End to the 2,381 days of Juan Espadas as mayor of Seville, since he assumed office for the first time on June 13, 2016. With an end that he had carefully prepared but that, putting aside his initial plans, he had to precipitate In the last hours before the incompatibility of the position with the status of senator who assumes this Tuesday, Espadas said goodbye insisting that he leaves the city better than he found it and with a project underway, guaranteeing that he will “continue working for me city but now also throughout Andalusia, for each of its towns and cities “.
Antonio Muñoz has less than a year to convince Seville … and his party as mayor
He thus referred to his candidacy for the Junta de Andalucía by the Andalusian PSOE, of which he has been secretary general since last July after, previously, having won Susana Díaz the primaries to be the head of the electoral poster in the 2022 regional elections. Now he leaves the Seville City Council after four initial years as a councilor in the opposition and six and a half years as mayor, in which he led “an ambitious project to improve municipal services and facilities, renovation and investment in urban habitat, protection of our historical and cultural heritage or national and international projection of this land “. The replacement will now be taken on January 3 at the latest by the Urban Habitat delegate, Antonio Muñoz, until then the first deputy mayor, Sonia Gaya, assumed the role of acting mayor.
The plenary session in which the municipal corporation learned of the resignation of Espadas as mayor and councilor was short and with the opposition wishing him the best personally, not politically. The former mayor said goodbye personally to the councilors of all municipal groups and, with the plenary hall already empty, he was left giving hugs to fellow party members and officials.
The “exciting road” of being mayor
Espadas did not make much of a show in his goodbye. In a first and brief intervention, he limited himself to reading his resignation letter, in which he included that one of his concerns has been “to project the values that define us as the rich, plural, egalitarian society that we are” in a city that “respects its important past and traditions, enjoy its present and prepare for its future “. “Being mayor of Seville is an exciting path in which I only feel gratitude and satisfaction for the privilege of having represented my city”, also underlining that he is leaving with “the confidence that the progress project for Seville continues”.
His second speech, with which the plenary session was closed, did have a more personal component, recalling, for example, when in March 2010 his party commissioned him to leave the Andalusian Government in which he was a counselor to embark on an “epic and complex task “what it was like trying to get the PSOE to retain the Mayor’s Office. He did not succeed at the first attempt and his defeat at the polls gave way to Juan Ignacio Zoido as mayor and the largest absolute majority in democratic history in the capital.
“They don’t represent us”
That corporation was constituted in June 2011, in full effervescence of 15-M and with the town hall surrounded by protesters shouting a phrase that marked him and that he has tried to fight as mayor: “They do not represent us.” A decade later, he has to take on another “important challenge” such as the assault on San Telmo, another “epic situation” like his first attempt at the Mayor’s Office and in which many also “take for granted the results” that point to his defeat.
In the hour of goodbye, Espadas did not take stock of his years and limited himself to indicating that there have been two crises but that the current one caused by the pandemic is going to come out in a better way, “you have to have confidence and hope.” Of his administration he gave four strokes regarding how the city was when he arrived and how it is now that it is leaving: the demographic crisis has been turned around, there are more Social Security affiliates, the number of unemployed has been reduced and the number of companies has grown to the “historical record” of 50,973 in November.
Manage a minority city
As for the opposition, the PP made a brief review of what it considers its breaches (led by continuing to have the poorest neighborhoods in Spain and the lack of cleanliness), Cs congratulated himself that “the soap opera” of his goodbye ends and the half year of paralysis of the City Council and Vox reproached him that now he becomes “representative of the worst president that Spain has had.” From Adelante Sevilla, which brings together Podemos and IU, it was recognized that it had known how to cope “with how difficult it is to manage the city in the minority.” From the PSOE all were congratulations: “He has transformed Seville, he is a good manager, a beautiful person and a good man.”
Espadas apologized for the mistakes made and stressed that he has “left his skin” in defense of the city. He pointed out as the culminating point of these years to the pact for the recovery of Seville after the pandemic that was approved unanimously in May 2020 – “there we do represent the Sevillians well” – and urged his already ex-colleagues to “continue working for Seville because it is worth it “. “I will continue to be very aware of yours”, he warned them, an intervention after which he gave a hug to his successor, Antonio Muñoz, with whom he put an end to his 2,381 days as mayor.