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Mijas delays swearing-in of new council as chaos engulfs Vox

Mijas pueblo.
Mijas pueblo. / SUR
  • On Saturday, 15 June, mayors will take office in town halls across Spain, even where coalitions or pacts aren't agreed; but Mijas will now be on 5 July

The identity of the next mayor of Mijas is still uncertain this weekend, despite council chambers across Spain having to vote on who will run them for the next four years. Tomorrow (Saturday) mayors should be in place. Where no majority has been won, or coalition or pact agreed, the most-voted party will be sworn in automatically.

However in Mijas, the Junta Electoral, the Spanish electoral commission, has taken the unusual step of delaying the investiture debate until 5 July as local politics in the municipality grows more chaotic.

In last month's local election, the Partido Popular (PP) won 9 seats on the 25-seat council, the PSOE 8 and Ciudadanos (Cs) 6, meaning nobody won an overall majority. Podemos and Vox each won one seat.

The latest controversy that has delayed the investiture debate isn't over who will be mayor from the candidacies of PP, Cs and PSOE , but instead is because of a bitter row between the top two names on the electoral list of hard-right Vox.

According to sources, initially the first person on Vox's electoral list in Mijas, Carlos Rivero, told the electoral commission ahead of the election that he didn't want to stand any longer. As ballot papers were already being printed, he was told to formally withdraw once the election was over. In the meantime, the second person on Vox's list, Maya Escolar, assumed the lead candidate's role, enthusiastically appearing on election posters and at public meetings.

Vox won one councillor, which was assumed to be Escolar, but it has since emerged that Rivero had quietly withdrawn his request to quit a day before the May election and so may still technically entitled to be the Vox councillor.

Vox has now issued a formal complaint to the electoral commission against Rivero which has delayed the investiture. If the complaint is not upheld, Rivero could be expelled from Vox and sit as an independent.

This crisis comes on top of the local Cs party's refusal, on one hand, to pact with the winning PP candidacy of Ángel Nozal due to long-standing animosity and, on the other hand, refusal to back the second-voted party, PSOE, unless Cs existing mayor, Juan Carlos Maldonado can stay in his role.

Mijas local politics is certain to be colourful for the next few weeks at least.