Oct. 22 - Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy received some backing for his austerity programme as he won an election in his home region of Galicia, although nationalist parties won instead in the Basque Country. The Galicia election was viewed as a referendum on the Spanish government's handling of the euro zone crisis, and analysts are asking if Rajoy will now decide to ask for a bailout. Joanna Partridge reports.
Election success for the head of Galicia's government, Alberto Nunez Feijoo. He's regional leader of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's People's Party. Sunday's two regional elections in Spain were seen as a referendum on Rajoy's austerity programme and his goverment's handling of the euro zone crisis. The PP passed the test in Rajoy's home region of Galicia, where they retained their absolute majority. SOUNDBITE: MONICA SOANE, SPANISH VOTER, SAYING (Spanish): "People are fed up with everything. Things need to change. The results are what the majority of us chose." SOUNDBITE: JOSE LUIS CAUSEIRO, SPANISH PENSIONER, SAYING (Galician): "I think apart from in a very few cases, absolute majorities are a bad thing." It was a different story in the Basque Country, where nationalist parties won. That may make life difficult for Rajoy's centre-right government. But analysts like Miguel Murado say the Galicia victory gives Rajoy some breathing space. SOUNDBITE: MIGUEL MURADO, POLITICAL ANALYST, SAYING (English): "It is not that he has put behind him all the problems or anything or that his economy policies have been validated but it is clearly a relief. Mostly because we see that his socialists rivals are continuing their free fall." The election results didn't spur investors to action, and Spanish stocks were flat on Monday. Many analysts expected Rajoy to wait until after the elections to ask for a full sovereign bailout - Fiona Cincotta from City Index says the markets may now get restless. SOUNDBITE: Fiona Cincotta, Market analyst, City Index, saying (English): "Now he's got the support of his region perhaps he'll feel the confidence to actually press forward and ask for the bailout. Yields at the moment are still sticking pretty low for that 10 year benchmark government debt, so until they start to rise again, which could not be that far away because the market has been quite patient up until now, so we might be starting to see a bit more action coming forward." While Rajoy's party remains popular in his home region, the result in the Basque Country could be more telling. Catalonia - where the independence movement has been gaining momentum - goes to the polls in a month's time. Spain has fallen into its second recession since 2009, and the IMF's prediction that the economy will shrink by 1.3% next year - could only fuel regional resistance to Rajoy's policies.