The municipal elections of 28-M left 8,000 residents of 49 small municipalities without a mayor in which, either due to a lack of candidates or due to errors in the count, it was necessary to repeat the elections. The new vote took place on November 26, and this Wednesday the deadline for allegations ended, so that the Corporations can now be constituted. Most of these towns (38) are in Navarre, where 26 towns will have a new mayor for the next four years. On the other hand, the remaining 12 will be governed by a management company, either because no candidacies have been presented or because no valid votes were registered for any list. Another 11 municipalities, distributed between Segovia, Burgos, Teruel, Salamanca, Ourense and Guadalajara, also elected their new mayor.
When the elections come six months later to the people
Sources from the Navarre Federation of Municipalities and Councils (FNMC) point out that the lack of neighbourhood initiative in small towns has been common in the region for decades. "Almost all of these villages are in rural areas and have less than 100 or 200 inhabitants. The population is aging and people think that no one is up to these things anymore. In addition, the mayor sometimes has to argue with the neighbors and unwanted enmities are generated," says the outgoing president, Juan Jesús Echaide. The fact that in most cases the position of mayor is unpaid, together with the excessive bureaucratic burden or the requirement to have technical knowledge are other reasons that end up leaving the position of councillor vacant, according to the FNMC.
In Monroyo (Teruel), Miguel Gascón (PP) has achieved an absolute majority in an election in which he has beaten Teruel Hay and in which the PSOE, which governed until now, did not run. In Cabezuela (Segovia), journalist Florentino Descalzo will be the next mayor after the Cabezuela Electors' Association obtained 96% of the votes against Óscar Ortiz (Progreso de Ciudades Alianza Alternativa). On the other hand, in three of the four municipalities in Burgos that have repeated elections there was only one candidate, so the results were predictable. This is the case of Peral de Arlanza (Burgos), where Ricardo de la Peña (PP) will govern; Trespaderne, which will have Begoña Lavín (PSOE) as mayor; and Quintanilla de La Mata, where Mónica Sanz (PSOE) will carry the baton. In Zael, the PP and the PSOE competed, with the socialist Ana Isabel Angulo winning.
A man goes to a polling station in Navarre during Sunday's elections. Eduardo Sanz (Europa Press)
The case of Navarre is more complex. In eight localities, the registration period closed again with no candidates. Therefore, Bargota, Etayo, Villanueva de Aezkoa, Izalzu, Navascués, Lezaun, Orisoiain and Sarriés will continue to be in the hands of management commissions appointed by the regional administration. In 30 other Navarrese municipalities, candidates did stand and election day went normally, except in four: Urroz, Areso and Muruzábal, where no voters attended, and Atez, where all votes were null or blank. These four towns are added to the eight without candidacy so that, in total, there will be 12 Navarrese municipalities that will remain in the hands of a management commission.
Therefore, only 26 of the 38 Navarrese councils in which the elections have been repeated will have a mayor, who will be appointed by the plenary session of the respective city councils on December 16. Most of the winning lists belong to local associations, except in the case of Escároz and Arantza, where EH Bildu won. The new president of the FNMC, Juan Carlos Castillo, considers that, although the figure of the mayor is always important for the development of municipal life, the work of the management commissions can be "perfectly valid".
In addition, and as a novelty as a result of the new Local Administration Law of 2019, the nine Navarrese councils that have accumulated two full electoral calls (2019 and 2023) without candidates could be dissolved as administration. Councils are small local communities embedded within a municipality. They have their own territory, and although their population is smaller, they have the capacity to manage some local affairs.
The legislation indicates that chaining two consecutive electoral cycles without a candidacy is a cause of possible dissolution, but it is still too early to determine the final decision, in the hands of the provincial executive. The councils that are in this situation are Narbarte (in the municipality of Bertizarana), Antxoritz (Esteribar), Azanza (Goñi), Igal (Güesa), Iturgoyen (Guesálaz), Ardanaz de Izagaondoa (Izagaondoa), Navascués (Navascués), Olaiz (Oláibar) and Bearin (Valle de Yerri).
Repetition at tables where irregularities were recorded
The lack of mayoral hopefuls was not the only reason for repeating elections on November 26. Residents of polling stations where irregularities were registered last May and whose results were annulled by a final judgment or by agreement of the Electoral Board were also called to the polls. This is the case of Castro Caldelas (Ourense); two tables in Fiñana (Almería) and Ceutí (Murcia); and a table in Ocentejo (Guadalajara) and Puerto Seguro (Salamanca).
In all these municipalities, except for Ceutí, the repetition of elections has not led to any change in the electoral results. In the Murcian town, the new count does subtract one councillor from the PSOE and adds one to Vox. Thus, the new configuration, with 8 seats for the PSOE, 5 for the PP, 3 for Vox and one for Ciudadanos, gives the orange formation the key to opt for a socialist government or a coalition between conservatives and the far right.
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