4 Apr, 2022 @ 09:15
2 mins read

PROFILE: Who is Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, the new leader of Spain’s conservative Popular Party?

Alberto Nunez Feijoo @FeijooGalicia
Alberto Nunez Feijoo @FeijooGalicia

ON Saturday Spain’s conservative opposition anointed its new leader with the hope he would pick up the pieces of a party fractured by bitter rivalry and once again make it an electable force.

The man tipped to undertake this Herculian task is Alberto Nuñez Feijoo,who won 98.35% of the vote in an extraordinary party conference on Saturday.

The 60-year-old is touted as a moderate, steadfast and serious politician who has enjoyed huge political success in his own region of Galicia in northwestern Spain.

It is here that he was elected as regional president in 2009 with an absolute majority, repeating the feat in three subsequent elections.

His region has yet to concede a single seat to the far-right Vox party, which has gained ground elsewhere in Spain and become the third political force.

In the last national election, in November 2019, the PP barely won 5 million votes compared with 10.9 million garnered in 2011. The next election is due in late 2023.

By contrast, VOX came from nowhere to take almost 3.6 million votes in 2019 and in March, Vox entered a regional government for the first time after reaching an agreement with the PP to govern in Castilla y Leon.

“Thank you for choosing me as the president of the PP. The really important thing now is to continue together so that Spaniards choose us for the future,” he told a party conference in Seville on Saturday.

 So who is Feijoo?

He was born on September 10, 1961, in the village of Os Peares, in the Galician province of Ourense, to a working class family.

While his father worked in construction and his mother ran a grocery shop, young Alberto read law at university in Santiago de Compostela and had dreams of being a judge.

However, when is father lost his job, he became a civil servant to support the family.

It wasn’t until 1991 when he first got involved in politics after moving to a role at the regional agriculture ministry before moving to Madrid to work with the health minister.

After a stint running Insalud, Spain’s national health service at the time he took over running of the Post Office (Correos) in 2000 before returning to Galicia to work as head of Public Works and Housing in the regional administration in 2003.

Three years later he was chosen as regional head of the PP and led the party to victory in regional elections in 2009, where he has been in power ever since.

He was widely tipped to take over from former leader and fellow Gallego Mariano Rajoy in 2018 but he declined to throw his hat in the ring leaving the way open for Pablo Casado.

In his private life, he is known to be in a relationship with businesswoman Eva Cardenas, with whom he became a father for the first time at the age of 55. Their son, now five, is also called Alberto.

He has so far avoided allegations of corruption but was thrown in the spotlight when photographs emerged of him relaxing on a yacht belonging to known drug trafficker Marcial Dorado.

Feijoo is said to be a keen fisherman and a supporter of Galician football team Deportivo de La Coruña.


Fiona Govan

Fiona Govan joined The Olive Press in March 2021. She moved to Spain in 2006 to be The Daily Telegraph’s Madrid correspondent and then worked for six years as Editor of The Local Spain. She lives in Madrid’s Malasaña district with her dog Rufus.

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