Potential rival for PP chief pulls out of leadership race

10th June 2008, Comments 0 comments

Juan Costa says he is not running for the presidency of the Popular Party as he realises he will lose despite some support.

10 June 2008

MADRID - Juan Costa, the architect of the Popular Party's campaign for the March general election, has decided not to run against incumbent conservative leader Mariano Rajoy for the presidency of the party at a convention next week because he realized he would be unable to win, Manuel Fraga, the PP's founder, said Monday.

"He had support, but saw he would lose," Fraga said Monday in response to Costa's comments to the El Mundo newspaper.

In an interview, Costa acknowledged that he had found it hard to come up with the backing of the 600 delegates needed to present a rival candidacy at the convention in Valencia on 20 – 22 June.

Costa, who a week ago had openly criticised Rajoy's leadership since the PP lost the March election, was seen as the only PP official with a chance of wresting the presidency from the incumbent leader, whose recent efforts to find the "political centre" have left hardliners and grassroots supporters feeling ostracised.

With less than two weeks to go until the convention begins, it is unlikely now that anyone else will step forward. Costa has nonetheless reiterated calls for a change in the direction of the party and has said the PP's internal rules should be modified to make it easier for alternative candidates to run.

[El Pais / Expatica]

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