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New faces at the Junta de Andalucía force reshuffles at local authorities

Fernando Fernández (c) on his last day as mayor of Coín.
Fernando Fernández (c) on his last day as mayor of Coín. / SUR
  • The mayor of Coín, the head of Planning in Marbella and the director of Malaga's CAC gallery are among appointments by the recently elected regional government

Nearly a month after the PP's Juanma Moreno was sworn in as the new president of the Junta de Andalucía, his coalition government has now completed its recruitment process and the apparatus is ready to start moving.

The Partido Popular and their partners Ciudadanos (Cs) who, with the support of far-right group Vox, managed to oust the Socialist PSOE from the Junta after nearly four decades, distributed the regional ministries among eleven new ministers at the end of January. Since then they have been recruiting their provincial delegates as well as other officials whose posts rotate with the government, among them director generals of the authority's numerous departments.

The new ministers have plucked their recruits from inside and outside politics, causing a domino effect in some local authorities and institutions who now have to fill their vacancies.

Mayor's farewell

The town of Coín, for example, has lost its mayor, after Fernando Fernández (PP) was named this week as the new delegate of the regional ministry of Agriculture, Livestock farming, Fisheries and Sustainable Development for the province of Malaga.

At an urgent meeting in the town hall on Wednesday, Fernández, who had already ruled out standing for election again in May, officially gave up his post. He will be replaced by Francisco Santos until the elections.

"Being mayor of Coín is the best thing to have happened to me in my political career," said Fernández.

Malaga city hall has lost two councillors: Carmen Casero (PP) is the new delegate in Malaga for Public Works, Culture and Historical Heritage; and Raúl Jiménez will run the Farming and Fisheries Management Agency.

Mijas council has also found itself with a gap to fill after Nuria Rodríguez, until now a Ciudadanos councillor, has been named the new provincial delegate for Tourism, Justice and Local Administration.

The cultural scene in Malaga has also seen an upheaval as Fernando Francés, until now the director of the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), leaves to become the new secretary general for Cultural Innovation and Museums.

Art and politics

His departure comes at a complicated moment as the contract for the management of the art centre is up for renewal later this year. Francés' firm, Gestión Cultural y Comunicación, is one of several organisations whose bids are currently being examined by experts at the city hall.

His place at the helm of Gestión Cultural will be taken by Helena Juncosa, who has worked alongside Francés at the CAC since it opened in 2003. Francés said on Wednesday that he had previously been critical of the Junta's management of culture and museums and this was his chance to improve things.

Marbella planning

In Marbella the town has lost an important player in its ongoing process to "normalise" its town planning situation after the years of chaos and corruption when the town hall was in the hands of the GIL group. José María Morente, until now the council's director of Town Planning, goes on to do the same job for the Planning Department at the Junta. Brought in after the PP won back control in Marbella in 2017, the architect has overseen the approval of the modified version of the 1986 town masterplan as well as its adaptation to Andalusian law and the drawing up of the conditions for the contract for the new PGOU.

The Malaga delegation of the regional ministry for Education, Sport and Social Policy is now in the hands of social activist Mercedes García Paine, founder of the association Nena Paine, which works with young people at risk of social or academic exclusion.