Spanish politician Isabel Carrasco shot dead in Leon

File photo: Isabel Carrasco, 13 September 2007 Ms Carrasco originally trained as a lawyer before holding various positions in Leon

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A top politician in northern Spain has been shot dead in public and two women have been arrested.

Isabel Carrasco, head of the provincial government in Leon and a member of the governing People's Party (PP), was shot as she crossed a footbridge.

Spanish media say the arrested women are the wife and daughter of a local police chief.

It is also reported that the daughter was recently fired from a job with the provincial council.

Ms Carrasco, 59, led the PP in Leon.

All the main political parties have temporarily suspended campaigning for the European elections as a mark of respect.

'Act of vengeance'

Ms Carrasco was attacked on her way to a party meeting near her home at about 17:20 local time (15:20 GMT).

A police spokeswoman told AFP news agency: "We are investigating the participation of both [women] in the act."

El Pais newspaper reported that the women were the wife and daughter of the police chief of Astorga, a town in Leon province.

Police guard a footbridge after the killing of Isabel Carrasco in Leon The scene of the shooting was a bridge over the Bernesga river in Leon
People look at police officers investigating at the site of the murder of Leon provincial council chief Isabel Carrasco in Leon, 12 May 2014 About 200 people gathered at the scene of the shooting
Police officers investigate at the site of the murder of Leon provincial council chief Isabel Carrasco in Leon, 12 May 2014 Police say that it is not clear who fired the shot, and that two women have been arrested

Police have yet to recover the weapon used in the attack, El Pais said.

A spokeswoman for the Spanish interior ministry said: "Everything points to it being a personal act of vengeance unrelated to her public position."

About 200 people later gathered near the scene of the shooting, including the Mayor of Leon, Emilio Gutierrez, and other local dignitaries.

'Dismayed'

Witnesses described how a woman shot at Ms Carrasco as she crossed a bridge over the River Bernesga.

Two witnesses told El Pais they heard five shots. "We thought they were firecrackers," one of them said.

In a statement, the PP said campaign events for the European elections had been cancelled on Monday and Tuesday, and thanked those who had offered condolences.

Mr Rajoy said on Twitter that he was "dismayed" at Ms Carrasco's death. "It is a time to be united," he added.

Spanish deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria also condemned the attack.

"These are moments of great consternation," she said. "We want to express our support and solidarity with Carrasco's family and to her colleagues at this hard time."

Map of Leon in Spain

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