Punishment for Spain's Rajoy in regional vote signals tough election year

March 23, 2015 6:09 PM

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Punishment for Spain's Rajoy in regional vote signals tough election year

MADRID (Reuters) - Voters in southern Spain dealt a blow to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's hopes of winning a second term this year on the strength of the country's economic recovery, abandoning his center-right Popular Party for upstarts and the opposition Socialists.

One of the countries worst-hit by Europe's economic crisis, Spain is now one of the continent's fastest growing economies, but unemployment remains high and most Spaniards are still a long way from recovering pre-crisis living standards.

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