Friday, 23 June 2023, 10:45
There was high drama in the western Costa del Sol municipality of Manilva last week in the lead-up to the investiture of its new council.
Locals had been expecting to see a repeat of the Compromiso Manilva and PSOE coalition in this traditional stronghold of the left which also includes Sabinillas and Duquesa. A deal to govern between those two parties had already been announced.
However, a last minute pact saw the conservative Partido Popular (PP) slip into power for the first time, ironically with the support of the hard-left Izquierda Unida (IU) party and an abstention from hard-right Vox.
The PP's José Manuel Fernández was sworn in along with his three councillors in the 17-councillor chamber in an alliance with the four councillors of IU.
The provincial IU party leadership was so upset its left of centre candidates had joined the right they were promptly expelled from the party. These four will now govern with the PP in Manilva as independent candidates for the next four years.
The overall majority in the council is nine, so with eight councillors, the PP-led administration doesn't have an overall majority and will be a minority administration.
The eight were helped in shutting out former mayor Mario Jiménez of Compromiso Manilva by the only councillor of hard-right Vox abstaining in the investiture vote. Vox will remain on the opposition bench and not share power, however.
Agustín Vargas, IU candidate in Manilva at the election and one of those now expelled by his party, explained that he had "done nothing wrong" in supporting the PP.
He said his intention had been to remove Mario Jiménez from the town hall due to ongoing court cases over alleged corruption. This same argument was also behind the decision of PP and Vox to come together in this unusual agreement between left and right.
British-born Manilva resident Dean Tyler Shelton succeeded in returning to Manilva town hall as councillor for the PP, having once sat under Mario Jiménez for Compromiso Manilva before disagreeing with that party. Tyler Shelton will take up responsibility for international residents, tourism and Duquesa Port.
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