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Zapatero had earlier in the year announced that he would not seek a third term in office, after having held on to power since 2004. “A stage is coming to an end, and that stage puts an end to my political activity,” AFP quoted Zapatero as saying in a news conference on Monday. The elections will determine the country's next prime minister. Zapatero expressed optimism about the country's economy, saying it would be able to climb out of its current debt crisis.