ARMILLA mayor José Antonio Morales is to step down at next year’s municipal elections.
Señor Morales announced his decision not to run for a fourth term in office during a televised interview on the Localia channel.
The Granada town has been at the centre of a political storm recently over allegations of town planning irregularities and the non-declaration of assets of one of its leading councillors. Señor Morales has also been accused of financially benefiting from his position as town mayor.
Speaking on the Cara a Cara programme on October 25, Señor Morales blamed a lack of support from the provincial management of the socialist PSOE party for his decision not to run for re-election on May 27 next year.
“I do not have the support I would have liked,” he told presenter Agustín Martínez. “The decision to go is mine alone – no matter how much it pains me. But I will continue to the end.”
The mayor, who has been in charge of the town council since his election in 1990, also denied allegations he received financial gifts from Tomás Olivo – the constructor at the centre of the controversial Parque Nevada shopping centre in Armilla and town planning corruption in Marbella. Two people claim to have proof Olivo paid Señor Morales’ travel and accommodation expenses to attend his daughter’s wedding in Madrid. He also refuted claims he had used public funds to travel to Columbia.
“The majority of public and private trips I have made have been paid for out of my own pocket,” he said.
He also defended Gabriel Cañavate, the head of town planning in Armilla and first vice president of the Granada provincial council, who resigned last month over allegations he did not declare his assets to the provincial top brass of the PSOE party.
“Granada owes him a lot. He was a good councillor who worked hard for both Armilla and the province.
“He resigned against my will,” he added.
When asked about the Parque Nevada shopping centre currently under construction of the outskirts of the town, Señor Morales dismissed claims the project is riddled with irregularities.
“I believe if another constructor had been behind this project,” he said in relation to Olivo, “there would be no allegations of irregularities.”
The Junta de Andalucía regional government has promised to demolish the building if allegations Señor Morales granted a building licence four years before he changed the status of the land on which the shopping centre is being built prove to be true.
After his televised announcement, the provincial general secretary of the Partido Popular, Antonio Ayllón said: “How many more reasons must there be for Morales to go?”
Even though the provincial PSOE party of Granada has yet to announce its candidate for next year’s elections.