Rajoy enjoys support of PP barons as convention vote looms
Rajoy remains unchallenged as he continues to be the only candidate to the party leadership four days before the national convention in Valencia.16 June 2008
MADRID - With four days to go before the Popular Party (PP) national convention in Valencia, Mariano Rajoy continues to be the only candidate to the party leadership.
Recent weeks had been rife with rumours that a rival would step forward as an alternative to Rajoy, under whose leadership the PP has lost two consecutive general elections.
El Pais asked regional premiers in PP-ruled areas outside Madrid where they stand on Rajoy's re-election. Regional support from the "PP barons" has been key to buttressing the leader against internal opposition from a more conservative faction seeking a "return to values."
One of this group's most vocal members was Madrid premier Esperanza Aguirre. On Saturday Aguirre declined an invitation by Rajoy to join his management team.
However, El Pais found that regional support for Rajoy outside Madrid continues to be strong, and that he is still viewed as the best candidate to lead the PP into the 2012 elections. Only Aguirre and La Rioja premier Pedro Sanz declined to talk to this newspaper.
"The key to our next victory is to ensure that when citizens think about the PP, they think about the future," said Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, a Rajoy supporter. "We have to come up with a project that looks to the future, not one that is trapped in the past."
[El Pais / Carlos Elordi Cúe / Daniel Verdú / Expatica]