ELECTIONS 2011

Rajoy: "We take the deficit seriously and will cut back wherever possible"

The Popular Party candidate tells EL PAÍS that pensions are safe, but all other social spending could be curtailed; abortion reform and a repeal of gay marriage left up in the air

JAVIER MORENO 17 NOV 2011 - 13:35 CET

With Spaniards poised to go to the polls to elect a new government on Sunday, EL PAÍS interviewed Popular Party (PP) candidate Mariano Rajoy, who holds a significant lead in projected voter intention over his Socialist counterpart, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba. Admitting that he has not yet informed his future economy minister of his or her appointment if the PP wins, Rajoy nonetheless stated that "we are very clear on what needs to be done" to drag Spain out of the crisis.

The PP leader expressed his desire to meet the European budget deficit target of 4.4 percent for 2012, calling the current administration's estimate of 2.3 percent growth "not credible."

"We have to make a growth forecast and from there assess income and expenses. But I insist; Spain has to send a message that the subject of public deficit is being taken seriously."

Rajoy reiterated his party's intention to leave pensions unscathed, not to raise taxes and to avoid co-payment for medical care, but gave few assurances over other possible cutbacks. "Maybe we will have to carry out fewer public works and give priority to finishing the ones in progress. We will have to abolish many regional bodies. We have to do many things and make cuts wherever possible." Asked if Spain has an excess of civil servants, Rajoy said "in some sectors maybe we don't need as many as we have," adding that the five-percent salary cut imposed last year would not be lifted "at this time."

During the campaign, Rubalcaba has proposed asking Brussels for a two-year stay on deficit-reduction targets: "I think it is a bad message, especially when the current government is saying the opposite. The economy minister intends to maintain the six-percent target for this year and is pressuring the regions not to exceed 1.3 percent. I like her message more than the candidate's."

With union backlashes against cuts and education and healthcare strikes across Spain, does the PP leader foresee more general strikes? "I hope there are none. I think that if the decisions that need to be made are explained, it would be unjust to carry out strikes. But if they do, logically that is their right."

Extolling stronger export ties with Latin America, Rajoy also expressed his desire for democracy in Cuba. On the home front, the PP candidate, who enjoys the odd cigar, said that the Anti-Tobacco Law could be changed, although he stressed it was not "a priority."

On same-sex marriages, Rajoy said the Constitutional Court would have the final word on the current law but the abortion legislation contained "two or three things" that could be changed.

Otras noticias

Mariano Rajoy, pictured during the interview. / MARISA FLÓREZ

Últimas noticias

Ver todo el día

‘El Renacido’ de Iñárritu arrasa en los Bafta

El País México

La última película del director mexicano consigue cinco premios de cine británicos y afianza su carrera hacia los Oscars

Imagine

El Madrid empieza a parecerse a Zidane, que es un invento de los sastres del barrio de Salamanca

“No tengo por qué aguantar lecciones de democracia”

El candidato a la presidencia de la FIFA explica a EL PAÍS su planes para el máximo organismo del fútbol mundial y se defiende de todas las acusaciones

EL PAÍS RECOMIENDA

La felicidad de trabajar de ocho a tres

Una gran empresa que ha instaurado la jornada intensiva constata su éxito

El mundo en números

Especificar la secuencia de un genoma costaba 47.000 dólares hace seis años; hoy, menos de 1.300 dólares

Lo más visto en...

» Top 50


Webs de PRISA

cerrar ventana