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Ruling parties brace in France and Spain

Friday, December 04, 2015 - 01:41

A pivotal weekend ahead as France braces for a major upset to its political status quo and Spain starts campaigning for a general election where its incumbents, too, are under threat. Ciara Lee reports.

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A country still wounded - politics more relevant than ever in France. Sunday's regional elections have brought anti-immigration sentiment to the fore. 25-year-old Marion Marechal-Le Pen - the third generation of the Le Pen dynasty - and the rising star of France's far-right National Front is on the campaign trail in the south of the country. BGC Partner's Mike Ingram. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARKET STRATEGIST, BGC PARTNERS, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "What could the National Front do if they came into power or had an influence on policy? One of the things they could do for instance is start to push back quite aggressively against the sort of budgetary caps that are being imposed by Brussels, and they could spend more on infrastructure." But support is also rising for French President Francois Hollande. His popularity at its highest in three years with voters backing his handling of the militant attacks in Paris. But with unemployment at its highest since 1997, favour may be short lived. Also under pressure - Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy facing a general election on December 20th. Rajoy is struggling to shore up support for his centre-right People's Party after a four-year term dominated by economic crisis. He is trying to capitalise on signs of recovery. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARKET STRATEGIST, BGC PARTNERS, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "This comes against a backdrop where the Spanish economy is actually doing quite well. We had industrial production numbers out this morning and whilst a touch disappointing, 4% year on year against a 4.1% expectation. That's a pretty good number." But polls suggest Rajoy will fall short of a majority. Austerity measure and disgust with corruption in high places have fuelled the rise of new parties. The liberal Ciudadanos and the left-wing anti-austerity Podemos both threatening to break the mould.

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Ruling parties brace in France and Spain

Friday, December 04, 2015 - 01:41