Financial Markets Unimpressed With Rajoy’s Sweeping Spanish Win

Posted November 21st, 2011 at 7:55 pm (UTC-5)
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The landslide victory of Spanish Prime Minister-elect Mariano Rajoy in Sunday's parliamentary election has failed to quiet Spain's economic turmoil.

A major Madrid stock index fell more than 3 percent Monday — and the cost of Spanish government bonds edged closer to 7 percent interest. That is the same rate that Greek, Irish, and Portuguese bonds hit before those countries asked for bailouts.

Prime Minister-elect Rajoy has so far given little information on how he plans to cut Spain's debt and create jobs. Spain's unemployment rate is at 22 percent and some economists say the country is on the brink of a recession.

Mr. Rajoy, who takes office on December 20th, is telling Spaniards not to expect any miracles.

Mr. Rajoy and his conservative People's Party won 186 seats in Parliament in Sunday's election. The ruling Socialists won 110 — a 59 seat drop.

Also Monday, the White House says President Barack Obama telephoned his congratulations to the new Greek Prime Minister, Lukas Papademos. The White House says Mr. Papademos is taking on a significant responsibility. Mr. Obama said the United States will stand by Greece during this difficult time.

Mr. Papademos must convince the Greek parliament to agree to the terms of a new European Union bailout, which includes deep spending cuts, tax hikes, and eliminating thousands of government jobs. Greece must accept those terms if it is to get a $11 billion installment of last year's bailout to avoid bankruptcy.