CLARO president steps down after nine years of service

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ALL CHANGE: Paul Piccio, new President of CLARO, being congratulated by Bob Houliston and other members of the Executive Committee.

CLARO’s 10th Annual General Meeting (AGM) has welcomed a new president for the political party.

After holding the office for nine years, Bob Houliston stood down, but will remain a member of the Executive Committee where, with his knowledge and experience, he will continue to contribute to the party. 

Paul Piccio was elected new President. He is a well known businessman in Orihuela Costa with an international background and is bilingual in English and Spanish.   

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Another party veteran and leading figure in local charities, Norah Bond, stood down to make way for Paulina Wysokinska. Paulina is very involved in Orihuela Costa’s social activities including the La Zenia church and parents’ association. She is fluent in several languages.

The first debate in the meeting was on the results of the municipal elections in May. Although not as good as hoped for, the AGM stressed that for the third time CLARO had won the majority of votes cast in Orihuela Costa, nearly 50 per cent again, yet missed securing representation on the new town council by the narrow margin of some 30 votes. It was acknowledged that the main reason for not doing as well as hoped for was low voter participation by non-Spanish residents. It remains a challenge for the party to motivate residents on the coast to realise that in return for contributing the greater part of Orihuela Town Council’s income, they receive wholly inadequate and insufficient services.   

Confusion and changes in the polling stations on the coast, in particular use of the little known, isolated and badly signposted Reading Point, affected hundreds of voters and was another important reason for falling short of the votes necessary for continued representation.    

The AGM overwhelmingly affirmed that CLARO was here to stay and must continue to promote and defend the interests of Orihuela Costa. It also agreed to change the statutes and official name of the party dropping ‘Party for Orihuela Costa’ to encourage wider support for the party outside of the coast.

The AGM discussed the need to be more proactive and better promote its aims and activities on the coast. To achieve this objective, in addition to continuing the mainstream, essential political activities, it was agreed to launch a series of initiatives. The weekly Friday meetings, open to all, which take place in the Asturias Restaurant, Punta Prima, and which characterise the transparent nature of the party, would, in future, also be used to enable guest speakers, hopefully once a month, to address issues of interest and concern to those living on the coast. 

CLARO also intends to now hold an annual fundraising event for the charities and social groups.

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