C.L.A.R.O. has presented its list of candidates for the forthcoming local elections in Orihuela on 24 May. There will be 13 parties competing for the votes of the people living in Orihuela, city and coast, more than in any other municipality in the area. Compared to previous years, the political scene in Orihuela is very confused with widespread political division and fragmentation. It is very important in this situation that the voice of Orihuela Costa in the next government should be strong. Otherwise our interests are going to be forgotten for another 4 years.
The C.L.A.R.O. list is very clear. 16 of the 25 candidates are from Orihuela Costa. 10 are non-Spanish EU residents and 6 are Spanish. The 10 non-Spanish Orihuela Costa C.L.A.R.O. candidates include 6 from the U.K., 2 from Sweden, 1 Austrian and 1 from Poland. In the lists of the three other main parties only 1 non-Spanish candidate is from the coast.
The official Popular Party has 1 non-Spanish EU resident from Orihuela Costa in its list of 25. The Socialist Party (PSOE) has none, the new Ciudadanos party, which is really the previous CLR party, has none and the breakaway Popular Party competing in the name of Foro Democratico has none. So much for the interest of the other parties in the future of Orihuela Costa which has a resident population as large as that of Orihuela city. 85% are non-Spanish.
As the number of non-Spanish EU residents registered to vote is small, less than 20%, of those eligible, C.L.A.R.O. must attract votes from Orihuela city in order to achieve significant representation in the new Town Council and hopefully in the new government. It is therefore important that, as well as an already established group of enthusiastic supporters in Orihuela, two prominent Orihuela political figures, Asuncion Mayoral and Pablo Vidal (see photo) have joined the C.L.A.R.O. list. They both served in the outgoing government as members of the CLR-CLARO group. Asuncion Mayoral, like Bob Houliston, was expelled from the group by Pedro Mancebo and Juan Ignacio Lopez Bas. Pablo Vidal was a non-elected councillor until the national rules on non-elected councillors were changed. Working together they were responsible for bringing the street cleaning and rubbish removal service from private sector control to control by the local government. This contract, worth millions of euros, was the source of corruption in Orihuela for many years while in private hands.
CLR will not be among the 13 parties contesting the elections on 24 May. Pedro Mancebo and his colleague Juan Ignacio Lopez Bas have effectively destroyed the CLR party. They have concluded that their reputation in the last 4 years has been so damaged that it would not be worthwhile trying again. Pedro Mancebo is on the list of no party. However, the owner of the now defunct CLR party has taken over the Orihuela branch of the new national Citizens Party (Ciudadanos). It will be headed by Juan Ignacio Lopez Bas and the highest positions on its list are occupied by relatives or employees of the owner, a businessman who supports the re-privatization of the multi-million euro street cleaning and rubbish removal service
With the presentation of candidates' lists, the stage is set for an election campaign beginning on 8 May which will be hard fought by a multitude of parties most of which will not reach the minimum of 5% of votes to elect a councillor. In the face of this divided and confusing situation C.L.A.R.O. is convinced that its time has come and that voters will support a party campaigning on the basic of fair, honest and efficient government for all those living in the municipality of Orihuela.