The Valencia Popular Party yesterday convened an emergency meeting to proclaim the candidacy of regional premier Francisco Camps and, by so doing, cajole party leader Mariano Rajoy into confirming him as candidate in May's elections.
The haste with which the regional party'hierarchy assembled on Monday was the result of an informal statement made earlier in the day by the PP secretary general, María Dolores de Cospedal, in which she said no fixed date was set for the proclamation of Camps as the party's candidate.
Camps stands accused of receiving tailored suits from the Gürtel corruption network, whose influence among the PP has led to a series of high-profile casualties in its ranks. Last Friday the Public Anticorruption Prosecutor recommended Camps be tried for accepting bribes.
Cospedal refused to confirm whether Camps would receive the national directorate's blessing several times on Monday morning, instead repeating the mantra that Camps "is a magnificent PP premier in Valencia." The party's number two went on to say that the government is using the courts as "a weapon for political attacks" against the opposition.
Rajoy has so far kept his counsel on the matter but pressure is mounting in party circles for Camps to be named as candidate with immediate effect.
"He is the best supported candidate in history and now it is time to formalize [his candidacy]," the regional PP spokesperson, Paula Sánchez de León said last Thursday, a day before the prosecutor's findings were announced.