A SENIOR member of the conservative Popular Party (PP) has announced her shock resignation following a meeting with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Esperanza Aguirre, head of the regional government in Madrid, said her decision was due to ‘personal reasons’ and a desire to spend more time with her family.

The 60-year-old, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, had widely been touted as the favourite to succeed Rajoy as party leader.

“I have called you here to announce my decision to resign from my posts as deputy in the regional assembly and regional premier,” an emotional Aguirre told a press conference.

“I have reached the conclusion that it is an appropriate moment to step down.”

She added: “I want to thank those who have voted for me. And those who never have.”

In a statement Rajoy said the pair held an ‘affectionate and intimate encounter’ before thanking her for ‘her long political career’.

Deputy regional premier Ignacio Gonzalez will take over as head of the Madrid regional government.


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