April after Pablo Casado came under huge pressure to step down following a messy internal clash.
The PP will hold an extraordinary congress on April 2-3 in the southern city of Seville to choose a replacement for Casado, 41, through a vote by all members, the party said in a statement.
Barring a last-minute surprise, his replacement is likely to be Alberto Núñez Feijóo, a 60-year-old moderate and party stalwart who currently heads the northwestern Galicia region.
Casado threw his support behind Feijóo at a party meeting on Tuesday called to set a date for the congress, saying the Galician leader “has always given me his loyalty and friendship”.
Feijoo has ruled Galicia since 2009. It is the only region where the PP governs alone with a majority — a rare feat within Spain’s increasingly fragmented political landscape.
He has said he will announce his decision on whether or not to run for party chief on Wednesday after talks with the PP leadership in Galicia.
The new party head will have to patch up the damage caused by the internal battle that has gripped the party which has been struggling to cope with the rise of the far-right Vox before the next general election due in late 2023.
Some recent polls have put Vox in second place behind Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialists.
Casado, who became the party’s youngest president in mid-2018, lost two general elections to Sanchez’s Socialists.
And his lacklustre leadership took a major knock last week after he raised explosive corruption allegations about one of the party’s most popular politicians, Madrid’s regional leader Isabel Díaz Ayuso.
He accused her brother of collecting tens of thousands of euros in commissions for brokering a contract for face masks with her administration at the height of the pandemic.
Ayuso denied any wrongdoing and in turn accused Casado and his team of spying on her and trying to discredit her.
“I wish (Casado had) investigated Pedro Sánchez in as much detail as me and my family,” she said Tuesday.