From the left: Mariano Rajoy, Josep Piqué and José María Aznar during the proclamation act of Josep Piqué in September 2003
The People's Party (Spanish: Partido Popular) is a large liberal-conservative political party in Spain.
It was the governing party from 1996 to 2004, led by Prime Minister (Presidente del Gobierno) José María Aznar. In August 2003, Mariano Rajoy was named Aznar's successor and was the party's candidate for the prime ministership in the Spanish general election, 2004.
The PP lost the 2004 election to the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE). The election fell under the shadow of the March 11, 2004 Madrid attacks which had happened just three days before. It is speculated that the Government intention of manipulate the information about the terrorist bombing may have been responsible for the PP's upset. Prime Minister Aznar was a prominent supporter of the 2003 Iraq war; Spain's support was thought to be the motive for the attack. The PP was also accused of politicizing the attack, by insisting that the Basque separatist movement ETA was responsible, rather than al-Qaida, even after the government knew the truth, in order to keep in the power.
The PP is the largest minority party in the Congress of Deputies, with 148 out of 350 deputies, and is only 4 seats short of a majority in the Senate, with 126 out of 259 senators.
In the European Parliament it sits with the European People's Party and has 24 MEPs.
The People's Party was a refoundation of the People's Alliance (Alianza Popular), a party led and founded by Manuel Fraga Iribarne for those supporters of the Franco regime that -theoretically- accepted the democracy after Franco's death. PP gathered the conservative AP and several small Christian democratic parties. Manuel Fraga received the honorific title of "Founding President" and retired from the national spotlight to Galician politics.
PP left the Conservative International and joined the Christian Democratic International. They succeeded in expelling the Basque EAJ-PNV from the CDI. Aznar's protege, Alejandro Agag -his son-in-law- later led the CDI and changed it into the Center Democratic International, lessening that Christian democrat leaning.
See also: Politics of Spain, List of political parties in Spain.
- Partido Popular website (http://www.pp.es) (Spanish)