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Mariano Rajoy, current prime minister of Spain and PP president
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Maria Dolores de Cospodel, secretary-general of the PP
Here are some interesting facts and figures about el Partido Popular:
HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?
- Founded in 1976 by Franco’s one-time tourism minister Manuel Fraga, it was originally called Alianza Popular (AP). The name was changed 13 years later.
- AP struggled to win support from voters, despite forming coalitions with various other small political parties. When it came into being in 1989, the Partido Popular (PP) was made up not only of AP, but also the Partido Liberal and Democracia Cristiana, an existing coalition known as the Coalición Popular.
- In its statutes, the party is referred to as being centre-reformist; however, it is generally regarded as being the home of Spain’s right-wing conservatives with a close relationship to the Catholic church.
-186: the number of Congress seats the party won in last November’s general election, giving them an absolute majority and their best electoral result to date.
- While the white bird that is seen on the PP’s insignia is now officially referred to as a seagull (gaviota), it was originally described as an albatross, and Golden Albatross (Albatros de Oro) awards have been handed out to party members.
- Following a series of corruption scandals involving some high-ranking members of the party, earlier this year, the PP announced that courses in ‘professional ethics’ were being organised to help avoid more incidences of nepotism, abuse of power and similar.
- Unlike the Catalan Socialist party (PSC), the Partit Popular de Catalunya is not an entity in its own right, but simply a regional offshoot of the main party. Catalunya’s relationship with the PP has never been easy. With the party largely adhering to centralist, Madrid-focused policies, it has made numerous political and legal moves regarded by many locally as attacks on the region’s autonomous authority as well as its culture and language.
-51,300: the number of Facebook ‘likes’ the PP has. To put that into context, Rajoy himself has over 82,000, the PSOE has managed just 39,600 and the British Labour Party is liked by 121,300 Facebookers.
BACK IN POWER: THE STORY SO FAR.
Taking the reins of power from the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) at the end of 2011, with Spain facing almost 25 percent unemployment and an approaching recession, the right-wing PP was thrown in at the deep end with its first government in eight years. Prime Minister Rajoy was slow to announce his plans for his first term of office and, since January, has largely been dancing to the tune of Europe; an attempt to unilaterally set Spain’s spending deficit for the year (way beyond the limits allowed by the EU) was given short shrift by Brussels. Public spending cuts and labour reform (which has made it easier to make employees redundant) have brought protests from trade unions, students and workers, culminating in a general strike on March 29th. They have also angered some sectors with plans to make abortion laws more restrictive and there are fears that they will at some point reverse the PSOE-introduced law allowing gay marriages. A much-predicted PP absolute majority in the Andalucian regional elections in mid-March failed to appear— a sign of things to come?