Soraya Saenz de Santamaria and Operation Menina

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SORAYA Sáenz de Santamaría has dismissed claims that she´s being groomed to take over as the Popular Party (PP) leader, in the event of a tight election result that precedes coalition negotiations. 

The deputy leader took Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s stead at the televised debate on December 7 clashing with the leaders of Cuidadamos, the Socialist party and Podemos. 

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Perhaps more significantly she has rivalled Rajoy as the national face of the party in recent weeks, appearing on frequent TV debates as well as hot-air ballooning and dancing on popular Spanish shows. 

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias has quipped that this is an ‘operation menina’, referencing the ladies-in-waiting period of royal Spain. 

More bitingly, he suggested that by shifting the leadership to Sáenz de Santamaría, the PP could win the support of centre-right Cuidadamos in potential coalition bargaining.  He asked Cuidadamos leader Albert Rivera whether his refusal to work with Rajoy would extend to his deputy leader. 


Mr Rivera is seen as a possible kingmaker should, as is now expected, the December 20 elections throw up a stalemate with none of the four key parties securing a majority. 

Meanwhile Sáenz de Santamaría remained on point telling reporters that “I don’t care about Operation Menina,”  “We’re going to win the elections.”





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