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The potential future mayor with her team

After 2 years battling in opposition, trying everything possible to return, from moves to discredit and plans to block salaries, the Partido Popular are set to return to govern following a pact with yet another arch enemy, the CLR.

Now, brushing aside their differences, Pedro Mancebo and Juan Ignacio Lopez Bas of the CLR, have joined with the Partido Popular to make the necessary 13 names to sign a censure motion to overthrow the bipartite government team of the PSOE and Los Verdes, and return the PP to power.

It was in the local elections of 2011 that the PP lost their control of Orihuela, a position they had held since 1987, with one opinion being that their neglect if the coastal zone had swung the vote away from their majority.

The Partido Popular was ejected from rule after thirteen councillors from a PSOE, CLR-CLARO and Los Verdes coalition combined to form the government team. However, it was not long into their tenure that Bob Houliston from CLARO resigned from government, saying that his reasons were because of the “systematic refusal of an element in the government to cooperate and coordinate their activities which concern the coast with me”, referring to Pedro Mancebo, who had been given more control of the coastal zone than Houliston thought appropriate. Asuncion Mayoral from CLR was later to be expelled from her political group too, both of these factors becoming a key point now. Most recently, Antonia Moreno, the head of the PSOE, also resigned from her role as deputy mayor.

In January, 2013, Pedro Mancebo was also expelled from the government by the Mayor, which prompted the resignation of his colleague, Juan Ignacio Lopez Bas. In the summer of 2013, the PP, along with Bob Houliston, attempted the signing of a censure motion, but this move failed on account of confusion and controversy of who should lead, and disagreement within the ranks of the Orihuela PP as to the lack of approval up their chain of command.

Much has already been documented about the regional party not wanting Mónica Lorente to return as the local head, as anybody facing legal investigations into corruption cases are exempt from holding the top posts, a situation also frequently commented on by Perdo Mancebo during his time in opposition. As a result, the group have nominated Josefina (Pepa) Ferrando García as the Mayor, with the intention for her to take the seat as the eighth such holder of the title of Mayor since Orihuela began a democratic concern in 1979.

As the document has now been signed, and supported by the regional party head, approved by the Regional Secretary, Serafín Castellano, an extraordinary plenary meeting has been called for the 3rd of January, at which point, the motion will be formally tabled and the responsibility of government handed back to the PP, with their new coalition of CLR, resulting in the PSOE and Los Verdes being removed to the role of opposition.

During the signing of the document, Castellano said that the motion is “future orientated” for the “growth, progress and stability for the city of Orihuela”, confirming that “an act of democratic justice” has been achieved, as the PP, along with CLR, now hold over 20,000 votes, giving them an overall majority to rule the municipality of near 100,000.

However, of the people who have signed the motion, which was formally handed in at the town hall on Friday, one person missing is the PP´s former ally of the coast, Bob Houliston. His CLARO party had an agreement with the PP, which would apply for the term of this administrative period, but Houliston and Mancebo had long since fallen out of their own pact after the 2011 elections, it was unlikely that the pair would ever be able to reconcile, with the PP now seemingly choosing a different alignment of previous opposers.

Bob Houliston told The Leader, “C.L.A.R.O. learned from the press on Thursday, 19 December that the Popular Party and Pedro Mancebo’s CLR party had joined together to sign a motion of censure”, continuing, “This decision by the PP constituted a unilateral breaking of the PP-CLARO government agreement of July, 2012. In C.L.A.R.O’s opinion it was a complete deception and a cynical act motivated by the desire of the Popular Party to enter into government at no matter what price.”

In view of this move, and the “negative and destructive role played by the CLR Party of Pedro Mancebo in relation to C.L.A.R.O.”, explaining that his party “considers that it would be a disservice to Orihuela and to Orihuela Costa if they were to become partners in a government with the Popular Party”.

Therefore, C.L.A.R.O’s Executive Committee have agreed that the party should join Asuncion Mayoral, also expelled from the CLR-CLARO council group by Pedro Mancebo, to seek to “invalidate the motion of censure by expelling Pedro Mancebo and his CLR colleague from the CLR-CLARO Coalition, the political formation on the basis of which the two parties contested the municipal election of 2011”.

Following a meeting held on Saturday, this expulsion took place, for which Mancebo and Lopez Bas have three days in which to appeal this decision which, “if it is confirmed could invalidate their participation in the planned PP-CLR motion of censure just as Pedro Mancebo had previously limited the rights of Bob Houliston and Asuncion Mayoral to vote in a motion of censure against the government”.

Meanwhile, in the midst of this legal battle, the current mayor of the municipality, Monserrate Guillén, has vowed that he and his team will continue to work “until the very last day”, for the interests of the people of the municipality, even confirming that the regular plenary meeting due to be held on the 27th of this month, will continue with “absolute normality”. Guillén is also adamant that he has held his post with a clear conscience, and, whenever his time as mayor does come to an end, whether it be a matter of weeks, or sometime in the future, “I came with an empty suitcase and I´ll go with it equally empty”, having gained little personally whilst serving the municipality, other than the belief that he has worked for the citizens of one of the most politically fragmented areas of Spain.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/42015/

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