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Socialists hit out at "hooligan" PP over regional finance claims

PM Zapatero concerned of possible impact on markets amid accusations of unpaid bills

Spain's ruling Socialists on Monday angrily hit back at the conservative Popular Party (PP), accusing it of "hooliganism" for claiming it had concealed the parlous state of the finances in regions it lost to the PP in May's elections. "The PP has committed a serious act of institutional disloyalty, and has practiced political hooliganism in throwing into doubt the credibility of Spain's accounts," Marcelino Iglesias, a Socialist deputy leader, told reporters.

After it won against the Socialists in the region of Castilla-La Mancha for the first time ever, the PP said the defeated party had left the region "bankrupt" without enough funds in its coffers to pay public-sector salaries. It also accused the Socialists of having built up a heap of unpaid bills, some of which outgoing administrators were destroying to hide their tracks.

At a meeting of party barons on Monday, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero expressed concern over the potential fallout from the PP's claims on the financial markets. The blue-chip Ibex 35 index fell 1.24 percent.