MADRID: Alberto Nunez Feijoo, who’s hoping to change into Spain’s subsequent prime minister, likes to painting himself as a middle-of-the-road politician promising stability and a gradual hand on the tiller.
A local of Galicia within the rural northwest, the 61-year-old is hoping his reasonable stance and dull-but-dependable model will win over the voters when Spain votes on July 23.
When he took over as head of the right-wing opposition Well-liked Get together (PP) in April 2022, he was hailed as a realistic reasonable and a protected pair of arms to guide a celebration recovering from one of many worst inside crises in its historical past.
“Feijoo is very predictable, he likes to show off his transparency and present himself as a reliable, trustworthy politician,” stated Fran Balado, a Galician journalist and creator of the e-book “Feijoo’s Journey” (2021).
“He’s a moderate because he manages to attract progressive voters and he’s a pragmatist whom people trust,” he informed AFP.
Till final 12 months, Feijoo spent his political profession in Galicia the place he was first elected regional chief in 2009 with an absolute majority — a feat he went on to repeat three extra occasions.
“The Feijoo brand of moderation managed to win him majority support four times because he really managed to woo people, even if they consider themselves social democrats,” Balado stated.
“He’s trying to win that centre ground because that’s where he believes most people are.”
Throughout his years on the helm of Galicia, Feijoo managed to maintain the far-right at bay, which by no means received a single seat within the regional parliament regardless of its nationwide resurgence.
However though the PP is slated to win this election, it will not be with an absolute majority which means Feijoo might possible want help from the far-right social gathering Vox to rule — a troublesome proposition for somebody who has constructed his popularity on being a reasonable.
For months, Feijoo has relentlessly vowed to “overthrow Sanchismo”, a derisory slogan concentrating on the insurance policies and individual of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez — a tactic geared toward deflecting powerful questions on Vox, stated Pablo Simon, political scientist at Madrid’s Carlos III College.
“We know he opposes Sanchez but we don’t know what type of government he wants…, he’s trying to maintain some kind of ambiguity,” stated Simon, who stated Feijoo at all times performs his playing cards near his chest and stays one thing of an enigma.
“You don’t really know if he’s going one way or the other, it depends on the circumstances. And that’s part of the game.”
Born on September 10, 1961, within the village of Os Peares, Feijoo grew up in a working-class household.
His father labored in building and his mom ran a grocery store.
A studious little one, he learn legislation in Santiago de Compostela, hoping to change into a decide. However when his father was left jobless, he pitched in to assist, changing into a civil servant in 1985.
His curiosity in politics was piqued at college, when he would watch debates on tv.
But it surely was solely in 1991 that he received his foot on the political ladder, taking a job at Galicia’s agriculture ministry with a politician who later turned Spain’s well being minister and took Feijoo with him to Madrid in 1996.
There, Feijoo ran Insalud, Spain’s nationwide well being service on the time. In 2000, he took over as head of the Correos postal service.
Three years after returning to Galicia, he turned regional head of the PP in 2006, main it to victory in 2009.
Regardless of saying his “highest political ambition” was to be Galicia’s chief, the village boy from Os Peares packed his luggage and moved to Madrid final 12 months and now hopes to change into “the first prime minister from rural Spain”.
Though he has stable popularity as one of many PP’s most-respected leaders, Feijoo has no expertise in worldwide politics and doesn’t converse English, elevating eyebrows this 12 months after referring to US rock legend Bruce Springsteen as “Bruce Sprinter”.
Usually very guarded about his non-public life, he gave an interview to El Mundo’s girls’s complement in March, providing a uncommon glimpse at Feijoo the household man.
Described as “rather austere and not prone to the frenzy of fashion trends”, Feijoo informed the journal that changing into a father in his mid-50s together with his accomplice Eva Cardenas was the “best gift life has given me”.
“I didn’t want children before.. [but] I’m very happy to have had a son just before the final whistle,” admitted Feijoo, who can typically be seen strolling by means of Madrid’s upmarket Chamartin district together with his six-year-old son Alberto and canine Cata, a schnauzer.
A self-professed “neat-freak and perfectionist” who’s “very demanding,” Feijoo is near his mum Sira and says he rings her if he is had “a bad day”.
Though he does not cook dinner — “I’m a specialist at opening tins” — he is an aficionado of conventional Galician dishes, notably goose barnacles and recent spider crab, and a fan of Galician soccer group Deportivo de La Coruna.