Spain's Rajoy backs Greek reforms ahead of poll, as countries face challenge from Left

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is in Greece to express support for the country's tough bailout program, ahead of a general election here that could see his fellow conservatives lose power to leftwing challengers.

Rajoy on Wednesday met conservative Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, and said cost cutting reforms in Greece and Spain were "bearing fruit."

Samaras' New Democracy party is facing elections on Jan. 25 and trailing in opinion polls to the leftwing Syriza party, which is demanding that at least half of the Greece's 240 billion euro ($283 billion) bailout loans be forgiven.

Rajoy, who also faces general elections as early as this year, is likewise seeing a challenge from an increasingly popular leftwing radical party, Podemos.