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Madrid Mayor Ana Botella will not run in 2015 elections

Wife of former Spanish PM has suffered from waning popularity and a lack of party support

Ana Botella announcing her plans not to run in next year's elections.
Ana Botella announcing her plans not to run in next year's elections.

Madrid Mayor Ana Botella, of the center-right Popular Party (PP), will not run in the 2015 municipal elections.

Botella made the announcement on Tuesday at a press conference, during which she took no questions.

“I feel that I have done my duty, and a period of my life is coming to a close,” said the mayor. “The government team that I lead still has many months of work ahead of it and many projects to complete, and we will continue to work with the same enthusiasm until the last day.”

There had been speculation in recent months that the wife of former prime minister José María Aznar would make this decision.

Earlier this year Botella said she still wanted to run in the next elections

Last month, Botella suggested that PP officials from Madrid were trying to remove her from her post.

Potential candidates to replace her include the government delegate in Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, and former regional premier Esperanza Aguirre – although the latter’s involvement in a recent hit-and-run incident could hinder her chances.

Botella’s popularity ratings have declined in recent months. Two people have died in Madrid within the space of 90 days as a result of falling tree branches, while the death of five young girls on Halloween night in 2012 at an overcrowded party in Madrid Arena triggered the resignation of several of Botella’s team members.

The mayor’s image was also damaged after Madrid failed in its bid to win the 2020 Olympic Games, during which she made a speech in English that caused much hilarity in Spain.

But earlier this year Botella made clear she still wanted to run in the next elections, and made campaign promises that included the elimination of trash removal taxes, free remote assistance for the elderly, and a summer food delivery program for at-risk children. However, her plans required approval from PP headquarters.

Botella became mayor after Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón left the seat empty in December 2011 to become the new justice minister under Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The PP has governed the city of Madrid uninterruptedly since 1991.

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