Wife of former Spanish PM to be mayor of Madrid

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Right-leaning Spanish politician Ana Botella, wife of former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, will be made mayor of Madrid next week, the deputy mayor said Thursday.

The 58-year-old Botella inspires sharply divided reactions among Spaniards and is known for some controversial remarks.

"Homosexual marriage will never be equal to heterosexual marriage in the same way that two apples produce another apple, but an apple and a pear will never produce another apple," she famously declared in 2004.

The leadership of Spain's capital was left open when Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon was named Wednesday as justice minister in the new Popular Party government.

Ruiz-Gallardon formally gave up his position in the city, leaving deputy mayor Manuel Cobo temporarily in charge of the capital, where the Popular Party has a majority.

City hall will hold an extraordinary meeting on December 27 at which Botella, who was number two on the Popular Party list for the municipality, will be formally elected to the mayor's job, Cobo told journalists.

"I think she will do it very well," he said.

A lawyer by training, Botella entered Madrid politics in 2003 and was responsible for Madrid social services and later the environment.

© 2011 AFP

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