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CRISIS SPAIN

Rajoy refuses to ask Socialists for show of solidarity amid market attacks

Prime minister claims opposition would not back his government Socialists say labor reform must be put on the table

With Spain's risk premium reaching a new record high on Thursday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy still shows no sign of asking the opposition for a show of solidarity.

Unlike his predecessor, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who called Rajoy last August when Spain's risk premium rose above the 400-point mark, the Popular Party (PP) leader believes that the Socialists are not willing to help his government. "We're not expecting their help because we are not going to get it. But that doesn't bother us," Rajoy said on Wednesday in Andalusia.

The prime minister, who is basing his opinions on statements by Socialist leaders who have criticized his reforms, including his new labor law, has not called the opposition party's secretary general Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba - not even on a day like Thursday when investors' lack of confidence in the Spanish economy rattled the markets.

"If Rajoy telephones Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba to speak about this emergency situation, of course we are going to speak and listen," said a Socialist spokesperson on Thursday. "But that initiative has to come from the government, just like Zapatero did when we were under a similar situation. And besides just talking about the economy, we will also have to address the labor reform package."

The Socialists believe that the lack of confidence is also partly being generated by the Rajoy administration for continuing to blame the previous Zapatero government for the "situation it has inherited."

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