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The BBC's Joanna Episcopo
"For Mr Aznar, it's a huge personal endorsement of his economic policy"
 real 28k

Monday, 13 March, 2000, 12:12 GMT
Analysis: Economy seals election win
Aznar
Aznar's election success comes down to the economy
By Joanne Episcopo

The Spanish right was expected to win Sunday's general election - but few thought that they would win so convincingly.

It was a great personal triumph for Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, who has worked hard to turn the Spanish economy around.

He has reduced unemployment, taken Spain into the single currency and cleaned up political corruption that finally defeated the Socialist Party four years ago.

In a country that is still a young democracy and is wary about voting for the right, he has made it acceptable to do so.

Having secured an absolute majority, Mr Aznar's main concerns are to continue to build on his economic success.

Clear majority

He has had to rely on coalition partners for the last four years, but now his Popular Party will be able to govern with its own clear majority.

For the Socialists, the results were hugely disappointing.

The party that had dominated Spanish politics for 14 years saw its share of the vote fall lower than even opinion polls had predicted.

Its alliance with the communist-dominated United Left Party backfired, with both parties losing heavily.

Aznar
Aznar gets a thumbs up for Spain's economy
Shortly after the official result was given, the Socialist leader, Joaquin Almunia, offered his resignation.

Mr Almunia said the Socialists had lost because they had failed to convince voters about their vision of the future and to mobilise a disillusioned electorate into voting for them.

But for Spain's nationalist parties, the outcome was good.

The Catalan nationalists are now the third biggest political force in the country, and the Basque nationalists saw their seats increase from five to seven.

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See also:

12 Mar 00 | Europe
Spanish PM sweeps back in
12 Mar 00 | Broadband
Spanish elections
12 Mar 00 | Europe
In pictures: Spain at the polls
13 Mar 00 | Europe
Aznar: The quiet man who roared
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