Socialist Josele González is the new mayor of Mijas after an eleventh-hour deal between the local PSOE and Ciudadanos (Cs).
In last Friday's vote by councillors, González beat his PP counterpart Ángel Nozal, gaining an overall majority with his eight councillors plus the support of the six representatives of Cs, headed locally by until then acting mayor, Juan Carlos Maldonado.
Talks between the Socialists and Cs went on right up to the start of the tense council meeting in Mijas town hall, as uncertainty reigned until the very last minute.
The nine Partido Popular (PP) councillors had indicated earlier in the week that they would vote for their own leader, Ángel Nozal, rather than abiding by the power-sharing coalition pact with Ciudadanos reached by their national party chiefs.
The PP councillors carried out their threat, but the new PSOE-Cs pact prevented Nozal being voted in with a simple majority. Now they face disciplinary action from party chiefs which could even result in their expulsion from the PP.
"We've made a pact against corruption," out-going mayor Maldonado told SUR after the session last Friday. For the last four years the Ciudadanos councillors have been reporting alleged irregularities in the way Nozal and his team managed the local government when they were in power and calling for the former mayor's resignation. They had vowed, therefore, that they would not allow Nozal to return to the mayor's office "neither by action nor omission".
After being sworn in and presented with the ceremonial mayor's staff, Josele González praised the work of his predecessors, including Nozal, adding, "It's time Mijas stopped lagging behind [other towns] on the Costa del Sol."
"It's been a pleasure to be mayor of Mijas," said Maldonado in his speech. Addressing the new mayor, he said, "I hope you don't suffer what I've been through, and I hope you don't see the figure of the mayor being humiliated as I have been over the last four years."
Nozal delivered a speech with a bitter sting in its tail. "My cordial congratulations," he said addressing González. "I wish you success, and assure you that in the PP you will find help to defend yourself when those who have supported you today start stabbing you in the back."
The only Podemos councillor, Remedios Leiva, voted for herself, as did Rivera, the controversial Vox councillor whose decision to occupy the seat that he had previously said he would give up was what caused the delay in the swearing-in session.
Among the councillors being sworn in was Bill Anderson for the PP, the first British councillor ever to be elected to the position in Mijas. Anderson wore a kilt to the meeting.