Spanish opposition leader Rajoy won't quit

12th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Spain's opposition leader Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday announced he will not resign as president of the conservative Popular Party.

12 March 2008

MADRID - Spain's opposition leader Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday announced he will not resign as president of the conservative Popular Party (PP) despite his defeat in Sunday's legislative elections.

The PP chief and former interior minister would stand as a candidate for re-election at a party conference in June, according to officials from the inner-circle of the party meeting in Madrid Tuesday.

Rajoy's announcement ended speculation about his political future in the wake of the election victory of Spain's Socialists.

Rajoy, 52, has headed the PP for four years.

Many of the party's leading representatives praised Rajoy's performance in the elections, but there were also calls for self-reflection and for new people to take over the party leadership.

The PP took 153 seats in the 350-seat parliament against 169 seats for Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero`s Socialists, who were expected to seek alliances with smaller regionalist and leftist parties in order to govern.

The PP increased its number of seats by five, but the defeat was Rajoy's second to Zapatero. Rajoy's style as opposition leader has been criticised as overly aggressive.

The strongest candidates to succeed Rajoy include Madrid regional Prime Minister Esperanza Aguirre.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

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