MADRID – Spanish voters kicked out the Socialist government Sunday in elections seen as a referendum on the handling of the European debt crisis, which has left Spain buckling under soaring unemployment, burgeoning debt and cuts in public benefits.
It was the fifth European government - after Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Italy - to be brought down in the past year because of the debt crisis and the Socialists' worst result since Spain held its first democratic election in 1977 after a 40-year-long dictatorship."There is no margin for a mediocre government now - time is up," said Acsa Jaquete, 25, of Madrid, an unemployed graduate. "My country needs a change and it needs it now. As of today, (the conservative party) is the only solid and real alternative."