Núñez Feijóo on Wednesday. / EFE

Alberto Núñez Feijóo launches his bid to be Partido Popular leader

Outgoing PP president, Pablo Casado has said his conscience is clear over recent events leading up to him standing down

MARÍA EUGENIA ALONSO / SUR MADRID.

Alberto Núñez Feijóo announced his candidacy this week to lead the Partido Popular (PP), Spain's centre-right, main opposition party. Núñez Feijóo is currently regional president of Galicia where he has won four elections with overall majorities.

The vacancy at the top of the PP comes after last month's dramatic confrontation between current national leader, Pablo Casado, and the president of Madrid's regional government, Isabel Díaz Ayuso. Casado's team's apparent failed attempt to smear Díaz Ayuso led to the PP's biggest ever internal crisis and Casado being forced to accept elections for a new national leader in which he will not stand.

Alberto Núñez Feijóo, 60, is seen as a competent and popular politician capable of drawing the party together and also effectively fight against the growing support for right-wing Vox.

Announcing his widely expected candidacy in his native Galicia on Wednesday, Núñez Feijóo said he felt "ready" to lead the party. "I am not in politics to look the other way or get comfortable," he explained.

Other candidates may yet come forward, although the Galician is by far the favourite among the PP party. There will be a party congress in Seville on 1-2 April for the vote.

Casado bows out

A day earlier on Tuesday, delegates of the PP's executive assembly had met in Madrid. Speaking at the meeting, Pablo Casado defended his record and his behaviour towards Ayuso Díaz.

He said he was sorry, "for all I have done wrong," but he was going with a clean conscience, adding that he felt he "did not deserve" the reaction he had been subjected to in recent weeks.

Isabel Díaz Ayuso was told this week that she would not get her wish for Casado and his former number two, Teodoro García Egea, to be expelled from the party.