Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy came out with an enigmatic statement at a Wednesday meeting with the press to discuss the upcoming general election.
“I don’t want to get involved in anybody’s troubles, but I think there could be a surprise on December 20,” said the Popular Party (PP) leader, who is expected to win the re-election by a small margin.
“All I am interested in is what the PP does, and in recovering the trust that has been lost by some people these last few years,” added Rajoy, 60, who is facing an unprecedented challenge from not one but three parties: the Socialist Party, its traditional rival, and the newcomers Podemos and Ciudadanos.
All parties that believe that all Spaniards are equal have to stick together. That’s the main thing”
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
Speaking at a rally in Palma de Mallorca, the PP candidate said he is busy preparing next Monday’s scheduled debate with the Socialist contender, Pedro Sánchez.
“I take debates very seriously. I have been to many of them,” said Rajoy, who has been criticized for refusing to attend two previous debates that also included the candidates from Ciudadanos and Podemos. “We all do whatever we can. I try to have fresh data at my fingertips and I will try to have a balanced, sensible debate that respects the rules.”
Rajoy suggested that he has a measure or two up his sleeve that was not included in the PP’s official campaign program, and which he will be announcing shortly.
He also said he is having “a very good time” on the campaign trail, which involves 14,000km of travel to drum up support for his re-election bid.
Asked whether he would be willing to work with Ciudadanos, as his deputy Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría offered to do at a televised debate last Monday, Rajoy avoided a clear reply.
“All parties that believe that all Spaniards are equal have to stick together. That’s the main thing,” he said.
Faced with two young challengers who are casting him as the representative of old-style politics and a symbol of institutionalized corruption, Rajoy is seeking to portray his party as a tried-and-true force that is a safer bet for voters, compared with parties created “a quarter of an hour ago.”
English version by Susana Urra