Revenge, a political weapon

The saying goes that revenge is a dish best served cold. Even in politics. Examples have emerged recently in two of the Costa del Sol's most important councils: Torremolinos and Mijas. Personal motives have gone before party directives or ideological logic. Decisions that leave us with one question: Where do these vindictive games leave the general interests of the towns and their residents?

Perhaps these attitudes have contributed to one statistic in the most recent survey published by the CIS (Spain's Sociological Research Centre): the general public's concern regarding politics, parties and politicians in general is higher than it has been since 1985, and is considered one of the three main problems affecting this country by 32% of its citizens.

The mutual hatred, a word they have used themselves, between the former mayors of Mijas, Ángel Nozal (PP) and Juan Carlos Maldonado (Ciudadanos) came out at last Friday's session to swear in the new council. Nozal actively ignored his party's instructions to follow the power-sharing agreement made by PP and Cs on a national level. Instead he dug in his heels, ignored his provincial president, and with his eight councillors risked a possible expulsion from the party by letting his personal aversion to Maldonado get in the way of a legitimate pact between centre-right parties.

Knowing that if each party voted for itself, Ángel Nozal would be mayor - the PP had one more seat - Maldonado gifted control over the council to the PSOE and José Antonio (Josele) González was elected mayor at the last minute. The new mayor clearly benefited from the animosity between the two rivals and the last-minute nature of the pact meant that no details were discussed, giving him a clear advantage in any negotiations with Cs over future positions of power in the local government. If Maldonado had wanted to vote for the PSOE, why didn't he seek to make a deal earlier?

Events in Torremolinos three weeks previously were no less remarkable. Socialist José Ortiz was voted in as mayor with the support of Lucía Cuín, a councillor expelled from far-right Vox for going to an LGBT Pride event; and Avelina González, the councillor for Por Mi Pueblo, a party controlled by one of Ortiz's historical enemies, former mayor Pedro Fernández Montes, who had become an even bigger enemy of his former party, the PP, and its candidate Margarita del Cid, his replacement.

Fernández Montes took revenge on his former party by ordering his councillor to vote for Ortiz. The events certainly proved the saying that politics makes for strange bedfellows.

Or maybe not so strange. We've since learned that the support has come with a reduction in councillors with full-time salaries, which is worse for the PP, and an increase in sums given to political parties for their expenses, which benefits Cuín and González. The former will get a salary of 52,000 euros a year, plus 1,100 euros for her party. And the latter gets 46,500 euros.

In other words, the new Torremolinos council has been formed with an explosive cocktail: revenge and money. So where does that leave political ethics?