Mixed results for Spain's ruling socialists in election

March 1, 2009 at 6:51 PM

MADRID, March 1 (UPI) -- The ruling Socialist Party had mixed results in Spain's regional elections Sunday, losing Galicia province though scoring wins in the Basque country.

With the gains in the Basque area of northern Spain, the party of socialist President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero could oust from that region the Basque Nationalist Party for the first time since 1980, El Pais newspaper reported online Sunday.

The loss of Galicia is a setback for Zapatero, who won his own election last year and counted that province among his supporters.

However, over the last year Spain's economy has been hard hit by the worldwide economic downturn, prompting increasing criticism of the Zapatero government as the country's unemployment has reached nearly 15 percent.

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