Acting Alcaucín mayor considers future following "xenophobic" message

Acting mayor of Alcaucín, Belgian-born Mario Blancke.
Acting mayor of Alcaucín, Belgian-born Mario Blancke. / SUR
  • A Whatsapp message suggesting that residents of the Axarquía village don't want a foreigner as mayor has caused a serious rift between two parties

Acting mayor of Alcaucín, the Belgian Mario Blancke, said on Wednesday that he was considering whether to stay in politics due to a "xenophobic" Whatsapp message shared among villagers.

The handwritten message, which was photographed and shared via Whatsapp, read "foreigner [go back] to your country", which Blancke says he has taken as a "personal attack".

The message, written in Spanish, also said, "We want a mayor from Alcaucín and a government team who are also from here. We don't want pen pushers in Alcaucín."

Blancke reacted saying, "I'm convinced that the message represents a minority, but its mere diffusion is making me wonder whether it's worth working at the town hall for the village. I'm asking myself whether I should continue working in local politics."

Blancke, who has been mayor of Alcaucín for the last four years, has promised to make a decision by 15 June which is when councillors need to have reached agreements to be able to vote in a new mayor.

The 62-year-old Belgian, who has lived in Spain for 30 years, 17 of them in Alcaucín, accused other parties via Facebook of encouraging xenophobia in the village. Domingo Lozano, the leader of Alcaucín's PP party, whose electoral campaign slogan included the words "We are from Alcaucín," called for a public apology.

Lozano vehemently denied any link between the campaign and the message being circulated. On Thursday morning Blancke published a message on Facebook stressing that he "had never mentioned that the message was posted by the PP-Alcaucín nor any other political party". He added, "I apologise if somebody from the PP-Alcaucín felt offended."

Blancke's Ciudadanos (Cs) party, which had four councillors elected, would need to form a pact with the PP (two seats) in order to govern in Alcaucín. The local Socialist PSOE group also won four seats.