BENISSA TURNS LEFT WITH NEW MAYOR

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jo Pugh jpugh@cb­news.es

ABEL Car­dona, of the left-wing Reini­ciem Benissa party, was elected the new mayor of Benissa on Tues­day even­ing.

The coun­cil vote was the con­se­quence of the res­ig­na­tion af­ter 18 years in of­fice of the pre­vi­ous mayor, Juan Bautista Roselló,

Abel Car­dona was elected af­ter only one vote was re­quired to swing the de­ci­sion ei­ther way be­tween can­di­dates - him­self and PP coun­cil­lor Ar­turo Po­quet.

The de­ci­sive vote came from the coun­cil­lor for the cen­trist Ci­u­dadanos party, Isi­dor Mollà, who voted for Car­dona.

Mollà, who was mayor of Benissa be­fore Roselló, had been un­der se­vere pres­sure from his party and res­i­dents in the hours prior to his vote to pre­vent Car­dona from ob­tain­ing power, even be­ing ver­bally abused and threat­ened with ex­pul­sion from his own party.

The room erupted into ap­plause as he ap­peared late, and he im­me­di­ately gave his vote, bring­ing po­lit­i­cal up­heaval to the town.

The de­ci­sion was broad­cast live from the packed town hall on YouTube.

The pre­vi­ous mayor, Juan Bautista Roselló, is a PP mem­ber and in his let­ter of res­ig­na­tion he stressed he wanted to pass on the re­spon­si­bil­ity to fel­low party mem­ber Ar­turo Po­quet. But over the last few days, the op­po­si­tion groups, the left-wing par­ties of Reini­ciem Benissa, PSPV-PSOE and Com- promís, reached an agree­ment in uni­son to un­seat Po­quet.

The meet­ing was there­fore called to make the fi­nal vote to de­cide be­tween the two can­di­dates, Ar­turo Po­quet (PP), and the man who was sec­ond place in the last lo­cal elec­tions, Abel Car­dona. Both had re­ceived eight votes each for and Mollà fi­nally swung the de­ci­sion by vot­ing for Car­dona.

Car­dona, a lo­cal bas­ket­ball coach who has been in pol­i­tics for two years, promised to make Benissa a 'di­verse, mul­ti­cul­tural and trans­par­ent town, but keep­ing it Va­len­cian'. He stated that de­ci­sions would no longer be made by the coun­cil be­hind closed doors, but that cit­i­zens would be able to have an in­put into their town, a town which would now have ‘heart and soul’.

Reini­ciem Benissa is part of the far-left na­tional Pode­mos group led by Pablo Igle­sias.

New mayor Abel Car­dona

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