By Linda Hall •
Published: 04 Sep 2023 • 11:56
Caption: MAR MENOR: Newly-formed government will continue to protect the saltwater lagoon
Photo credit: CC/Nanosanchez
Fernando Lopez Miras, president elect of the Murcia region, averted another election just six days before the September 7 deadline.
On May 28 his party, the Partido Popular, obtained 21 seats in Murcia’s regional assembly, two seats short of an overall majority. This was the PP’s best-ever result in Murcia and a better result than in four other regional parliaments where the PP has needed outside help from Vox to take control.
In Murcia, Vox would have been happy to vote in favour of Lopez Miras’ investiture but in return wanted a PP-Vox coalition, with the far-right party heading two departments, one of which should have vice-presidency status.
Lopez Miras argued that the request was not proportionate to contributing only two votes. Unlike that of Maria Guardiola in Extremadura, his stance was based on simple arithmetic not ideology, he insisted.
Now PP president of the Extremadura region, Guardiola at first refused to countenance a PP-Vox coalition owing to the latter’s position regarding sexist violence, LGBT rights and immigration.
Guardiola eventually allowed Vox to enter the Extremadura government, following outcries from her own party and Vox which were accompanied by surprised applause from the Left.
The outcries resulting from Lopez Mira’s obduracy were more subdued and, to generalised non-surprise, he announced on September 1 that he and Vox had come to an agreement.
Vox has received two Consejerias – departments – in the regional government and will now be in charge of Public Works as well as the Public Safety, Interior and Emergencies vice-presidency.
Details of the agreement would be made public “soon”, Lopez Miras revealed. It is already obvious that he stood firm and refused to cede the Agriculture department owing to differences between the PP and Vox regarding the Mar Menor law, introduced to protect and restore the saltwater lagoon.
This is now seriously polluted and deteriorated owing to periods of colossal rainfall that deposited large amounts of agricultural sediment which include unacceptably large amounts of nitrates from fertilisers. These have now depleted the Mar Menor’s oxygen levels, killing its fish.
Vox makes no secret of its desire to repeal or at least reform the law to “safeguard the lagoon without criminalising agriculture.”
“We welcome the change in positions that has made it possible to facilitate negotiations,” Vox’s president in Murcia, Jose Angel Antelo, declared on his social media accounts.
The national PP was equally happy, announcing that it backed Fernando Lopez Miras’ solution while expressing satisfaction at having avoided another election.
“Following this decision, the only repeat election that our country could face is another general election,” a party communique continued.
“This has been a constant in Spain ever since Pedro Sanchez entered politics,” the statement declared, pointing out that during his time as PSOE secretary general, the 2015 general election had to be repeated in 2016 while the November 2019 general election was a repeat of the April election.
“The PP has prevented the Murcia Region from going through what Spain has gone on two occasions and could happen for a third time because of Pedro Sanchez,” the party said.
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Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share?
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