Alberto Núñez Feijóo, a centrist and sober politician, was elected this Saturday president of the conservative Spanish Popular Party in the extraordinary congress that the first formation of the opposition celebrates in Seville, announced the president of the meeting, Teófila Martínez.
“Congratulations, president,” said Martínez after announcing that the sole candidacy of Feijóo, 60, president of the Galicia region since 2009, had received the 98% of the votes of the more than 3,000 delegates, who thus entrust him to close the crisis and return the party to power.
Moderate and pragmatic, Núñez Feijóo is a regional leader who arouses the unanimous respect of a Spanish right convalescing from a serious internal crisiswhich he will champion in the next elections to be held in less than two years.
The only candidate to assume the reins of the Popular Party (PP), Núñez Feijóo was officially appointed this Saturday in Seville, at the end of an extraordinary congress of conservatives convened after a fratricidal war that resulted in the fall of his former boss, Pablo Casado .
The 60-year-old Galician leader forged his solid reputation in his native regionlocated on the Atlantic coast in northwestern Spain, which he has directed for 13 years thanks to four wins in a row by absolute majority, a real feat in this country of high political fragmentation.
“Feijóo is the best leader in a difficult moment”recently stated Jorge Azconhead of the PP in the region of Aragon. “He is a serious politician, which in these times means the opposite of what we are used to seeing: frivolity. He likes to integrate, he does not divide”, he narrowed down.
A poll released in March showed that Núñez Feijóo is the nationally most respected political leader.
In the PP “everyone considers that Feijóo is the right person,” he told the AFP Fran Balado, journalist and author of the biography of the politician “El viaje de Feijóo”.
“He is a moderate because manages to seduce progressive voters“, he pointed.
This always neat and serious-looking fishing enthusiast is often described as a well-mannered “everyman” who inspires confidence.
“Responsible and obedient”
Born on September 10, 1961 in the town of Os Peares, Nuñez Feijóo grew up in a modest family with a father who worked in construction and a mother who worked in a store.
studious child described as “responsible and obedient”He enrolled in law at the University of Santiago de Compostela with the idea of becoming a judge, but had to start working in public administration in 1985 to help his family when his father became unemployed.
His first steps in politics were taken in 1991, working in the Galician “ministry” of Agriculture for a future Spanish Minister of Healthwho took him with him to Madrid in 1996.
In the capital, he directed the National Institute of Health and then the Post Officebefore returning to Galicia in 2003 as Regional Public Works Manager.
After assuming the leadership of the Galician PP in 2006, then in the midst of a crisis, won regional elections in 2009. And she started gaining fame for a strict management of public funds without cuts in health or education.
In 2018, when the Spanish Parliament ousted the president of the government and head of the PP, the also Galician Mariano Rajoy, through a motion of censure, Núñez Feijóo was seen as the natural successor to lead the Conservatives.
But he surprised all of Spain when he waited until the last moment and announced, through tears, that he would not appear.
His ascending career faced a scandal in 2013, when photos from two decades ago were published in which he could be seen on a boat with the Galician smuggler Marcial Dorado, later convicted of drug trafficking.
Núñez Feijóo recognized that they were friendsbut he said that never knew about his illegal activities in Galiciausual point of entry for cocaine into Spain.
As leader of the PP, Núñez Feijóo will have as one of his main missions win back the conservative voters seduced by the extreme right formation Voxwhich he kept at bay in Galicia without obtaining a single seat in the regional Parliament.
Discreet with his personal life, the politician’s partner is the businesswoman Eva Cardenasformer director of Zara Home, with whom she has a five-year-old boy.
Known for his love of seafood, a Galician specialty, he is a fan of the Deportivo La Coruña football club.
(With information from AFP)