Rajoy reelected as Spanish opposition leader
(dpa) - Spain's opposition People's Party on Saturday reelected Mariano Rajoy to lead the party at a meeting in Valencia.
The 53-year-old politician received 84 per cent of the vote among the 3,000 delegates in attendance, 14 percentage points less than he received four years ago.
Rajoy had come under heavy criticism following his second consecutive election defeat to Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in March.
Rajoy's attempts to give the PP a more moderate image have also earned him criticism from party hardliners such as Madrid regional Prime Minister Esperanza Aguirre and Basque PP leader Maria San Gil, who dealt Rajoy a heavy blow by stepping down over her disagreements with him.
The PP's moderate wing believes the party to have lost votes in the elections over its virulent opposition to Zapatero's failed attempt to negotiate a peace deal with the militant Basque separatist group ETA.
Many female and young voters also saw the party as exceedingly conservative on social issues, with some of its representatives joining Catholic bishops at rallies against homosexual marriage and speedy divorce.
Former interior minister Rajoy, who has headed the PP since 2003.