Spain’s Partido Popular has a new leader.
With 36,781 votes, 99.63 percent of the ballots cast, Alberto Nuñez Feijóo on Monday March 21st became “the most voted candidate in history for the national presidency of the Popular Party”.
Outgoing PP leader Casado, who was forced to resign in February following a spying scandal involving Madrid’s PP leader Isabel Díaz Ayuso, also threw his support behind Feijóo at his final appearance in congress.
“He has always given me his loyalty and friendship,” Casado said of the Galician leader.
Feijóo (pronounced fay-ho) has been the regional president of 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.
Feijóo, born in Ourense (Galicia) in 1961, studied Law and joined the ranks of the PP in 1996.
When the Popular Party picked a new leader following the resignation of former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in 2018, Feijóo ruled himself out of the candidacy race. Pablo Casado was elected with only 34 percent of the vote.
PP affiliates will be hoping Feijóo can bring unity to the party after the internal battle between Casado and Ayuso in February saw support for the PP plummet to 20 percent in an official Sigma Dos voting survey carried out in early March.
Much younger than the ruling PSOE Socialist Party, the PP was founded in 1976 and has historically had a conservative, Christian-democratic ideology, although the emergence of Vox has forced the party rightward on certain cultural issues.
The party was in power from 2011 until 2018, when corruption downed Mariano Rajoy’s government and led to the return to power of the socialists under Pedro Sánchez.