to be ratified... More »

Spain's PM Tells Church to Get Out of Election

Zapatero meets with Vatican rep over campaign to oust him

(Newser) - Spanish PM José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is meeting today with a Vatican representative to protest the Catholic Church's call for voters to oust his Socialist party in the March 9 general election. Zapatero was infuriated by bishops' publication of "moral guidance," calling on parishioners to vote out... More »

Spain Socialists Face Suddenly Tough Election

Vote next month will be world's first big test of credit crunch fallout

(Newser) - The Socialist Zapatero government is facing an unexpected hitch in its re-election plans: a downtrodden Spanish economy. The vote March 9 is the first in a big nation in the wake of the world credit crunch, the Economist reports, and it will test the political fallout of a burst housing... More »

Spain Deals Bullfights Fatal Blow

Spanish television yanks coverage of lethal, decreasingly popular sport

(Newser) - The traditional sport of bullfighting suffered what may prove to be a death blow yesterday, when the Spanish national television network decided not to include coverage in next year's schedule. Traditionalists are up in arms, but animal-rights advocates cheered the decision, which will eliminate the traditional Sunday afternoon broadcast of... More »

Spanish King to Venezuelan Prez: Shut Up!

Summit simmers when King Juan Carlos snaps at hectoring Chavez

(Newser) - World leaders at the Ibero-American summit had a grade-school exchange yesterday, with Spain's King Juan Carlos pulling out a "why don't you shut up" when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wouldn't wait his turn to talk. Chavez ignored requests to be more polite after calling a former Spanish prime minister... More »

Basque Leader Busted In Major Crackdown on Separatists

Opposition party calls move an election ploy

(Newser) - A top Basque separatist leader and 17 others have been arrested in the two months since the organization ended a 15-month ceasefire with Spain. Some analysts credit luck and improved intelligence for the arrests, including last week's bust of ETA's crucial head of logistics. But some critics say the crackdown... More »

Basque Separatists End Ceasefire, Threaten Spain

Country braces for renewed violence

(Newser) - The Basque separatist group ETA has declared an end to its 15-month ceasefire, and Spanish authorities are gearing up for the possibility of bombings at tourist sites this summer. ETA blames the return to violence on PM José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's "fascism"; addressing the nation on TV, Zapatero called... More »

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