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Spain's ruling Socialist party, led by prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has seen its popular support collapse.
The current financial crisis and a backlash against proposed austerity measures are taking their toll:
A poll conducted for El Mundo newspaper by Sigma Dos showed on Sunday that the opposition Popular Party (PP) would take 45.6 percent of the vote if an election were held now, 10.5 percentage points ahead of Zapatero's Socialists.
Budget Minister Francois Baroin indicated on Sunday that France should not take for granted its AAA rating, which allows Paris to borrow relatively cheaply on international markets and finance its big budget deficit.
"The objective of keeping the AAA rating is an objective that is a stretch, and it is an objective that, in fact, partly informs the economic policies we want to have," Baroin said.
"We must maintain our AAA rating, reduce our debt to avoid being too dependent on the markets, and we must do this for the long term," he told Canal+ TV in an interview.