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% for the Socialists, who lost control of Seville and Barcelona; they've controlled the latter since 1979, reports Bloomberg.
“It is reasonable to expect that the Socialist party be punished today at the polls. We accept this and we understand it,” said PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. But it doesn’t mean he’ll set an earlier date for general elections, he said; they’re due by next March, the AP reports. (Read more Spain stories.)