It’s been a busy year so far for the local politicians on the White Isle and it’s just about to get a whole lot busier – whoever said politics is boring obviously wasn’t referring to Ibiza.
After the May elections it’s Spanish tradition to give new local governments a 100 day grace period but that time is now coming to an end so buckle up and expect plenty of mudslinging as the gloves come off and island politics gets a little tasty again. Having been involved in the last election campaign and having been referred to as an idiot on more than one occasion here’s my own unique overview of how the island currently stands after the euphoria and disappointment of the elections followed by the June inaugurations.
* denotes incumbent ruling party/parties
CONSELL INSULAR (IBIZA ISLAND COUNCIL)
IN: Vicent Torres (PSOE) – OUT: Vicent Serra (PP)
Popular Party: 6 seats
PSOE*: 4 seats
Podemos*: 3 seats
Points of Order: The socialist PSOE party and left wing Podemos finally joined forces after some protracted and fractious negotiations to oust PP President Vicent Serra. PSOE’s Vicent Torres became island president whilst Serra resigned as president of the PP taking the blame personally for his party’s poor election results. He will carry on as opposition leader in the council but has been replaced as President by Jose Vicente Mari Boso.
Any Other Business: New president Vicent Torres speaks perfect English and is a former Director General for Balearic tourism and was the person who signed the winter flights agreement with Ryanair back in 2007. Torres will also oversee tourism whilst Podemos leader and Vice President Viviana de Sans will be in charge transparency, participation, good governance and employment/training.
Chance of Success: 6/10 – Torres is a good man but this well meaning coalition could flounder if Podemos decide to throw their toys out of pram.
EIVISSA (IBIZA TOWN)
IN: Rafael Ruiz (PSOE) – OUT: Virginia Mari (PP)
Popular Party: 8 seats
PSOE*: 8 seats
Guanyem*: 4 seats
MC Epic: 1 seat
Points of Order: Rafa Ruiz of PSOE and Joan Ribas of left wing ‘Guanyem’ got up close and personal to get rid of PP Mayor Virginia Mari promising to restart the many projects that were mothballed by the previous administration.
Any Other Business: The previous PP led council had been mired in scandal and had no fewer than 3 Mayors during it’s 4 year administration. Marienna Sánchez-Jáuregui resigned after 2 years due to an ‘irregular payments’ scandal then Pilar Mari was forced out after sending insulting text messages. Virginia Mari was the 3rd Mayor but her tenure lasted less than 10 months.
Chance of success: 7/10 – The new government will appeal to Ibiza Town’s multi cultural electorate and in any case can’t be worse than the previous fiasco, can they?
SANT ANTONI DE PORTMANY
IN: Jose Tur (PSOE) – OUT: Pepita Gutierrez (PP)
Popular Party: 8 seats
PSOE*: 6 seats
Reinicia*: 4 seats
El PI*: 3 seats
Points of Order: The white isle’s 2nd largest town saw a cataclysmic shift as the smaller parties buddied up to form a 3 party coalition to remove the PP for the 1st time ever. Jose Tur (aka Pep Cires) became Mayor with Pablo Valdes (Reinicia) becoming deputy Mayor and Juan Jose Ferrer (El PI) as 2nd deputy mayor. The biggest shock here was the new people’s party ‘Reinicia’ who came from nowhere to claim 4 seats using strong rhetoric and propaganda mainly through social media.
Any Other Buisness: Previous Mayor Pepita Gutierrez was de-selected by her own party causing a split in the ranks from which the party never recovered. Ex bank chief and new mayor Jose Tur Pep Cires is technically retired and doesn’t take a salary as he already receives a pension.
Chance of Success: 6/10 – rising star Pablo Valdes of Reinicia is one to watch for the future but may be dragged down by internal conflicts. Lots of potential surprises in store especially in years 3 & 4.
SANTA EULARIA DES RIU
NO CHANGE: Vicent Mari (PP)
Popular Party*: 12 seats
PSOE: 5 seats
Guanyem: 4 seats
Points of Order: Ibiza’s sweet seaside town saw PP Mayor Vicent Mari re-elected for his 3rd straight term but this time with a lower majority. Although he said he wouldn’t run in 2015 he was ‘persuaded’ to change his mind and promised to keep on working hard and take up the challenge of the ‘second revolution of tourism’ (whatever that means).
Any Other Business: Talamanca, Jesus and Can Furnet might be overlooking Ibiza Town but all are in the municipality of Santa Eulalia.
Chance of success: 9/10 – this staunchly conservative municipality may struggle to work with the socialist island government but should consolidate their position as Ibiza’s most pleasant tourist resort.
SANT JOSEP DE SA TALAIA
IN: Josep Mari Ribas – Out: Neus Mari Mari
PSOE*: 9 seats
Popular Party: 6 seats
Guanyem*: 4 seats
Alternativa Insular: 2 seats
Points of Order: PSOE and Guanyem joined together to make Josep Mari Ribas (aka Agustinet) mayor once more. It was a sweet victory for Agustinet after a motion of censure removed him from the Mayors office in December 2011 when the PP and the ‘Alternativa Insular’ party ganged up and outed him.
Any Other Buisness: San Jose Town Hall has been bogged down for many years with court cases and corruption claims. Agustinet has promised to address issues of public transport, noise pollution (especially beach bars/clubs) and water distribution over the next 4 years.
Chance of Success: 6/10 – Agustinet will want to settle scores from 2011 so expect some fireworks. Never a dull moment in Sant Josep and there could be major headlines from the municipality regarding beach clubs.
SANT JOAN DE LABRITJA
NO CHANGE: Antonio Mari (PP)
Popular Party*: 9 seats
PSOE: 2 seats
Guanyem: 1 seat
MEC: 1 seat
Points of Order: Sleepy northern municipality Sant Joan is about a safe a seat as you could wish for with Antonio Mari Mari (known locally as ‘Carraca’) being returned for a 5th straight victory. He has promised to maintain the municipality as a quality touristic destination but also concentrate on local issues such as transport and sporting infrastructure.
Any Other Business: Sant Joan has only 3500 registered voters making it the smallest municipality in terms of voters, it also has the largest Romanian population who take their voting responsibility very seriously. The surname ‘Mari’ features in 8 of the 13 PP councillors names.
Chance of success: 10/10 – ‘Carraca’ to continue his strong leadership over the north of the island with his bull terrier attitude. He knows that the north is the relatively untouched gem of the island so cross him at your peril.
I know it’s not Ibiza but also let’s not forget…..
NO CHANGE: Jaume Ferrer (GxF)
GxF* (People for Formentera): 9 seats
Popular Party: 4 seats
PSOE: 2 seats
CompromisFormentera: 2 seats
Points of Order: Formentera continued to be the only municipality in the archipelago that is ruled by it’s own autonomous party, shrugging off interference from outside and returning Jaume Ferrer again as it’s leader but now with his own majority. The 4th Balearic island continues to be a world class destination with its feet firmly in the eco-friendly camp. A shining light in local politics that, strangely, nobody else seems to want to replicate.
Any Other Business: Most of the candidates and parties share a common goal and cross party agreement is quite normal only arguing over the detail.
Chance of success: 9/10 – Formentera hearts and souls are firmly fixed inwards rather than to Ibiza, Palma or Madrid. The jewel of the Med continues to shine bright with it’s own autonomy.
So there you have my personal overview of where the island currently stands but there will be plenty of twists and turns ahead so expect daily headlines with accusations and counter accusations from all the usual suspects, smoke screens and mirrors and even the occasional agreement. Ibiza is many things but it is never dull and that is also reflected in the corridors of power. We are watching!