20th May 2024
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Spain’s opposition leader admits he can’t speak English, ‘but will study it’

Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the leader of Spain’s main opposition party, the right-wing People’s Party (PP), whom polls suggest could be Spain’s next prime minister after the forthcoming general election on 23 July, acknowledged on Thursday that he doesn’t speak English but brushed it off saying there would always be ‘translators’.

‘My problem is English … I have to start studying it,’ he told Telecinco TV in his first interview since the 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,’ Feijóo said.

‘International summits normally have translators and what’s most important is that I know what I want to say.’

Spain takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union on 1 July, just three weeks before the surprise snap election.

During the regional election campaign, Feijóo 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.

‘Hombre, no,’ he said (‘Oh man, no’), despite years of private English classes dating back to 2009 when he was opposition leader. Current socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is Spain’s first prime minister to be fluent in English.

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1 comment

Felix 1st June 2023 at 9:53 pm

This is concerning. Does he speak any other languages? How did he get thru law school in the pre-computer 1980s without at least a minimum level of English? Has he travelled internationally, and if so, did he have an interpretor there also? He is a life-long civil servant/politician, according to wikipedia he’s never run a private biz . Is there any better qualified person to run against Sanchez in July? Popularity is fine, but it takes more than that to run Spain.

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