'No English? No problem' says Spain opposition leader

01 Jun 2023 10:20pm
Opposition leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo - Facebook
Opposition leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo - Facebook

MADRID, Spain - Opposition leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo, whom polls suggest could be Spain's next prime minister, admitted Thursday he didn't speak English but brushed it off saying there were always "translators".

"My problem is English... I have to start studying it," he told Telecinco television in his first interview since his right-wing Popular Party (PP) scored a major victory in Sunday's local and regional elections.

"I already had an English teacher set up to start learning on Monday, but now it turns out I've been called to a general election. Well, no problem," Feijoo said.

"International summits normally have translators and what's most important is that I know what I want to say." On Monday morning, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez - whose ruling Socialists suffered a drubbing in Sunday's polls - caught the country off guard by calling snap elections on July 23.

Spain takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union on July 1.

During the regional election campaign, Feijoo went viral after he was caught on camera mispronouncing US rock legend Bruce Springsteen's name, calling him "Bruce Sprinter" during a party rally.

Spain has had a long history of prime ministers who do not speak English.

One was the former PP prime minister Mariano Rajoy who, when asked a question in English by the BBC at a press conference in 2017, dismissed it with a wave.

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"Hombre, no," he retorted, or "Oh man, no", despite years of private English classes dating back to 2009 when he was opposition leader.

Sanchez is Spain's first prime minister to be fluent in English. - AFP