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Conservative Leader Urges Maximum Effort in Elections

February 9, 1987

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ The new leader of the opposition Popular Alliance called Sunday for a maximum effort by the conservative party in June’s city council and regional parliament elections.

Closing a two-day congress at which he was elected party president, 35- year-old Antonio Hernandez Mancha said ″only the Popular Alliance offers a viable alternative″ to the governing Socialists ″now that we can really call ourselves a genuinely modern and European party.″

The Socialists hold 184 of the 350 seats in the lower house of Parliament to 105 for the Popular Coalition, most of whose members belong to the Popular Allaince. But the alliance controls only two of the 17 autonomous regional governments in Spain.

Hernandez Mancha, currently opposition leader in the Andalucia regional parliament, succeeded Manuel Fraga, 64, who stepped down last December after the party’s poor showing in regional elections in the Basque country.

Fraga founded the Popular Alliance in 1976, attracting politicians who, like him, had served in the last years of the authoritarian regime of Gen. Francisco Franco.

Hernandez Mancha, a lawyer, has stressed that the party must cast off its image as being rooted in the past and broaden its appeal to attract ″those who are saddened and disgruntled by four years of Socialist government.″

None of the six members of the party’s new executive committee is a member of parliament.

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