San Antonio and the Change that Never Happened

The New San Antonio Govt led by Marcos Serra

A new centre right alliance has taken over at San Antonio Town Hall for the next 4 years.

The 2015-2019 council is confined to the history books as a once in a generation event. A time when the youth of San Antonio came together, tired of seeing the same snouts in the same trough and the town seemingly on a downward spiral they formed their own political party.

The ‘Reinicia’ Political Party started as a Facebook protest group against the then PP Mayor Pepita Gutiérrez, it gathered momentum and caught the imagination of the 20-40 year olds who had previously been passive in their voting habits.

Reinicia touched a raw nerve with the 2nd and 3rd generation electorate and in their leader Pablo Valdés they found the charismatic talisman that brought them together with a common cause. Valdés, a fiercely intelligent individual, driven by anger at what he was seeing in his town became the mouthpiece of the movement and as their protests at council meetings intensified they decided to do something tangible and start their own political party. On Election Day in May 2015 Reinicia were greatly underestimated by other political parties as their fervent supporters swarmed to the polling stations in their numbers.

They returned 4 councillors which was unheard of for a new political party and in a fragmented election it meant that they had a place at the top table of local government. Their protestations putting residents needs  above tourists struck a chord with those who thought that San Antonio was selling its soul to the tourist dollar.

In the 2015 San Antonio election the socialist PSOE party (with ex-PP member Pep Cires as it’s leader) won 6 seats meaning that between them and Reinicia they had 10 seats in the 21 seat chamber. The centre right PP party won 8 seats (down from their previous 12) and The other 3 seats went to the Propuesta Illes party (PI) who had fallen out spectacularly with the PP during the previous 4 years even though they were both centre right parties.

Just like in the 2019 elections, in 2015 the PI party (now known as PXE) with Juan Jose Ferrer as leader found themselves as the power brokers. Even though it was a giant leap for the Centre right PI to join forces with the left wing Reinicia they did it with glee, revenge after all is a dish best served cold.

Ferrer, Cires & Valdés form the 2015 Coalition

So the 2015 tri-party coalition was born with much fanfare, I wrote a blog post about it at the time. The 3 leaders assuming the mayor, deputy mayor and 2nd deputy roles. The PP was confined to the opposition benches for the first time ever. Now is a good time to declare that I was a part of this PP team, the worst performing PP team in the history of San Antonio, not a nice feeling but a steep learning curve.

So myself and many others gathered in the town hall in June 2015 to watch as the 13 councillors from 3 different parties took the oath to carry out their duties for the greater good of San Antonio. A change is sometimes required to start afresh but it can also remind us what had gone on before.

All the time the ever-serious Pablo Valdés with his steely gaze determined to do things his way shaking up local politics just like Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias had done at national level. No suit for this guy, along with his 3 Reinicia comrades they were the wild bunch of Ibiza politics sticking up their collective middle finger to the establishment, they had the people behind them after all.

The coalition started off amicably but cracks soon started to show and it was always Valdés in the middle of things. It soon became apparent that PSOE leader Pep Cires was more than happy to leave most things to his young deputy, he would open meetings before slipping off, presumably for an early lunch.

So in effect San Antonio was now in the hands of Valdés, a young radical with no previous political experience and with less than 20% of the seats in the chamber, democracy works in mysterious ways. What was clear though was that Sr Valdés had an agenda and now he had the vehicle to drive it through with a complicit Mayor by his side who had fulfilled his job merely by overseeing the PP’s fall from grace.

Valdés focused on cleaning up the town by negotiating a new street cleaning contract plus culling the excessive West End area which is always at the heart of San An’s biggest challenges and something he viewed as his own personal mission.

But all wasn’t rosy within a coalition of differing values and things started to unravel in August 2017 when a feud between Pablo Valdés and Juanjo Ferrer came to light over the new proposed opening hours for the West End.

Ferrer wanted the terraces to be removed at 2am but a hardline Valdés insisted on 12am midnight. Ferrer thought his compromise proposal was agreed but when he was overruled by Valdés he asked Mayor Cires to back him and when that never came he deemed his position untenable and duly resigned.

Valdés riding roughshod over the chamber became a theme. I personally confronted him on a few occasions about the decision to close bars at 3am in a tourist resort fames for its nightlife, the total lack of security in town and his vagueness about the amount of residents genuinely affected by extreme noise pollution in San Antonio. His tone was was always autocratic and dismissive, viewing myself and others as bothersome citizens with no right to directly cross-examine his decisions.

After Ferrer’s departure the PI Party replaced him with the wily Joan Torres, a canny individual not prone to suffering fools and it soon became clear that the dynamic within the 3 party coalition had changed significantly. PI’s Cristina Ribas became more withdrawn and drifted towards the PSOE so when in early 2019 she announced that she was jumping ship it caused an institutional crisis of sorts. PI demanded her resignation and once again Mayor Cires went against them causing the coalition to permanently break up.

As the political fallout was continuously covered in the press, San Antonio hadn’t improved much and for all the hyperbole and promises the revolution hadn’t taken place, the problems had merely been shifted to other areas rather than being solved. Valdés’ revolution never happened because it wasn’t needed, all that was needed was extra police on the street, a consensus with local business and clear framework for delivering small steps rather than giant strides.

The 2019 vote recognised this and as Valdés disappeared from view during the last months of his tenure his fervent 2015 supporters became passive once again. In a close election the PP went against the national trend and won by a whisker and confined Pablo Valdés and his vision to the history books.

Sr Valdés’ attitude to local business and his dismissive manner means he will be forever loved by some but also hated by others. Where his other council colleagues will be able to walk with their heads held high, his decision to make it his personal mission to ‘clean up’ San Antonio will ultimately be viewed as a divisive era for the town.

The strategic plan for San Antonio that he and his colleagues tried to push through without much consensus was a nice idea but yielded very little in real terms except for a handful of people close to the West End having an extra hour of peace while hard working businesses saw trade tumble through no fault of their own. Meanwhile San Antonio’s tourists were a mere afterthought, mostly treated with contempt which is always a dangerous game to play when you have no other industry to fall back on.

What’s clear from the 2015-2019 experience is that running San Antonio is a big job. The biggest job on the island and you can’t please all of the people all of the time but you can confront the challenge with honesty and humility communicating clearly with the people and explaining why you are making the tough decisions and with as much consensus as possible.

Let’s see how the new council led by Marcos Serra approach the challenge but just like the previous 4 years, the Man in San An will be watching every move.

Marcos Serra: A New Chapter for San Antonio

38 year old Marcos Serra became the new Mayor of San Antonio – Ibiza’s 2nd largest municipality – on Saturday 15 June 2019. Here is his inaugural speech in full where he lays out his clear vision for San Antonio for the next 4 years.


Ladies and gentlemen, good morning and thank you for participating in this important institutional act.

We have just witnessed the constitution of the new municipal Corporation. A very significant institutional act that awakens different feelings in all of us. The first for me, without doubt, is gratitude, because I feel an infinite gratitude to all the citizens who, with their vote, have placed their trust in us to form a new government in San Antonio for the next 4 years. My first words are for them, and also for all those who legitimately supported others who will represent them in this new Corporation, because as public officials we owe it to our neighbours above all else.

In this legislature our greatest commitment is to respond to this trust with hard work, dedication and enthusiasm to improve our municipality.

I also want to express my gratitude to all the councillors who have previously been part of this Corporation and who with their effort and dedication have worked to improve and defend the interests of San Antonio. I am convinced that this new Corporation will also work with the firm commitment to always seek the best for our municipality.

Also to my fellow party members for their help and trust and, in particular, to the representatives of the municipal popular party – Ignacio Andrés, Norberta Sánchez and Francisco Montilla who were guided with the invaluable experience of Pepe Sala and Lidia Prats – who today leave aside their political journey but with their hard work have left a great mark on both the City Council and the entire municipality.

Also thanks for the support and trust of the councilors of Proposta per Eivissa (PxE) and Ciudadanos (C’s) to form this government that has as it’s main commitment to work for our neighbours and give a new impetus for the improvement to San Antonio.

Above all, my greatest gratitude is to my family, to my parents and brothers, to my partner and to my friends and colleagues who have supported me and made it possible for me to be here with all of you as Mayor of San Antonio. They are the ones who have given me the necessary strength to fight to carry out our project for San Antonio.

Being here today before you gives me a feeling of enormous responsibility. Representing our people and our town gives me huge pride and is a position that I will assume with honour, honesty and rigour. From now I will be the mayor of all, regardless of political party.

The work of these next 4 years will always be done with honesty, responsibility and respect. Honesty in each step and the decisions that we take as representatives of the citizens of San Antonio. Responsibility at every moment of our work which will be carried out with humility and closeness. And respect to achieve, always with dialogue and collaboration, the greatest consensus for the future of our people.

And if we maintain one thing, above all, it is the close relations with our local residents because we will not forget that we are at your service and, therefore, from now on everyone will find their home in the town hall.

In this sense, the first step we will take and which is effective as of this moment is to open the doors of this council so that our neighbours feel heard. The City Council is the institution closest to the citizens and all those who need help will be attended as appropriate, always offering real solutions, as this is our main obligation as a public office.

The three political parties have created a solid government program with projects and challenges that are fundamental for our municipality and that from today will begin to be a reality.

We all agree that we want a change to achieve the improvement of San Antonio. We want it to become a reference tourist destination and a place of coexistence for all residents. For this, we will carry out important investments such as the creation of an auditorium and a sports complex that promote the culture and sport of our municipality, as well as the reconversion of the old town of San Antonio with a remodelling project that includes measures such as change of pavement, lighting and street furniture.

Measures that facilitate the growth of small and medium companies and the diversification of the tourism sector, which is the beginning of the economic reactivation of our town. We will help the small and medium companies and we will promote public investment policies to accompany the one that is already being carried out by the private sector in recent years.

In this legislature there will be investments but also an improvement of day-to-day management. We want a future project for San Antonio that starts by improving services to citizens. We want our neighbours and tourists to walk through a municipality with clean and safe streets and therefore we will do our best to make these services work.

We will promote security with effective measures increasing the police presence, we will prioritise the actions against intrusiveness that guarantee the security in the municipality and we will promote the public-private collaboration in the most conflictive points of the tourist season.

It is fundamental that we have a clean municipality and we will put all our efforts to carry out an exhaustive control that guarantees the fulfillment of the cleaning contract and the improvement of the working conditions of the workers. We also want a more sustainable municipality and we will promote the use of renewable energies with a council tax bonus for properties that install these systems.

The urban planning department deserves special mention. For us it is essential that it has a good performance and one of our first actions will be to implement an immediate plan to unblock this area and expedite the licensing procedures.

Our municipality has its wealth in its parishes and we want them to be present in the actions of the City Council. Therefore, we will help with the reorganisation and beautification of the rural areas, promoting the approval of the Special Plans of Protection of Sant Mateu, Santa Agnes and Sant Rafel, reducing the traffic at the centre of these towns and expanding the parking areas and public spaces.

We will work with insistence on the issues that affect our neighbours, although some are not the direct responsibility of the City Council, it’s our obligation to find solutions and respond to all problems and for this reason we will be fight for the rights of San Antonio before the other state administrations.

We will demand a reform of the Insular Territorial Plan and the Agrarian Law (PTI) agreed with the rural sector because it is a clear concern among our citizens. In addition, we will pursue fundamental projects such as the roundabouts of the Ses Païsses avenue, a better provision of public transport or road improvements and lighting in the different parishes of the municipality.

We are facing a new stage and I face it with a feeling of immense happiness because there is no greater honour than being at the service of your people. I congratulate all the councilors of all the political parties that make up this Corporation that from today will represent all ‘portmanyins’ throughout this term.

San Antonio is the town where I was born and raised. I have grown up on its streets and the roots that I have implanted are so deep that they are rooted in my heart. And from my heart I will work for all the people with the conviction that we will be able to carry out an exciting project so that each and every one of us can feel proud to say out loud that we are from San Antonio.

I wish you all luck and success. Thank you for your confidence, from this moment I am at your service.

Marcos Serra Colomar, 15 June 2019

New Centre Right Coalition Council for San Antonio

Joan Torres (PXE) & Marcos Serra (PP)

The PxE Party voted last night to form a coalition council with the PP & Ciudadanos in San Antonio.

The town had been in limbo for a couple of weeks since the election result gave up no clear winner meaning that a coalition had to be negotiated between the 5 parties who won seats on the 21 seat council.

Finally, in the early hours of this morning news broke that the PxE members had voted in favour of joining forces with the PP and Ciudadanos to form a centre right coalition meaning that Marcos Serra will become the new Mayor of San Antonio in Saturdays inauguration.

PSOE will now go back to the opposition benches after 4 controversial years running Ibiza’s 2nd largest town.

Source: Periodico de Ibiza

80’s Nostalgia Hits San An

If you’re of a certain vintage like me then you’re about to get a massive nostalgia rush in the form of Boom Boom Live at Es Paradis which opens tonight and then every Thursday until 12 September.

We all know that the 80’s was the very best decade with big hair, questionable fashions, plastic jewelry and black eye-liner and that was just the boys but it also had some amazing artists performing iconic songs that were the soundtrack for a generation.

The artists confirmed for this night will take you right back to snogging your school sweetheart at the local disco in front of all your friends and feeling like the cat that got the cream.

You can’t criticize Alexander O’Neal and Leee John will leave nothing to the imagination. Let’s see if Snap still have the power to please and if Pat Sharp still has that famous mullet. The Sugar Hill Gang are sure to be a delight and Baby D is everyone’s fantasy. You’ll definitely want to stay another day with East 17 and turn around to Aswad. Make sure you don’t close your eyes for Go West and be sure to show some love for Robin S. Jazzie B from Soul to Soul will be coming back to life and Alison Limerick is still looking for where the love lies (we all know that’s in San Antonio btw). It’s true that Tony Hadley is pure gold and Curiosity Killed the Cat will try to bring you back down to earth after this amazing trip down memory lane.

As you can see the decade of cheese is well and truly back and just like the 80’s it’s all about throwing off your inhibitions and having some good old fashioned fun something today’s VIP wannabes are sadly lacking.

More info at

13 June – 12 September

Doors Open from 9pm

Decision time for San Antonio Politicians

They say that a week is a long time in politics so the last 10 days might have seemed like a lifetime for some after the 26 May local elections proved inconclusive for San Antonio.

As predicted there was no clear majority so now it’s all about negotiations between the 5 parties that won seats and, as sometimes happens with proportional representation, those with the fewest votes have the strongest hand.

A low 49% turnout saw the Partido Popular (PP) defy the critics coming first with just over 3000 votes and gaining 9 seats. The Socialist Party (PSOE) came in second winning 8 seats with 2853 votes while Podemos came in 3rd with 870 votes and 2 seats. The PXE Party (Proposal for Ibiza) gained 458 votes and 1 seat and finally Ciudadanos’ (C’s) returned 436 votes winning 1 seat.

11 seats are needed to form a majority in the 21 seat council so some simple maths is all that’s required to work out that 3 parties will need to team up together to form a coalition government……and this is where it gets interesting.

The centre right C’s have clearly stated on a national level that they won’t work with the left wing Podemos under any circumstances so PSOE’s only hope is that the moderate PXE party join with them and Podemos……,, however PXE had a very public fallout with PSOE just before the election after one of their team switched sides, something which isn’t taken lightly in Spanish politics.

This spat is still rumbling on and PXE refuse to negotiate with PSOE until they remove their former member from any prospective government team, something they have so far refused to do.

One way forward is for PP, PXE and C’s to form an 11 seat majority government but there’s no love lost between PP and PXE from previous administrations so this isn’t as straightforward as it appears especially after the centre right PXE decided to go with the left wing coalition in 2015 specifically to oust the PP.

We now have to wait and see if Marcos Serra (PP) and Joan Torres (PXE) can put the past behind them and look to the future while Simon Planells (PSOE) waits in the wings preparing his own olive branch.

The inauguration of the new council is on 15 June so all parties have little over a week to agree on a way forward for a 3 way deal to form a majority government for San Antonio.