Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has dissolved the country’s parliament two months ahead of the next parliamentary elections.
Zapatero had earlier in the year announced that he would not seek a third term in office, after having held on to power since 2004.
“A stage is coming to an end, and that stage puts an end to my political activity,” AFP quoted Zapatero as saying in a news conference on Monday.
The elections will determine the country’s next prime minister.
Zapatero expressed optimism about the country’s economy, saying it would be able to climb out of its current debt crisis.
Moreover, Zapatero had in late July announced November 20 as the date for the parliament’s General Election, which was originally scheduled for March 2012.
Many analysts believe the conservative People’s Party (PP) will defeat Zapatero’s Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) in the upcoming elections.
Meanwhile, Spanish Finance Minister Elena Salgado had last week said that the country’s economic growth was moving too slowly, despite the government’s efforts to boost economic activity.
“We are recovering more slowly than we would like, in particular more slowly as regards employment which is without doubt the main problem we have,” Salgado said.
Spain faces an unemployment rate of nearly 21 percent, with more than 4.1 million Spaniards having lost their jobs due to the economic crisis.
Spain’s economy grew by a meager 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2011.
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