Spain’s opposition Popular Party to elect new leader after power struggle

Spain’s main opposition Popular Party (PP) is set to appoint its new leader following a well-publicised power struggle.

Alberto Núñez Feijóo is expected to be named the new party chief during a two-day conference in the southern city of Seville.

The 60-year-old — who has led the northwestern region of Galicia for 13 years — is the only candidate in line to succeed outgoing party leader Pablo Casado.

Casado stepped down from the role last month after an internal battle with Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the party’s rising star and president of the Madrid region.

Díaz Ayuso was placed under an internal investigation after accusing her party leader of waging a smear campaign against her and her family.

Allegations surfaced that the Madrid president signed a contract for COVID-19 facemasks, due to her brother’s personal relationship with a company.

Díaz Ayuso directly accused Casado — and the party — of trying to discredit her «personally and politically» and linking her to corruption «without evidence».

The European prosecutor’s office is also continuing investigations into the allegations.

The Madrid President gained great popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic for her stance on health restrictions and the reopening of the city’s hospitality sector.

Casado meanwhile had achieved the party’s worst-ever electoral results in the April 2019 legislative elections.

Two former PP prime ministers — José María Aznar and Mariano Rajoy — are expected to speak at this week’s conference in Seville.

For many officials, Núñez Feijóo is a natural choice for the PP’s leadership given his political experience.

The conservative party is aiming to capitalise on social discontent within Spain amid record inflation and return to power for the first time since 2018.

The country’s next parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2023.

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