Opposition Popular Party riven by new splits
5 July 2005, BARCELONA — The conservative popular Popular Party appeared to be in crisis after two senior figures were labelled "past it" by a leading member of of the party.
5 July 2005
BARCELONA — The conservative popular Popular Party appeared to be in crisis after two senior figures were labelled "past it" by a leading member of of the party.
Josep Piqué, leader of the Popular Party (PP) in Catalonia, north-east Spain, said the party's parliamentary spokesman, Eduardo Zaplana, and secretary general Ángel Acebes were "from the past".
Party leader Mariano Rajoy called the comments "surprising and mistaken".
He also said Piqué should not give the party's enemies a chance to seize on the matter.
Piqué later apologised but said the party needed to "open a new phase".
The outburst has been seen as symbolic of the divisions within the Popular Party which has been struggling to recover from its shock defeat in the general election last year.
Despite all expectations, the PP lost the election three days after the Madrid train bombing carried out by Islamic extremists in which 191 people died.
Repeated attempts to claim ETA were responsible for the attacks despite all the evidence to the contrary were taken as an attempt by the then-government to deceive the electorate.
The PP government of former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar was seen as trying to avoid the blame for the attacks because of its support for the US-led invasion of Iraq.
The row also comes after the PP narrowly lost the regional election in Galicia last month, a region which has long been a bastion for the party.
It also ended the career of Manuel Fraga, founder of the party and the last senior politician from the era of dictator Francisco Franco.
Fraga was information minister in the 1960s under Franco.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news