Popular Party loses former spokesman to Telefónica
Zaplana resigns seat in Congress to take up private sector jobMadrid - Eduardo Zaplana, the Popular Party's sharp-tongued spokesman in Congress during the last legislature, announced Tuesday that he is giving up his seat in parliament to become Telefónica's chief lobbyist in Brussels.
Zaplana's withdrawal from Spanish politics to the private sector comes almost two months after the PP's second consecutive general election defeat to the Socialists, after which the 52-year-old Valencian politician resigned as party spokesman. His decision to abandon his Congress seat altogether suggests a new rupture within the punch-drunk conservative party, where he had long been seen as a hard-line heavyweight in the ilk of former Prime Minister José María Aznar.
"I think this is best for me and for the party at the moment and that is why I have accepted [Telefónica's] offer," Zaplana said yesterday. At Telefónica, Zaplana will take over as the telecommunication giant's head of European relations.
PP leader Mariano Rajoy, who is currently struggling to put down dissent within the party's top ranks, described Zaplana as having been an "extraordinary" spokesman for the party and said he hoped he would continue to "collaborate" to the degree that his new job permits.
Madrid premier Esperanza Aguirre, who is widely viewed as a potential challenger to Rajoy at a party convention in June, described Zaplana's decision as "bad news."
Zaplana's announcement came on the same day that his successor as PP spokesperson, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, finished appointing the party's spokespersons in Congressional committees. Notable absences include the PP's number two candidate in the election, Manuel Pizarro, and Juan Costa, Rajoy's campaign coordinator.