Experience now in charge: Orihuela analyst’s view on new council

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Ray Kearney

WITH the local elections almost two months in the past, only now are results falling into place everywhere. Local businessman Ray Kearney offers his analysis to the Euro Weekly News readers on the situation in Orihuela and the Orihuela Costa.

“ORIHUELA and the coast’s new mayor is Emilio Bascuñana (PP). He’s a respected doctor from Orihuela, married, in his mid-50s. Emilio knows by experience rather than in theory how to run an organisation or a municipality. He was president of Cruz Roja (the Red Cross) in Orihuela up to seven years ago when he was promoted to the position of Vice-President of the Valencian Red Cross.
Up to now he has served as the Managing Director of the Vega Baja Hospital. Our last mayor and his former deputy mayor were both teachers, the previous PP mayor’s CV read ‘Politician.’ Emilio Bascuñana could be the best qualified mayor of Orihuela in living memory.
The 25 seats from local elections on May 24, as decided by the electorate, were PP 11, PSOE eight, Ciudadanos (C’s) three, Cambiamos two and FDEE one. Thirteen seats are needed for a majority. This breakdown meant that FDEE with one seat were irrelevant in forming a government, as CLARO would have been if they had had enough votes for one seat. The only way that a left-wing government could have been formed would have been for the PSOE, Ciudadanos and Cambiamos to form an alliance.
Early in the week preceding the election for mayor, Cambiamos announced that they would not join any government with Ciudadanos due to their suspicions of the corrupt interests of individuals involved with the local Ciudadanos. Prior to this announcement Ciudadanos could have voted for a left-wing or a right-wing mayor.
When it came to the vote, each party voted only for themselves as there were no pacts in place, so no candidate for mayor reached the magic number of 13. By default, when the 25 councillors could not reach a unified decision, the PP candidate Emilio Bascuñana was elected mayor of a minority PP government. The biggest losers in this recent election are the coastal voters who voted for CLARO. These voters really believed that CLARO were going to win four seats with an absolute minimum of two so they could then join the PP in a pre-arranged pact.
A very real possibility is that Mayor Bascuñana could offer government positions to councillors from other parties in the future, for example as education is totally dependent on the now left-wing Valencian government, it may be advantageous to offer that post to a councillor from the PSOE. Likewise Councillor Lopez Bas, before he jumped parties to Ciudadanos just weeks before the elections, did prove to be very good in the production of the 2012 budget and maybe the mayor could gain support from Ciudadanos by including him in the government team.”

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