surinenglish

Ortiz wins the revenge-tinted battle for Torremolinos

Lucía Cuín with José Ortiz on Saturday.
Lucía Cuín with José Ortiz on Saturday. / MIGUE FERNÁNDEZ
  • The Socialist mayor keeps his job after gaining the votes of the former PP mayor's party and the expelled Vox councillor

Socialist José Ortiz starts a new term as Mayor of Torremolinos after the province's most surreal local government pact. The story that culminated in the voting on Saturday had all the ingredients of a film script: suspense, revenge and even a love interest.

Ortiz, whose party gained eight seats, had been expected to have to hand over the reins of the town hall to PP candidate Margarita del Cid who won the election by just 600 votes and controls nine seats.

Both needed help to reach an overall majority of 13, but finally Ortiz won the race with the help of left-wing Adelante Torremolinos, and two unlikely supporters.

The first was Lucía Cuín, who won her seat on the council as the second of two elected members of the far-right Vox party. She split with the party, however, when her superiors demanded that she give up her seat after she took part in the recent Torremolinos Pride festival. Now an independent councillor, rather than supporting the PP - the party she belonged to before Vox - she gave her vote to Ortiz. Being in a relationship with the local PSOE secretary, she told SUR this week, had not influenced her decision.

The other unlikely supporter of Ortiz was Avelina González, the councillor for the new party formed by the man who was PP mayor of Torremolinos for several decades, Pedro Fernández Montes.

Back in March Fernández Montes left the Partido Popular after months of internal fighting over local party leadership. The former mayor had repeatedly demanded a local congress to allow grassroots members to choose between him and his rival Del Cid. The party refused, maintaining Del Cid as candidate for mayor.

Fernández Montes formed his own party which won one seat, occupied by his candidate González. Her support, decisive in keeping Del Cid from power, has been interpreted as the former mayor's revenge.

The news of the possible pact caused tension in the town prior to Saturday's meeting. Fernández Montes found the word "traitor" sprayed along the side of his car on Friday, and both Cuín and González arrived at the crowded council chamber with a police escort. Del Cid was greeted with a mixture of applause and cries of "Out, out!"