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Mijas campaigner runs for mayor at helm of an independent party

Sepúlveda (left) with the mayor, Juan Carlos Maldonado.
Sepúlveda (left) with the mayor, Juan Carlos Maldonado. / L. G.
  • Francisco Sepúlveda, is president of the Residents Association in La Cala

With only five months to go before the municipal elections across Spain and with anticipation of what will happen with the far right party Vox (after the results in the Andalusian elections), some independent local candidates have started to be announced.

This is the case in Mijas, where one of the most well-known residents has declared he will be in the running for the post of mayor. Francisco Sepúlveda has been president of the residents association in La Cala de Mijas for twelve years. The group has over 500 direct members and acts for 2,000 residents."I am the face for an alternative option to politics," he told the SUR.

"Our list of candidates is made up of people who have never held public office before and who haven't been active in politics for the last twenty years. Most importantly, we are all residents, not politicians," he added.

The idea behind his party, Movimiento Vecinal Mijeño, is that instead of looking for "office people", he believes that locals with various strengths should be included. For an example he explained that the person in charge of Servicios Operativos should be a master builder, the person in charge of cleaning, someone who has spent 30 years working in the sector, and so on.

Sepúlveda, the owner of the well-known La Butibamba restaurant, has lived through three changes in the governmental team, PSOE, PP and PSOE+Cs, and he says, "Each time I have managed to solve a multitude of problems for the town."

He doesn't consider that not belonging to a specific political party will prejudice his chances; on the contrary: "Movimiento Vecinal Mijeño believes that the public have become disenchanted with politicians so we have decided to follow the example of the Vecinos por Torrelodones [a political party in Madrid]. We want to do something similar so that the politicians can't get involved, although more than one has approached us already and been turned away," he admitted.

As to the election results and what his party would consider a 'success' Sepúlveda replied bluntly: "With what we are offering we aim to win. I don't know how that might be - we know that an absolute majority is unlikely in these times - but we are certain we can reach our objective," he reasoned.

Criticised as an egotist

There are some who have accused Sepúlveda of being an egotist, but he denies this. "All of us in the Movimiento Vecinal Mijeño are very inspired but for reasons of strategy, I am the only visible face [at the moment]. Social media is a double-edged sword and as such, as soon as the people that form the candidacy are made known, attempts will be made to blacken their names," he explained.

In reference to his plans for the town, Sepúlveda said that in the first hundred days of government, they would hold a meeting with all the council departments in an effort to reduce bureaucracy and speed up procedures. He would also like to see the remodelling of the town cleaning programme and the transformation of Las Lagunas from a sleepy backwater into a vibrant tourist area.