Monday. 17.06.2024
PEOPLE'S PARTY CONGRESS

Spain's conservative PP gets new leader after years of turmoil

Núñez Feijóo succeeds Pablo Casado, 41, who announced his retirement from politics after achieving the worst election results in the party's history.

02 April 2022, Spain, Seville: Spanish former prime minister Mariano Rajoy greets newly-elected President of the Spanish conservative People's Party (PP), Alberto Nunez Feijoo, after th latter delivered a speech on the second and last day of the PP national congress. Photo: Eduardo Briones/EUROPA PRESS/dpa.
Spanish former prime minister Mariano Rajoy (R) greets newly-elected President of the Spanish conservative People's Party (PP), Alberto Nunez Feijoo. Photo: Eduardo Briones/dpa.

Spain has a new opposition leader: Alberto Núñez Feijoo was chosen to head the crisis-wracked conservative People's Party (PP) as it looks ahead to next year's elections.

At an extraordinary party congress in Seville on Saturday, 98.35% of eligible PP members voted for the 60-year-old, who ran for the position uncontested.

Núñez Feijóo succeeds Pablo Casado, 41, who announced his retirement from politics while in Seville.

Under Casado's presidency, which he took on in 2018, the PP achieved some of the worst election results in its history.

Núñez Feijóo has been prime minister of the north-western Spanish region of Galicia since 2009 and is considered a member of the PP's moderate wing.

He is now tasked with leading the second-strongest party in the Spanish parliament to victory in a general election set for the end of next year.

The PP, founded in 1989, governed Spain from 1996 to 2004 and from 2011 to 2018.

Mariano Rajoy was ousted as prime minister in a 2018 no-confidence vote following a seemingly endless string of corruption allegations to beset the party. Pedro Sánchez of the Socialists then become prime minister.

But the party's troubles did not end with Rajoy's exit.

Power struggle

A bitter internal power struggle between Casado and Madrid's popular regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso has broken out into the open in recent months.

In mid-February, Ayuso levelled serious accusations against the party leadership, saying the party had "fabricated" allegations of corruption in order to "destroy" her.

This eventually led to Casado, who had long been a controversial figure in the PP, throwing in the towel and calling a party congress to elect a new leader.

Ayuso's break with Casado was triggered by media reports about alleged espionage by the PP leadership against her brother.

The dispute centred on Ayuso's brother having collected a commission worth €1.5 million for arranging protective masks during Spain's first coronavirus wave.

Ayuso stressed that everything was legal. Nevertheless, the anti-corruption authority is investigating.

Regardless of the election of Núñez Feijóo, Ayuso is considered the new star of the PP. On Twitter, the 43-year-old assured the new leader of her support for the time being: "We trust Feijóo," she wrote.

Spain's conservative PP gets new leader after years of turmoil