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21:32, 28 May 2017 Sunday
Update: 13:57, 18 March 2012 Sunday

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Spain's PP set for victory in Andalucia- polls
Spain's PP set for victory in Andalucia- polls

People's Party, or PP, winning 47.3 percent of the vote in the southern region of Andalucia, toppling the last Socialist stronghold in Spain, according to opinion polls on Sunday

Spain's centre-right People's Party is set to win a regional election in Andalucia on March 25, according to opinion polls on Sunday, sealing control of nearly all the country's 17 regions.

The Metroscopia poll published in left-leaning newspaper El Pais showed the People's Party, or PP, winning 47.3 percent of the vote in the southern region of Andalucia, toppling the last Socialist stronghold in Spain.

Unemployment of 31 percent and a scandal over allegedly fraudulent severance payments from a public fund have turned voters away from the Socialists, who have ruled in the autonomous Andalucia region for the past 30 years.

A Sigma Dos poll published in right-leaning daily El Mundo showed the People's Party winning 45.8 percent of the vote and between 54 and 57 seats in the Andalucian parliament. It needs 55 seats for an absolute majority there.

Spain, under pressure to reduce its public deficit, is expected to embark on sensitive austerity measures, including cuts in health and education spending in its autonomous regions, as soon as it clears the election hurdle in Andalucia.

So far, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has announced a 40 percent reduction in infrastructure spending and other investment, a 12 percent cut in spending at central government ministries and layoffs and salary cuts of up to 30 percent at public companies.

Reuters



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Libya extremist group Ansar al-Sharia announces dissolution
Libya extremist group Ansar al-Sharia announces dissolution

The Libyan jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia, which is linked to Al-Qaeda and deemed a terrorist organisation by the UN and United States, announced its "dissolution" in a communique published online on Saturday. Washington accuses the group of being behind the September 11, 2012 attack on the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi in which ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. Ansar al-Sharia is one of the jihadist groups that sprung up in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, in the chaos following the death of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. They overran the city in 2014. East Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar earlier this month launched an offensive to oust jihadist fighters from their two remaining strongholds in Benghazi. In its communique Ansar al-Sharia said it had been "weakened" by the fighting. The group lost its leader, Mohammed Azahawi, in clashes with Haftar's forces in Benghazi at the end of 2014. Most of its members then defected to the so-called Islamic State group. Ansar al-Sharia later joined the Revolutionary Shura Council of Benghazi, a local alliance of Islamist militias. At its zenith, Ansar al-Sharia was present in Benghazi and Derna in eastern Syria, with offshoots in Sirte and Sabratha, western Libya. The organisation took over barracks and other sites abandoned by the ousted Kadhafi forces and transformed them into training grounds for hundreds of jihadists seeking to head to Iraq or Syria.