Rajoy closes PP convention with call for unity
Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy on Sunday appealed for unity among Spanish conservatives at the end of a three-day convention.23 June 2008
MADRID - Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy on Sunday appealed for unity among Spanish conservatives at the end of a three-day convention marred by the rifts between hardliners and moderates that have emerged since the PP lost March's general election.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, a day after being re-elected PP president, Rajoy stressed his conviction that the party must return to the political centre and end its knee-jerk opposition to the Socialist government if it is to stand a chance of victory in 2012.
"We will be a constructive and demanding opposition," Rajoy declared. "We need an opposition that highlights mistakes and is capable of offering alternatives."
Rajoy has surrounded himself with moderate party members, among them María Dolores de Cospedal, picked to become secretary general last week, and Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruíz-Gallardón, given a seat on the PP's decision-making committee at the weekend.
But in casting aside veteran conservatives, Rajoy had to run the gauntlet of criticism from hardliners over the weekend, not least former Prime Minister José María Aznar and Madrid premier Esperanza Aguirre.
Aguirre said Sunday that Rajoy's new team consists of "many good people" but also "lacks many good people."
[El Pais / A. Eatwell / Expatica]