Spain's conservatives to choose new leader in July

MADRID: Spain's conservative Popular Party will choose a new leader in late July, its outgoing head Mariano Rajoy said on Monday, 10 days after he was ousted as premier.

A major figure within Spanish politics for the past 14 years, Rajoy was unseated after losing a parliamentary vote of no confidence on June 1, later saying he would stand down as head of the PP.

But he will stay on as PP chief until a successor is chosen at a special session which will take place on July 20-21, he said after talks with the party on Monday.

One of Europe's longest-serving prime ministers, Rajoy said he would not get involved in who would succeed him.

"My last decision was to leave, so I'm not going to take another decision regarding the PP. None of those eligible to run for the party leadership needs my support. I have no successor nor heir" in mind, said Rajoy who took over the party in 2004.

Among those tipped to replace Rajoy as party chief is former defence minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal, former deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria or Alberto Nunez Feijoo, president of the northwestern Galicia region. — AFP