The residents of El Escorial woke up this Thursday without knowing that in a few days, next September 16, after 14 uninterrupted years of PP government, they will change their mayor if the motion of censure that they have agreed and registered already prospers in the City Council the PSOE, Unidas El Escorial (UEE, a confluence that brings together Podemos, Izquierda Unida and Now El Escorial) – and the only mayor who achieved Ciudadanos there in 2019. Marta de la Vera now gives the left an opportunity after leaving in February the municipal government in which he was responsible for Security, Human Resources, Security, Traffic, Transport, Health and Consumption.
Two years after the pact between PP and Ciudadanos, these three municipal groups have joined forces and, after closing an alliance negotiated with absolute discretion for several weeks, they registered this Wednesday a motion of censure against the mayor, Antonio Vicente, who will be replaced by the socialist Cristian Martín, as long as the mayor of Inés Arrimadas’ party does not change her opinion at the last minute. The triumph of the motion depends on it, since the PP and Vox, on the one hand, and PSOE and UEE, on the other, have eight councilors. Your vote is essential. This writing has tried to know the reasons that have led it to take this step, but has declined to make any statements. “I do not want to speak for now,” he said.
From the regional directorate of Citizens led by Begoña Villacís, they have distanced themselves from De la Vera’s decision. In an ambiguous statement they assure that “this action does not respond to any decision consulted or participated in by the party, it responds only to a decision of the spokesperson for Citizens in the municipality, motivated by successive disagreements with the current mayor, so it has no significance. beyond the scope of the municipality itself “. “This councilor was part of the Governing Board of the Consistory, together with PP and Podemos, until last February 5, 2021, at which time he left the government team. From Ciudadanos we express our commitment to the municipality and express the intention to continue working for all the residents of El Escorial “, settles the text, which does not clarify whether it will be sanctioned for breaking the pact with the PP.
Some of the neighbors consulted by this newsroom, who have learned about the motion of censure through social networks and through ‘word of mouth’ in the town, have welcomed the news. “This mayor has done almost nothing for the neighbors. Much less for the young people. Everything has remained in promises. He has exercised his mandate as a cacique,” says Teresa, a social worker in a nursing home. María, autonomous and close to retirement, also celebrates the change while acknowledging that she was oblivious to this political maneuver. “Here people are now more aware of the pilgrimage of Nuestra Señora de la Herrería than of anything else, especially after not having been able to celebrate the festivities because of the pandemic,” he says.
El Escorial is a municipality of just over 15,000 inhabitants that shares an environment with its stately ‘brother’ of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, where the historic Monastery is located, and where PP and Ciudadanos continue to govern. They are popularly known as El Escorial ‘de Abajo’ and el ‘de Arriba’. In the previous elections, the PP achieved six councilors in the ‘de Abajo’; the PSOE, five; the United El Escorial coalition, three; Vox, two; and Citizens, only one. Then, according to the UEE spokesperson, Tamara Ontoria, the left tried to reach an agreement to form a government for which the support of the mayor of the Arrimadas party was essential, as it is now for the motion of censure to triumph. But De la Vera decided, by order of the party leadership, to support the investiture of the leader of the PP, Antonio Vicente. In exchange, he managed to hold a council while Podemos agreed to be represented on the Local Government Board, the collegiate body that directs the administration of the City Council.
His decision caused discomfort among the other left parties. The Local Government Board is made up of the mayor, who presides over it, and the councilors freely appointed and dismissed by him. Tamara Ontoria believes that this body must be plural and announces that if the motion of censure is successful, all groups will participate in it, “also those of the opposition”, that is, PP and Vox. In that sense, the spokeswoman for the left-wing coalition assures this wording that in the new distribution of powers, if the motion goes ahead, Marta de la Vera would not enter the local government although she would be part of the Board of Government.
Regarding the reasons that have led De la Vera to change sides now – although she has not wanted to explain them to this medium – all versions converge in her constant friction with the mayor. Antonio Vicente runs a family restaurant in the municipality and according to some neighbors, “he has many acolytes and has created a whole network of patronage around him.” “He likes to put many flags in the town but he works only for himself and his family,” says one of those locals who prefers not to be quoted. “We all know each other here”, he justifies himself. A few years ago, the councilor’s restaurant was fined 10,000 euros by the Ministry of Employment and Social Security for “an obstruction in matters of Social Security”, according to the blog Escorial environment .
Tamara Ontoria remarks that after so many years of the PP government a “political exhaustion” had been reached and she is committed to giving impetus to “new ideas and projects”. As he clarifies, his group, Unidas El Escorial, has not supported the Government of Antonio Vicente by virtue of being on the Local Government Board, but has included “programmatic proposals and their budgetary support.” “Legal stability had already been given by the norm granted by the mayor’s office and the formation of a government to the candidate on the most voted list in the absence of absolute majorities of anyone.” In his opinion, “things have been changing due to the progressive delay in materially fulfilling those approved proposals and motions, of which only a small part has begun their execution” and now there is a majority to unseat the PP from the municipal seat.
The one who is expected to be the new mayor, the socialist Cristian Martín, declared in statements to the local newspaper Here in the Sierra, that the fundamental objective is to have “a stable government, putting an end to 14 years of PP governments that have led to a progressive loss of quality in public services”, also denouncing the “opacity” and “lack of transparency” of the management.
Now all eyes are on the mayor of Ciudadanos to see if he keeps his word to support the motion of censure, since it is not the first time that a leader of the formation who defines himself liberal gives a surprise, an extreme that Martin discards : “We have everything perfectly agreed, down to the last comma.” “We are all clear about it and we have made a very important effort to reach this agreement,” he said in the same medium.
Despite this new loss in the Community of Madrid and the crisis suffered in Boadilla –where there have been several casualties of councilors for different reasons–, Ciudadanos continues to maintain government pacts with the PP in several locations, including Collado Villalba, Alpedrete, Guadarrama or Valdemorillo, as well as San Lorenzo de El Escorial. For his part, Villacís has started this summer to make changes in the spokespersons of some municipalities in order to prepare the ground for the 2023 elections by promoting leaders of his trust and eliminating those placed by his predecessor Ignacio Aguado, as in Alcobendas and in Rivas Vaciamadrid.