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MADRID | The Spanish government is focused on passing its 2011 budget this autumn, a leading politician for the ruling Socialists said, playing down the risk of early elections if the budget fails to get parliamentary approval.

The budget, which will be presented to lawmakers by the end of September, will contain $12.72 billion of spending cuts and needs the backing of small, regional parties to pass.

“The government is only working under the hypothesis that it will have a budget,” Leire Pajin, leader of the Socialist party PSOE told Cadena Ser radio in an interview Sunday.

As Spain struggles to emerge from the recession and fend off worries about its ability to fund its debt, Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has promised huge spending cuts while he tries to keep his unpopular government in power until 2012 elections.

Mr. Zapatero’s Socialists have 169 seats in the lower house, seven seats short of an absolute majority. The conservative PP party, which has 153 seats of out of 350, is unlikely to support the budget, as are the CiU Catalan nationalists, with 10 seats.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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