Spain’s conservatives put their trust in Feijo, the boring man who wins every election. wagon radio 720

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Conservative politician Alberto Nunez Feijó, whose polls suggest he’s likely to become Spain’s next prime minister, likes to remember himself as a mild-mannered “village boy” from the countryside in northwestern Spain. He is humble, outspoken and even boring as he describes himself.

The conservative People’s Party candidate in Sunday’s general election is little known outside Spain, but is Spain’s most solid regional leader so far this century, having never lost an election. Feijo was a political champion during 13 years of rule in Galicia, a region in northwestern Spain home to 20th-century dictator Francisco Franco and former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who ruled Spain from 2011 to 2018 as leader of the PP Party.

Feijo seized power in 2009 as the regional president of Galicia and won four absolute majority parties by 2022, but resigned and headed for Madrid on a mission to save the party’s biggest leadership crisis in its history.

Feijo has built a public image as a no-nonsense director. In his view, he contrasts with Spain’s current Socialist Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, and accuses Feijó of doing things to cling to him.

Miguel Ancho Bastos, a professor of political science at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), said: “Feijo is an experienced politician and a good manager who, for better or worse, does not draw attention to himself, which can even be a plus.” “He doesn’t have very prominent ideological goals, but he’s more progressive than his party. He’s a sort of conservative Social Democrat who defends the role of the state. He doesn’t want to revolutionize anything, he just makes the service work.”

But his critics say there are ruthless campaigners hiding beneath his innocuous face, and when election time comes, they can throw dirt like the best of the best. Since being appointed leader of Spain’s Conservative Party, Feijo’s only motto has been “Abolish Santismo,” a term that refers to the way Sanchez governs.

“To abolish means to end the style, not the essence[of the Sánchez government]. Even if Ms. Feijot becomes prime minister, we should not expect a big turnaround. At best, it will be a step back in some of Ms. Sánchez’s more controversial laws, such as the Act on Memory of History and the Act on the Rights of Transgenders for Free Gender Determination,” said Chaussé, a prominent former Galician politician and political scientist and author of a book on the actions and thoughts of the Populist candidate. Luis Barreiro said.

Barreiro says one of Feijo’s big strengths is its timing. After a successful career as a high-ranking civil servant in Galicia and the city of Madrid, serving as postmaster general in Spain, he joined PP at the age of 41 and is now running for his first general election at the age of 61. If elected, he would be the oldest Spanish president to take office for the first time.

Even in private life, Feijoo is a man who keeps his time. He met his current partner, Eva Cardenas, a former exec at Inditex’s Zara Home, in 2009, but didn’t start dating until four years later. In 2017, when Feijoo was 55, the couple’s first child, Alberto Jr., was born. It was a joy for the candidate’s mother, Sila Feyjo, who lamented in a 2009 election video that her son “said he married Galicia and Galicia won’t give me her grandchildren.” A rather monastic word that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Feijoo. In the same video, his sister Mikaela said she used words like “distant” and “bookworm” to describe the conservative candidate’s image.

Feijo faces the uncomfortable dilemma of forming a coalition with the far-right Vox if he wins the election, but polls largely deny it. It will be the first time that far-right forces have entered the Spanish government since the fall of Franco’s dictatorship. Feijo congratulated Vox on several local governments after last May’s municipal and local elections, and has already subtly acknowledged that he would do so if necessary.

Vox has been a staunch advocate for the repeal of gender-violence laws and a reduction in the powers of local governments, a position that could put him at odds with Feijo, especially given his background as a speaker of the Galician dialect and Spain’s decentralized state. Compared to Vox candidate Santiago Abascal and the younger generation of the Populist Party, Mr. Feijo is a traditional conservative, more interested in balancing the budget than in a culture war with the Spanish left.

“He’s not used to culture wars and has no coalition experience, so the box might get him into trouble,” Bastos said.

“He’s not aiming to abolish the pillars of the current regime, that’s not his style. Feijot doesn’t want trouble,” Bastos added. “He’s governing without tension or major government crises. Logic says he won’t change much if he becomes prime minister, but it will depend on how much pressure he’s under from Vox.”

Feijo is troubled by his 1990s relationship with Martial Dorado. Dorado was a businessman who, while serving the Galician government when Feijo was number two in the health department, also ran an infamous tobacco smuggling ring.

Feijoo and Dorado maintained a close friendship for nearly ten years. They shared summer vacations and Christmas vacations. In 2013, several photos of a Galician trip and boat ride from 1995 came to light. In particular, a photo of Feijoo in a bathing suit and sunglasses posing with Dorado on a yacht has haunted him ever since. Dorado is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering charges.

Feijo said he cut ties as soon as he learned of Dorado’s illegal business. The Socialist Party is trying to express an inexplicable friendship in the final stages of the election campaign. Spain’s conservatives put their trust in Feijo, the boring man who wins every election. wagon radio 720

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