Madrid mayor stays in office, conservatives move to the centre

14th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, mayor of Spain's capital Madrid, said Thursday that he will stay in office despite earlier considering the possibility of stepping down.

14 March 2008

MADRID -  Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, mayor of Spain's capital Madrid, said Thursday that he will stay in office despite earlier considering the possibility of stepping down.

Ruiz-Gallardon, one of the leading politicians of the conservative opposition People's Party (PP), had considered resigning after being denied the possibility of running for a seat in parliament in Sunday's legislative elections.

The elections were won by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialists.

Ruiz-Gallardon's main rival to succeed PP leader Mariano Rajoy, Madrid regional prime minister Esperanza Aguirre, was believed to have sidelined him.

Ruiz-Gallardon is seen as representing a moderate wing of the PP against Aguirre's more conservative line.

Rajoy stopped speculation about his succession by refusing to step down despite the PP's election defeat.

He was expected to take party more to the centre by downgrading some of its hardliners. One of them, Eduardo Zaplana, announced Thursday that he was stepping down as parliamentary spokesman for the PP.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

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