June 27, 2022

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Spain’s People’s party backs Feijóo to restore its fortunes

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Spain’s battered and bruised opposition People’s party proclaimed Alberto Núñez Feijóo, one of the country’s most experienced politicians, as its new leader on Saturday, as it seeks to re-establish itself as a party of government.

The choice of Feijóo by 98 per cent of those attending a special congress in Seville follows the self-destruction of the previous leadership in an internecine PP fight.

“This is just the beginning . . . Spain deserves better,” said Feijóo, the long-serving leader of Galicia, the north-west region that has produced three of the centre-right party’s leaders during the PP’s 33 years of existence.

Calling for “adult” rather than “infantile” politics, he has set out the goals of cutting taxes, improving public services and increasing investment.

But the biggest challenge facing the 60-year-old is the rise of the hard right Vox party, which has torn away voters from the PP and now rivals it in the polls.

“Feijóo is the party’s natural leader, the person the PP should have chosen last time around,” says Lucía Méndez, a leading Spanish journalist who has known the politician for 15 years.

“His main goal is to win back the votes his party has lost to Vox — if he can’t do it, probably no one can.”

Feijóo, who won his fourth consecutive absolute majority in Galician elections in 2020, has presided over his region while the PP as a whole has been racked by crisis.

The party was ejected from national power amid a corruption scandal in 2018 — after which Feijóo declined to run in a divisive battle for the leadership — and suffered its worst election defeat the following year.

Vox, which was formed by former PP politicians, subsequently rose in the polls, winning 18 per cent in regional elections in Castile-León this February.

Soon afterwards, Pablo Casado, the PP’s 41-year-old then leader, was pushed out following months of a debilitating internal party feud.

Party officials say this…

2022-04-02 09:22:32

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