14 min read

Mayoral and Houliston

For the second time in this administration, the Partido Popular of Orihuela have failed in raising a censure motion that could have resulted in a vote of no confidence and the overthrowing of the bipartite government team of Orihuela.

Through the agreed collaboration of the PP and Clr groups, with Pedro Mancebo and Juan Ignacio López-Bas, accused of “selling out” by a number of their original supporters, the required minimum 13 votes were available which meant that an extraordinary meeting was called for Friday in which it was expected that the vote would be carried.

However, as soon as the intention was mentioned this caused a rift with the PP´s first collaborator, Bob Houliston of CLARO, who vowed to fight the notion “for the good of Orihuela”. That statement resulted in the public made statement that both Mancebo and López Bas had been expelled from their political group and were therefore unassigned, in exactly the same way that Mancebo had ousted Houliston, and unable to vote in the motion.

On Thursday of this week, documentary evidence had to be presented to the city clerk to prove that their expulsion was within the requirements of the law, and for the Notary to consider if the motion was valid. Virgilio Estremera subsequently stated that although he believed the motion to have the correct and required credentials to continue, he would leave it to the Council of Elders to decide during the plenary meeting on Friday.

As the meeting began on Friday at noon, the President of the Council of Elders in Orihuela, who happens to be Bob Houiston, announced that the council had unanimously agreed to block the motion, thus preventing the meeting from continuing.

The leader of the PP in Orihuela, Pepa Ferrando, who was destined to take the chair as Mayor, has said that Houliston has made a grave and criminal error and will face the courts. In a statement, the PP in Orihuela described the move as an “absolute coup for democracy”, with Ferrando saying that “We were threatened that this could happen”, whilst emphasising the there has been no “validity” given to the report from the City Clerk, that “Mr Houliston, chairman of the board of elders, has forgotten to read”, and that, in her view, this was “absolutely illegal” and constitutes “crimes of corruption, bribery and two or three more crimes”.

Although remaining mostly quiet, still continuing in their roles, the Mayor of the bi-partite government, Monserrate Guillén, when asked how he felt about winning, said, “I have not beaten anybody, who is the winner is the people of Orihuela”.

Silence did not echo through social network sites however, with both Twitter and Facebook immediately going wild at the news. Although tweeting in Spanish, the translations show clear support for the blocking of the motion, with tweets such as “Big Bob! Has not disappointed us!”, and a simple “Happy new year : Lol:: Lol:: Lol:” amongst the first mentions, with others commenting on the perceived mood of the town hall, “Orihuela is fuming today!”, and mentioning how “Mancebo and Lopez Bas booed at the entrance”.

In fact, it was clear to see that many Orihuela residents congregated in the entrance of the town hall, and that they did indeed boo Mancebo and López Bas, while at the same time cheering the mayor, hugging him and chanting praise as he entered the building, perhaps echoing the fact that although the PP say that with the Clr association they now have 20,000 voters who support them, the majority, in the municipality the size of Orihuela it also means that 75,000 do not.

Some became braver in their tweets, mentioning the history of corruption from certain members of the PP, with messages like, “Confidence motion fails the CorruPPtos of Orihuela. The lust for power of PP and CLR lie down. Pepa Bye! # limpiezademocratica”, and “CorruPPtos no thanks! 😉 Mociondecensura # Orihuela”, seeing further support in a positive mode as, “Orihuela has a minority government but honest and courageous. It will continue for the rights to the city”, whilst another pointing out that “The shame of Orihuela is that the City is ALWAYS in court”, and even more directed comments aimed at raising awareness of past corruptions, “Of the 12 councillors in Orihuela PPopular , 5 are in PROCESS of Corruption or CONVICTED , is this it is the people who run our €?”.

Praise was also levied towards the Mayor himself, with tweets reading, “Congratulations # Orihuela and Oriholanos for keeping Monserrate”, and “I’m happy for Guillen”.

There was seemingly less praise towards the PP and Clr move, as during the time of monitoring the hashtag specific social feeds, there was not a single message that expressed displeasure in the result, the closest tweet that could be seen was simply, “to us that no one wins”.

As the media frenzy continued at the Orihuela town hall, the deputy of the relatively new Compromís group, Mireia Mollà, expressed “satisfaction” at the paralyzing of the censure motion, stating that, “the failure of this censure motion shows the importance of the precedent set at Tavernes de la Valldigna, where the Council of Elders stopped a motion against Compromís Mayor Jordi Juan, because, as has happened in Orihuela, the PP also intended to make a motion with the support of a turncoat councillor, which the law does not allow, as a recent ruling reaffirmed”.

Meanwhile, Asunción Mayoral, the former party colleague of Mancebo and López Bas, who has now joined forces with Houliston to fight the motion, said that the Mayor has offered her a role in the opposition team, should the motion succeed, but she had declined the offer, at the time, as she wants to have an active role in government.

Bob Houliston said that today was not the day to talk about his future as an Orihuela Councillor, or whether he is in or out of the government team.

The President of the Generalitat and the PP in Valencia, Alberto Fabra, said that his party will denounce the members of the Council of Elders “prevarication and obstruction”, for going “against” the city clerk’s report that said it was “valid”. The mayor argues that it is “indisputable” that Mancebo and López Bas were expelled from CLR-Claro.

It is believed that the PP and Clr will present their case to the courts, and the judiciary will have to make the final decision as to the legality of the move, which may take some time. It is also likely that a number of people will face investigations into their actions. However, the current government team will now be able to continue with the work which they have already set out to achieve.

All next week, three of the key players in this move will be on Exite Radio talking to Mark Nolan and giving their full and frank opinions as to what happened, with Pedro Mancebo on Tuesday, Bob Houliston on Wednesday and Martina Scheurer on Thursday.

To hear what they have to say live, make sure your radio is tuned in to 89.2fm on the Orihuela Costa, 93.1fm on the Costa Blanca, or you can listen online at www.exiteradio.com.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/42121/

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