Former Lanjaron mayor in census fraud investigation

LAST UPDATED: 11 Jun, 2007 @ 12:07
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“Innocent” Rubio claims socialists want to “crucify” him

FORMER Lanjarón mayor José Rubio and three other Partido Popular councillors are being investigated for alleged census fraud and prevarication.

Rubio, who lost control of the spa town in Spain’s local elections on May 27, ex deputy mayor María del Carmen Reyes and councillors Francisca Gallardo and Sonia Gutiérrez have all appeared before judges in Órgiva to explain the increase in numbers on the town’s electoral role.

The judicial investigation follows a complaint made by the PSOE – who obtained 46 per cent of the votes to assume control of the spa town – that 119 people joined Lanjarón’s electoral roll in only three days in January this year, with a total of 168 people joining throughout that month.

Included in the suspicious registrations are eight people who have given their official residence as the same 50-square-metre apartment and other people living in abandoned buildings in and around the town, famous for its spring water.

PSOE officials also claim several people are registered as living in houses belonging to council members from the previous administration.

The four accused PP members deny any wrongdoing. José Rubio claims the new registrations belong to local residents who have returned to the town after living away.

“They [PSOE members] want to crucify me but I am not in the slightest bit worried. The case is in the best possible hands: those of the courts,” he said.

Speaking at a press conference in Granada before the local elections, provincial general secretary of the socialist PSOE party Juan Manuel Fernández claimed this alleged case of census fraud could alter the result of last Sunday’s local elections.

“These fictitious registrations represent 10 per cent of the votes that the PP obtained in 2003s elections. This percentage is sufficient to alter the result of any election.”

Socialist mayor Mariano Ruiz has asked the court to check if any of the suspicious new members to the town’s electoral roll have voted by post.

If so, those votes could be declared void.

The Granada PP president Antonio Ayllón slammed the investigation into the alleged case of census fraud and said his party have made complaints into suspicious increases in the electoral roll of 29 PSOE run town halls around the province.

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