Madrid mayor loses power struggle ahead of Spanish elections
One of Spain's top conservative politicians was mulling withdrawing from politics on Wednesday after being defeated in a power struggle within the opposition Popular Party.16 January 2008
MADRID - One of Spain's top conservative politicians was mulling withdrawing from politics on Wednesday after suffering a humiliating defeat in a ruthless power struggle within the opposition Popular Party (PP) less than two months before the general elections.
Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, who has won four successive absolute majorities in municipal elections, said he would open "a period of personal reflection" to decide whether to abandon politics after the 9 March poll.
PP leader Mariano Rajoy announced Tuesday that he had decided not to include the moderate politician among the candidates for the national parliament.
Rajoy was believed to have ceded to pressure from Esperanza Aguirre, prime minister of the Madrid region and the mayor's big rival, who has tried to oust him from the race to succeed Rajoy.
On Monday, the PP announced that the second candidate on the Madrid list after Rajoy will be Manuel Pizarro, former chairman of the energy company Endesa.
Aguirre's triumph over Ruiz-Gallardon and the choice of Pizarro were interpreted by the daily El Pais as move to the right within the PP.
Analysts predict a close race between the PP and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialists, who ousted the conservatives from power in the 2004 elections.
[Copyright dpa 2008]
Subject: Spanish news