José Antonio Guerrero
Friday, 19 May 2023, 12:02
Four years ago, when she first stood for election with the party Abuelas por Patones (Grannies for Patones), Charito gave 150 interviews. She was then 95 years old and successful in her campaign to become the oldest councillor in Spain. Now, at 99, she is ready for what lies ahead, with interview requests from media outlets across Europe and America. This time she is going a step further and standing for mayor. She is ready and "very excited", with more than enough humour and vitality for the job.
Her son Enrique says that she has a kind of narcolepsy, meaning that if she gets bored she will just fall asleep, but if things are happening around her then she cannot be stopped. "All of this attention is the best medicine to stay active and prevent ageing," he said.
For Charito, longevity is in her DNA. Her parents José and María Ángeles were the couple with the oldest combined age in Spain at the time, aged 100 and 101 respectively. "It's the second time I'm standing but before you know it I'll go for a third," she laughed.
Charito, born María del Rosario Testa, is originally from Bilbao, but has lived in Patones for 60 years and now wants to be mayor. The village, located in Madrid province and popular with tourists, is divided into two neighbourhoods: lower Patones has around 500 inhabitants, and upper Patones is a medieval settlement that is home to Charito and around 50 others.
Her main issue is the lack of public parking for visitors, who currently have to leave their cars on wasteland several kilometres from upper Patones and take the bus. Her proposal is to use the money made from parking to subsidise dentures for pensioners in the town.
Charito is top of the party's list which includes six other women, two in their 90s, two in their 80s, and two in their 70s. "This time we're younger, more modern and we have dressed up for the male vote," she joked.
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