By Deirdre Tynan • 06 July 2021 • 10:39
The president of Ciudadanos, Ines Arrimadas, has called on political parties in Spain to stop breaking their coalition pacts as she says the party will work to prevent Granada from being led by PSOE.
Arrimadas said “it is time for common sense to prevail” in Granada after weeks of political turmoil that will see the city’s council elect a new mayor on July 7.
The crisis was triggered by the Partido Popular (PP) abruptly withdrawing from a coalition with the Ciudadanos (Cs) in June when the Cs mayor, Luis Salvador, refused to rotate the post with the PP.
The front runner for the position is now PSOE’s Francisco Cuenca, unless the Cs and PP can reach a last-minute deal to field a “consensus candidate”.
“We are in time to redirect the situation,” said Arrimadas on July 5.
The Cs candidate is the current acting mayor, Jose Antonio Huertas, who stepped into the position after other parties staged a walkout against Salvador when he refused to resign last month. Salvador eventually tendered his resignation on July 1.
“We are doing everything and more so that we can have a government agreement that gives stability to Granada. In fact, we are so eager for the situation to be redirected that we have made a proposal to the general secretary of the PP so that Mr. Huertas is a consensus candidate who can resolve the situation and restore a government agreement that the people of Granada liked,” she said.
The situation in Granada has gained regional and national significance with the Cs claiming that the PP orchestrated the crisis from its headquarters in Madrid, something the PP denies.
Despite being coalition partners in the Junta de Andalucia, the Cs’ mistrust of the PP has only deepened since Fran Hervias, a high-profile strategist for the Cs, defected to the PP in March 2021.
Arrimadas has not ruled out Hervias’ hand in the debacle in Granada.
“I think it is obvious. People can draw their own conclusions from what is behind each case,” she said.
“We need political parties that stop attacking their government partners and solve problems for citizens,” she added.
Tomorrow’s vote in Granada will have regional significance as the PP, PSOE and others square up ahead of Andalucian elections due to be held late next year.
The PP are fielding Francisco Fuentes for the post of mayor in Granada.
The PSOE candidate, Cuenca, was mayor of Granada 2016-2019 after his predecessor, Jose Torres Hurtado, resigned amid a corruption scandal. Cuenca was also accused of fraud in 2020.
In the Palacio de San Telmo, the seat of the regional government in Sevilla, the Junta de Andalucia is run by a coalition of the PP, the Cs and Vox and is led by the PP President of the Junta, Juanma Moreno. The C’s Juan Marin serves as his deputy president.
The current parliament is the first time the centre-right has led the regional government in 36 years as PSOE held a monopoly on power in Andalucia since the end of the Franco era.
PSOE has pledged to regain control at the next ballot which must be held before January 1, 2023 which means unless the PP can secure an outright majority, they will still need coalition partners to maintain their power beyond 2022. In that respect, what happens in Granada this week is a bellwether for future cooperation between the two liberal parties.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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