News looking good for the European left

The French elections are quickly approaching, and things are looking good (but not great) for Socialist candidate François Hollande

A quick look at the 13 – yes, 13 – polls carried out recently reveals … not a lot for the first round, next month.

Four suggest Sarkozy is leading, seven have the socialist candidate, François Hollande, ahead, and two have them neck-and-neck. The leader of the far-right Front National (FN), Marine Le Pen, is given a first-round score ranging from 13.3% to 18%, in an election when even 1% is going to make a difference.

Six of the 13 polls give the former prime minister, and Sarkozy’s sworn enemy, Dominique de Villepin between 1% and 1.5%. There is only one problem: he’s not even standing.

Interesting times.

Then in Spain, the austerity budgets of the recently elected People’s Party (Conservative) government are coming up against massive resistance

Spain‘s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, faces the toughest week of his three months in office as he is forced to announce up to €40bn (£33.45bn) in spending cuts and taxes in a budget on 30 March, the day after a general strike.

Rajoy was recently forced to backtrack by fellow EU leaders who refused to accept the deficit target of 5.8% of GDP Spain set unilaterally for this year. They told him to cut to 5.3%.

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