MADRID – The Spanish people’s party Partido Popular (PP) has elected a new leader at a party congress in Seville on Saturday. Alberto Núñez Feijóo succeeds Pablo Casado as the largest opposition leader in parliament. He got 99% of the vote.
With Feijóo, the party hopes to win back voters who have defected to the far-right Vox. Feijóo has been head of government in the northwestern region of Galicia for 13 years. There he won four consecutive regional elections without losing a seat to the far right.
‘Just the beginning’
“Thank you for choosing me as the chairman of the PP. It is now really important to move forward together so that the Spaniards choose us for the future,” Feijóo reacted to his election at the 20th party congress in Seville. The new party leader assured his audience that “this is just the beginning”.
Feijóo also referred to his ambitions, noting that his father had argued against him that “one day less is now before he becomes president of the Spanish government.” He further pointed out that his party is the only one that knows how to govern.
‘We come out to win’
“It’s not about waiting for your turn to rule, because that moment is sure to come: we’re not going to wait for the government to fall due to its ineffectiveness,” the new-fangled party leader continued. “We come out to win, not to wait for the ruling parties to lose.”
Dealing with ‘real problems’
Until then, the PP will oppose it on the basis that things should get better for Spain. Feijóo made it clear that he wants to leave divided Spain behind. He also wondered aloud why you have to clash for equality, for violence, for rejection of terrorism, or for peace. He proposes instead to leave behind “forced polemics” and deal with “real problems”.
Counterbalancing extreme right-wing Vox
Counterbalancing Vox is important for the party. Vox split from the PP in 2014 in the wake of the financial crisis in Spain. The far-right party led by Santiago Abascal is now the third-largest party in the Spanish parliament.