Madrid mayor defies Popular Party to bid for power
20 August 2007, MADRID - Madrid's conservative mayor, one of Spain's most up-and-coming politicians and seen by many as prime minister material, has reiterated he would like to run for parliament _ defying a very blunt hint from party elders to sit tight and hush up.
20 August 2007
MADRID - Madrid's conservative mayor, one of Spain's most up-and-coming politicians and seen by many as prime minister material, has reiterated he would like to run for parliament _ defying a very blunt hint from party elders to sit tight and hush up.
Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, 48, won re-election as mayor of Spain's capital by a huge margin in local elections in May and quickly announced he would like to be on his Popular Party's ticket for general elections next March.
Ruiz-Gallardon is much less conservative than many in his party and once irritated it by saying it needed to take a new direction to recover from its electoral loss in 2004. The conservatives were incumbents then, but had backed the Iraq war and were stung by Islamic terror bombings that killed 191 people three days before the general election. Voters elected the opposition Socialists.
The mayor drew a frosty response from party leader Mariano Rajoy and others with his first proposal to run for parliament. Rajoy said the mayor could be a good candidate, but "in our party there are many other very brilliant people." He added: "Everything in due time."
The next day Ruiz-Gallardon seemed to get the message and said "if talking about this causes polemics, I will not talk any more, and that's it."
But on Sunday he resurrected the idea, saying in an interview with the national news agency Efe that he would like to run for parliament and remain mayor at the same time, a combination he said would give the city a better voice in the Spanish legislature.
He said, "I do not recall even one colleague who made a comment against my desire to be on the ticket."
The conservative newspaper El Mundo said in an editorial that Ruiz-Gallardon is being cagey about his intentions and is actually aiming to be high up in the Popular Party hierarchy in case Rajoy loses the general election and the party has to choose a new leader.
"Why doesn't Gallardon say what he really wants?" the editorial headline reads.
[Copyright AP with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news