• Sánchez goes after Rajoy in bid to close gap in opinion polls
• Corruption, social spending cuts dominate harsh tone of face-to-face debate
Socialist party candidate Pedro Sánchez tore into conservative governing Partido Popular (PP) candidate Mariano Rajoy over government budget cuts, Spain’s bank bailout and corruption within Rajoy’s party during Monday night’s only face-to-face televised debate between the two in the run-up to the Dec. 20th general elections.
Sánchez, seeking to close a polling gap of several percentage points between the front-running PP and his own PSOE party, repeatedly attacked the Prime Minister in the debate, telling Rajoy that he had “cut everything except corruption” and that it was “indecent” of Rajoy not to have resigned two years ago at the height of the corruption charges against Rajoy’s party.
Rajoy pledged to create 2 million jobs over the next four years, while reducing income and corporate taxes and to protect pensioners while reducing social security contributions.
Sánchez repeatedly pressed Rajoy on Spain’s 41 billion euro bank bailout and the collapse of Spanish bank Bankia under the watch of PP veteran politico, former Finance Minister and one-time IMF president Rodrigo Rato, now under investigation in Spain on charges of corruption.