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Spain's Zapatero launches campaign for second mandate
11.25.07, 9:47 AM ET



MADRID (Thomson Financial) - Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero launched his campaign for re-election in March 2008, pledging to continue the wide-ranging social reforms that have marked his first four years in office.

Opinion polls give Zapatero an edge over his rival, Mariano Rajoy, leader of the conservative Popular Party.

Zapatero defeated Rajoy in the last elections on March 14, 2004, three days after Al Qaeda-inspired Madrid train bombings that claimed nearly 200 lives.

The latest opinion polls, carried out in October by the CSI institute and released on Thursday, put Zapatero's PSOE 2.3 points ahead (39.7 percent to 37.4 percent) of the PP. But the lead appears to be narrowing.

Two polls released on November 12, from the Opina and Sigma Dos agencies, had put it at 44.5 percent to 38 percent and at 42.2 percent to 39.1 percent respectively.

The exact date of the election in March has not been announced. But political observers predict Sunday, March 9 as the most likely day, which would coincide with regional elections in the southern region of Andalucia.

tf.TFN-Europe_newsdesk@thomson.com

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