Eyeing elections as growth resumes, Spain PM takes swipe at hard-left

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Spanish Prime Minister and Popular Party President Mariano Rajoy gives the crowd a wave during the PP annual national convention in Madrid on January 25, 2015Hailing Spain’s improving economic health under his conservative government’s stewardship, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned austerity-weary voters against the temptation to back popular hard-left Podemos party in elections due this year. Eyeing municipal and regional elections in May, and legislative polling expected in November, Rajoy said Sunday that hard-won economic recovery created by painful austerity policies must not be lost by a voter “leap in the dark” in backing leftist populists from Podemos. “We can not bet our future and those of our children in a frivolous game of Russian roulette,” Rajoy told a congress of his Popular Party in Madrid Sunday, referring to Podemos — which like its Greek party ally Syriza has found considerable popular support by rejecting austerity programs adopted amid economic crisis. With polls showing Podemos running shoulder-to-shoulder with conservatives, Rajoy issued warnings about progress that would be lost if Spain reversed policies imposed as part of an international bailout of the country.

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