Información TV broadcasted a debate to allow the candidates in local elections in Torrevieja to share their manifestos whilst also questioning and challenging one another. Each of the candidates for mayor had one minute in which to introduce themselves and their party and make a brief case before passing on. Following this, different topical subjects were raised and candidates asked for their opinions.
Taking part were José Manuel Dolón (Los Verdes-Compromiso Municipal), Eduardo Dolón (PP), Pablo Samper (SueñaTorrevieja), Pilar Gómez Magán (Ciudadanos), Susana Fernández (IzquierdaUnida-Unidas en Confluencia) and Carolina Vigara (Vox).
The topics of conversation are familiar to those reading this paper. The town’s general plan, the theatre closure, the town’s waste collection service, health service and bus service. During the debate the current mayor, José Manuel Dolón defended the decisions and actions taken by the coalition government that has presided over the town hall for the past four years.
The general plan for the town is completely out of date and has been patched up for many years. Candidates were in general agreement that a new plan is needed. Debate continued around the subject of the lack of hotels in the town and the town’s approach to tourism. There was criticism of the plans to build houses rather than hotels in areas such as La Hoya. However, it was pointed out that some of these plans were laid during the jurisdiction of previous governments and could not be overturned.
All the parties agreed that they want the theatre to open but how to go about this was the subject of debate. The signature of the architect responsible for the theatre is needed for it to re-open. Although this was disputed by the PP who claim that it can open with existing licences. Other parties variously indicated that either there should be negotiation with the architect or he should be denounced. There was even an argument to say that the PP shouldn’t have built it in the first place.
The management of Torrevieja hospital is currently a public/ private model and the concession ends in 2021. Los Verdes, Sueña and Izquierda Unida would like to see the hospital brought back under public control. A move that is discounted by the right wing parties. However, they did agree that Ribera Salud should pay the staff over the summer.
One area that the parties all agreed on was that of the bus service. It was accepted that this could no longer continue as a free service to registered residents although there should still be concessions for pensioners and young people.
The town’s cleaning service was discussed with the PP accusing the current government of wasting two years trying to bring it back under town hall control. However, José Manuel Dolón pointed out that it was the constant voting block operated by the PP and Ciudadanos that prevented any progress being made with the reallocation of this service.
The parties were in agreement that elections are no longer a two-party affair. The dominance of the PP and PSOE is in the past. So who did the parties say they would sign up with?
Carolina Vigara (Vox) rules out any allegiance with the left. Susana Fernandez (Izquierda) has discarded the idea of supporting the three right-wing parties (Cs, Vox and PP) and PSOE indicated that they would be open to the parties of the left and possiblyCiudadanos too. Ciudadanos for their part indicated that they would not form a pact with Vox but neither with a party who wants to impose valenciano.
All those debating were quick to see the town’s problems but what is less clear is how they will work together to implement any solutions. What the town really needs are candidates prepared to put aside political ambition to ensure that decisions can be made and acted upon in the best interests of the town’s people.
The debate, Debate electoral Torrevieja, can be watched on YouTube: