Spain's prime minister reacts to criticism

April 4, 2011 at 3:13 PM
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MADRID, April 4 (UPI) -- Spain's prime minister said Sunday his decision not to run for re-election next year will force the Popular Party to get to work, instead of attacking him.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, 50, announced Saturday he will not become the Socialist Party's candidate for the 2012 general election, El Pais reported.

"Now [the PP leaders] are going to have to come up with a platform, because all they have concentrated on is attacking me, saying that everything was Zapatero's fault," he said.

First elected in 2004, Zapatero has struggled to deal with a floundering economy, high unemployment and concerns of a bailout.

He denied his decision not to seek a third term had anything to do with the economic crisis or the fact that more than 4 million people remain jobless in Spain.

The Socialists are due to hold primaries this year to select a new secretary-general, who will become the party's candidate next year to run against PP leader Mariano Rajoy.

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