IN my last article I wrote that I didn’t know exactly what would happen in Mijas at the investiture and election of the new Mayor. Nor did I know what was going to happen immediately prior to, or after the meeting.
Nozal’s Partido Popular won the elections but with only a simple majority, not enough to form a government. This is when the big guns stepped up to the plate in the persons of the Party General Secretary and Provincial President.
In a long telephone conference on the eve of the investiture with the 9 PP councilors, Bendodo ordered the councilors to vote for Maldonado to continue as Mayor for the next two years. He was prepared to sell Mijas for the presidency of the Provincial government and the Association of Local Authorities (Mancomunidad). He did not expect what he was to encounter. One by one the Councillors elect stated that Mijas was their priority and that they had made a commitment to the people of Mijas that they would not allow Maldonado to continue as Mayor on the strength of their votes.
The meeting continued late into the night with Nozal making sure that each councilor knew the potential consequences of defying the Provincial, Regional, and National party. There was no hesitation: Mijas is not for sale!
Two hours before the investiture the phone rang, and the order was reissued, “Vote for Maldonado or else”. The answer didn’t change.
By 19:00h that same day we were informed that disciplinary action had been initiated against all 9 Councillors for an “Act of Rebellion” and that this may result in our expulsion. The nine of us sat impassively, but with a warm inner glow knowing that we had held up our part of the bargain with the people of Mijas who did not wish Maldonado to be Mayor again with PP votes.
I spent many years on the fringes of government in the UK and I know that this sort of thing happens, not only in politics, but also in big business. But I ask, “Does this make it correct? It is legal, but is it moral?” Rhetorical question really. When parties see local Councils as trading tokens for their greater ambitions, regardless of the effect on the Councils, the Municipality, and the people who voted for them, it is, in my opinion, unacceptable.
We don’t know exactly what the future holds, but our position as Councillors is a personal appointment, so regardless, we remain as Councillors and even in opposition we will support the new Mayor in any way we can for the benefit of Mijas and its residents.
I am very proud and honoured to be the first British Councillor in Mijas and to do this alongside Angel Nozal and his highly committed team and to recognize that Nozal was the only party leader to have presented a foreigner on his team, I couldn’t resist wearing the kilt, even though 8 yards of heavyweight wool (designed for the Scottish winter) was something of a challenge in the July heat of the Costa del Sol.