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Cablegate: Zapatero Wins Reelection

VZCZCXRO0123
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHMD #0288 0701044
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101044Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4446
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MADRID 000288

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR EUR/WE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SP
SUBJECT: ZAPATERO WINS REELECTION

REF: MADRID 274 AND PREVIOUS

1. (U) Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Spanish Socialist
Workers Party (PSOE) was the victor in the March 9 general
election. The PSOE won 43.64 percent of the vote which will
translate into 169 congressional seats (an absolute majority
would be 176). Mariano Rajoy and the Popular Party (PP) won
40.11 percent of the vote which will mean 153 seats. Both
the PSOE and the PP bettered their results from 2004 when
they won 164 and 148 seats, respectively. The big losers
appear to have been the small left-wing parties. The PSOE
maintained its absolute majority in Andalucia (where regional
elections were also held March 9). Voter turnout nationwide
was strong at 75.32 percent (compared to 75.66 percent in
2004).

2. (U) For the smaller parties, the breakdown of seats in the
350-seat congress will be as follows (2004 totals given in
parenthesis): Convergence and Union Party (CIU) - 11 (ten);
Basque National Party (PNV) - six (seven); Republican Left of
Catalonia (ERC) - three (eight); United Left (IU) - two
(five); Galician National Block (BNG) - two (two); Canary
Coalition (CC) - two (three); the Union, Progress, and
Democracy Party (UPD) - one (new party); and the
Navarra/Basque Party (Na-Bai) - one (one).

3. (U) Voting was without incident although on March 7 a
former PSOE city councilman, Isaias Carrasco, was shot dead
in the Basque Country town of Mondragon. Although there has
been no claim of responsibility, everyone assumes ETA was
responsible. The murder led to widespread calls for voters
to turn out in force as a way of protesting the murder and
may have slightly pushed up voter participation.

4. (SBU) Congress is set to convene April 1. The King will
almost certainly ask Zapatero to form a government. Since he
is seven seats short of an absolute majority, Zapatero will
have to negotiate a pact with one or more of the smaller
parties. We expect he will again be sworn in as President of
Government by around April 9. Cabinet changes are likely,
and we expect names will start leaking shortly.
AGUIRRE

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