PP leader in Andalusia steps down after four failures to win power
Final disappointment came when conservatives won most seats but failed to form Socialist-ousting majority
Javier Arenas, the longtime Popular Party (PP) leader in Andalusia, who failed four times in his attempts to wrest the region from the Socialist Party, is going to step down as party leader, officials announced on Monday.
Arenas, 54, won't run for reelection as Andalusian PP president at next month's regional convention, secretary general Antonio Sainz announced Monday. Seville Mayor Juan Ignacio Zoido will take over from Arenas as organizer of the party event, which will take place from July 13 to 15.
After the announcement of Arenas' departure was made public, PP secretary general María Dolores de Cospedal praised him for the "magnificent work" done in Andalusia, and said that he will be given a top party post. She didn't clarify what position Arenas will hold or whether he will join the Rajoy government. Under Prime Minister José María Aznar, Arenas served as public administrations minister and Cabinet chief.
His resignation from the Andalusia PP comes nearly three months after Arenas failed to obtain enough votes in the March 25 regional elections to form a government. Although Arenas won the elections, the PP only obtained 50 seats, as opposed to the incumbent Socialists, who won 47 seats. Socialist José Antonio Griñán was able to form a government thanks to the 12 seats won by the United Left (IU).
In 2008, Arenas failed in his third attempt to wrest the region from the Socialists, even though the PP secured one of the biggest percentage figures of votes ever in Andalusia.