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Meetings of party leadership, especially executive committees, tend to be confidential. As such, details of the discussions therein are only released through official channels and press conferences. That said, other details or impressions are sometimes leaked. What's surprising is when whole conversations are leaked.

That's exactly what happened after PP's meeting this Tuesday immediately following Mariano Rajoy's announcement of his resignation and an extraordinary congress to choose his successor.

Audio recordings of the meeting, held behind closed doors with the inner core of the party, have reached Spanish paper OK Diario, which is already using them in accordance with its own interests in the frenzied struggle to succeed Rajoy. So far, they have revealed that one of the de facto contenders, María Dolores de Cospedal, acting defence minister and PP's secretary general, took Rajoy's farewell as an opportunity to repudiate his predecessor as party president, José María Aznar (prime minister 1996-2004), who yesterday suggested he could return to front-line politics.

"Everything we are we owe to the person who has guided us since 2014", said Cospedal in an event expressing loyalty to Rajoy, which should also be interpreted in the context of the succession battle. One of the other contenders, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, reportedly made similar comments, also interested in distancing himself from Aznar and appearing faithful to Rajoy.

No criticism of Rajoy

In what has been released so far of the leaked tapes, the meeting saw no negative comments about Rajoy, but many expressions of support. This extended to those who were previously critical of the prime minister, like Juan Vicente Herrera, president of Castile and Leon. The now acting vice-president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, referred to Rajoy as the "most honourable person in our party", whilst former minister Alfonso Alonso thanked him for the "battles won" in the Basque country.

In any case, as OK Diario point out, Aznar received no positive mention during the meeting, which appears a decisive fight in the nascent leadership contest. The other thing clear in that within this small group of Rajoy acolytes there is someone interested in these supposedly confidential conversations being public, so interested as to record and leak them.

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