Spain media says PM to call election, government source denies

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 29, 2011 6:39 AM
Spain media says PM to call election, government source denies

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is expected to announce November elections on Friday, left and right-wing media reported Friday.

A source at the Prime Minister's office denied a statement was due.

Spain has been under intense pressure in financial markets on the heels of a review for a possible downgrade from credit rating agency Moody's, which cited weak growth and out of control regional spending as key challenges for the euro zone's fourth largest economy.

Both right-wing El Mundo and left-wing El Pais newspapers said Zapatero would announce November elections at a 1030 GMT news conference after the cabinet meeting, four months earlier than scheduled in March 2012.

Unpopular Socialist Zapatero has been considered a weak leader since he decided not to run again earlier this year, and the Socialists badly lost a May regional election.

Former Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba was subsequently named the Socialist candidate, and a recent survey saw the Socialists closing some of the gap with the Popular Party, now 7 points ahead according to a government poll this week.

"Nothing on this subject is expected," a source in the Prime Minister's office said asked about the El Mundo article.

"It's true that pressure is growing within the party to bring forward elections, and that's the rumor doing the rounds, but there is no news from the prime minister's office," a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Prime Minister always gives a press conference after the last cabinet meeting in July, the source said.

(Reporting by Carlos Ruano and Feliciano Tisera; Writing by Elisabeth O'Leary; Editing by Jon Hemming)