Aguirre demands clarity on "join Liberals" jibe
Madrid premier steps up to challenge PP leader’s earlier comment in the latest development of the brewing power struggle.22 April 2008
MADRID - "I can't believe the president of my party wants to throw me out... it would be very good if he could clarify that." Esperanza Aguirre, premier of the Madrid region and potential aspirant to the leadership of the Popular Party, sought an explanation Monday over whether she is being shown the door by PP President Mariano Rajoy amid a brewing power struggle within Spain's conservative opposition.
Her comments came two days after Rajoy told party members in Elche that anyone who wants to can go "join the Liberal Party".
It appeared to be a direct allusion to Aguirre, who defines herself politically as a classical liberal and who has recently questioned Rajoy's leadership in an apparent effort to position herself to succeed him at a party convention in June.
Speaking alongside Valencia premier and PP heavyweight Francisco Camps in Madrid on Monday, Aguirre appeared taken aback by the media's interpretation of Rajoy's comments and suggested he "clarify" what he meant.
Through a spokesman, Rajoy rose to the challenge later in the day, saying that he had not been referring to Aguirre specifically. He called her a "great asset".
However, since the PP lost its second general election in a row to the Socialists on 9 March, Aguirre has appeared to be more of a thorn in Rajoy's side.
She has called for an "ideological debate" within the party, she has argued that "failures must be admitted as failures," and has refused to rule out challenging Rajoy at the party convention.
"As the card player that I am, to be discarded I first have to have cards and I haven't gotten them yet," she said cryptically on Monday.
[El Pais / C. E. Cue / A. E. / Expatica]