POLITICS

Galician premier calls early elections

Alberto Núñez Feijóo chooses date to coincide with Basque polls

Galician premier Alberto Núñez Feijóo on Monday called early elections in the northwest region in order “not to create any more instability” in Spain at a time when the country is going through an “extremely difficult” situation.

Feijóo set October 21 as the date for the electorate’s renewed encounter with the polling booth, to coincide with regional elections due to be held in the Basque Country on the same day. The Galician premier, who is a member of the conservative Popular Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, said that holding the two elections together would save Spain an “excessively prolonged electoral period of six months.” Feijóo’s mandate was due to end in March of next year.

The Rajoy administration has placed a heavy burden on the regions this year in reducing the public deficit from 8.9 percent of GDP to 6.3 percent, with draconian spending cuts in education and health. The central government has also not ruled out seeking another bailout from its European partners, a move that could have an impact on regional elections.

Once the polls in Galicia and the Basque Country are over, there will be no further scheduled elections to distract the Rajoy administration until regional polls in Catalonia, which are due at the end of 2014.