Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Unusual post-electoral situation in Jimena

JIMENA (EFE/Photo: TioJimeno)  Jimena de la Frontera is facing an unusual post-electoral situation. The Mayor-elect, Francisco Pineda, suffered a cerebral ictus during the campaign and has been in hospital since then, without any possibility of taking up his post. A retired Army man, this was the first time Pineda had ever stood for election, heading the PP list that won an unprecedented 7 seats on the Council, the same number as the PSOE who have been in power in the municipality since the advent of democracy in 1985. Pineda remains in his room at the Puerta del Mar Hospital in Cadiz, where his health is improving very slowly. He still needs assisted breathing and feeding but is conscious and responding to stimuli with smiles and facial expressions. His motor functions remain paralized, however. According to family sources, he was told that he had won the elections as soon as it was confirmed that he had regained consciousness - two tears rolled down his cheeks at the news. As to the political situation, there appears to be a grey area in the law.>
On May 22, local voters chose the PP with 2,162 votes, just 226 above those of the PSOE. Both parties therefore have seven seats each on the Council, the IU two and PA, one.
Jimena's acting Mayor, Pascual Collado, PSOE, who visits his rival regularly in hospital and keeps in touch with the family, says that he is trying to find a solution to the gray area in Article 196 of the Electoral Law, which says that when there is not an absolute majority, the Mayor comes from the party with most votes.

What it does not mention, though, is what happens in such a case as that of Jimena, where the mayor is unable to take up his position as councillor, nor, on June 11, his seat as Mayor.
According to Collado, the Council law services are looking for a formula with the Provincial authorities that would fill a 'power vacuum'. Nor is it clear what happens if Pineda resigned his place in favour of the second on his list as the result of his serious medical condition.

Still, not all options are closed, apparently, as the local PSOE has been in touch with IU to form a "progressive government" together. Collado, who also heads the PSOE in Jimena, is awaiting a reply. However, sources at the local IU headquarters say that the United Left is unlikely to come to an agreement with the socialists because "it was evident that the voters did not want the PSOE in power any longer."

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