Spain′s conservative Popular Party elects Pablo Casado as new leader | News | DW | 21.07.2018
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Spain's conservative Popular Party elects Pablo Casado as new leader

Pablo Casado is the new leader of Spain's Popular Party, replacing Mariano Rajoy, who resigned last month. Casado could become Spain's next prime minister if his party wins general elections due by 2020 at the latest.

Spain's conservative Popular Party (PP) picked Pablo Casado as its new leader on Saturday, after former leader Mariano Rajoy was ousted as Spain's prime minister in a no-confidence vote in June.

Casado had been running against Rajoy's former right-hand woman Soraya Saenz de Santamaria in a hostile campaign that saw mystery videos released attacking both candidates.

Saenz de Santamaria told journalists she was conceding the race ahead of the official result announcement after PP deputies cast their ballots in Madrid. 

Both candidates were voted through a first round of unprecedented primaries at the PP.

Saturday's victor could become Spain's next prime minister if the PP wins general elections due to take place by 2020.

Following Rajoy's ousting over a corruption scandal, Spain's Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez was sworn in as prime minister on June 2.

Casado to steer party right

Casado, 37, is expected to take the Popular Party further to the right. He has previously criticized Saenz de Santamaria's management of the separatist crisis in Catalonia when she was in charge of relations between Madrid and regions.

He has taken a tough stance on Catalonia, calling for additional offences, such as illegally calling a referendum, to be added to the criminal code to harden Spain's legal response to the secession threat.

Read more: Catalan independence - What you need to know

"Dialogue doesn't work with those who want to break the law," he said this week.

He is also against depenalizing euthanasia as promoted by the Socialist government and wants to lower income and corporate taxes.

A total of 3,082 delegates cast their vote in Madrid for the successor to Rajoy, who spoke for the last time as PP leader on Friday.

In a long, emotional speech, 63-year-old Rajoy had asked PP members to "be responsible in carrying out your duties."


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