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Times are different from Aznar era, says Rajoy

Published on June 24, 2008

24 June 2008

MADRID – Mariano Rajoy on Monday restated his belief in the need for the Popular Party to change with the times and move beyond the policies and style of politics embraced by former Prime Minister José María Aznar.

"We’re in a new situation in which Aznar is no longer in politics. Spain has changed, so has the PP and the problems that are on the table now are not the same as when we were in power," Rajoy said in an interview on Onda Cero radio.

The visible rift between Rajoy and Aznar underscored the tensions within the PP at the party’s convention at the weekend. Rajoy was re-elected party president, albeit in the face of a historic number of blank protest votes cast by party members more supportive of the hard-line politics of Aznar.

The tumultuous end to the PP convention comes as Spain’s governing Socialist Party gears up for its own annual meeting on 4, 5 and 6 July.

The Socialist gathering is likely to be a far more sedate affair, although party sources have said that their leader and Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is planning to change around half of the main leadership posts.

[El Pais / Ángeles Espinosa / Expatica]