3 May, 2023 @ 17:15
1 min read

Political row breaks out as Zaragoza and Seville vie to be proclaimed the fourth-biggest city in Spain

Dramatic Scene Of Plaza España In Seville At Sunset
Dramatic scene of Plaza España in Seville at sunset

A WAR OF WORDS has broken out between politicians in Seville and Zaragoza over which of the Spanish cities is the fourth-largest in the country.

The row, which comes in the run-up to local and regional elections on May 28, has been sparked by provisional population figures based on the municipal roll (padron) as at January 1, 2023. 

According to the data, Zaragoza has overtaken Seville for the first time in terms of inhabitants. 

The figures show that there are 694,109 inhabitants in the capital city of the Aragon region, while the capital of Andalusia counts on 693,229. The numbers, however, are provisional and must be processed by the National Statistics Institute (INE) before they can be considered official. 

The deputy mayor of Seville, Sonia Gaya of the Socialist Party, hit out at the Popular Party administration in Zaragoza for touting the figures as a success, calling for more ‘rigour’ when analysing data that ‘have not been made official by the INE’, she said in a press release reported by Europa Press. 

‘Seville is still the fourth-biggest city in Spain in terms of population […] and the news that has been published is, plain and simple, data from the Zaragoza City Hall, which is governed by the PP, and which come in the context of an electoral campaign and have not been checked by the INE,’ she continued. 

Meanwhile, the PP’s candidate for the mayor of Seville at the upcoming elections, Jose Luis Sanz, used the provisional data to blame the Socialist Party mayor of the city, Antonio Muñoz, for driving people away due to his poor management. 

‘Zaragoza is going to exceed Seville’s population due to the paralysis in urban planning and the fall in quality of life in the neighbourhoods,’ he charged. 

‘Seville is losing population while other cities, for example Zaragoza, are growing,’ he added. 

The most-populous city in Spain is Madrid, with 3.3 million inhabitants, followed by Barcelona with 1.6 million. Valencia comes in third with 789,744 residents. 

Until the INE ratifies the figures from the municipal rolls in Zaragoza and Seville, the battle will continue for the much-coveted fourth spot.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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