There was an air of unease among the two hundred people who were demonstrating this Thursday afternoon in Móstoles, the second city of Madrid, with 210,000 inhabitants. Veterans of a thousand battles who remembered, like Felix, when in the mobilizations to claim schools in the city, in the 80s, the police moved away from the sidewalks to avoid the flowerpots thrown by the neighbors. That was three decades ago and today’s parents are grandparents, retirees who demand that the Community of Madrid does not close the health centers in the afternoons. The march had been called since last week and did not anticipate the imputation of the entire municipal government board, which has generated the umpteenth political crisis of a very convulsed legislature.
The idea that there is no escape from corruption, left or right, that it rains over wet, was expressed by Gustavo, one of the members of the Móstoles Pueblo Vivo platform present at the demonstration. “Here they have stolen one and the other,” he lamented. Perhaps that is why, when the demonstration passed through the town hall, there were hardly any chants against the municipal government. “Resignation, trileros!” shouted one of the young men, who were the fewest, but no one followed him. Carmen, a kindergarten teacher, a union activist about to turn 60, summed up the general feeling of the left-wing voter: “This is insufferable.”
Móstoles celebrated in the afternoon, after the passage of the protesters, an extraordinary municipal plenary session at the request of PP, Vox and Ciudadanos to demand the resignation of the mayor, Noelia Posse (PSOE) and her entire team. A court charged last week with embezzlement and prevarication to the governing board that in October 2020 approved the reduction of the municipal canon and the debt of the company that carries an ITV service, which has led the council to renounce almost 2, 5 million euros. The cause arose from a complaint from Ganar Móstoles, a formation linked to Más Madrid. The cessation proposal failed, as planned.
Of the last four mayors that Móstoles has had, not counting the current one, Noelia Posse (PSOE), three have had serious problems with the justice system. José María Arteta, a socialist and councilor in the nineties, received 10 months in prison for spending more than 100,000 euros with a Caja Madrid ‘black’ card. He was succeeded by the PP by Esteban Parro and David Ortiz, both recently prosecuted for their involvement in the Punic plot of corruption. Only David Lucas, current Secretary General of Housing of the state government, left office without blemish.
Then came Posse, which has been chaining controversies of various degrees. It began with the authorization of a dilapidated music festival 50 meters from the houses, against neighborhood criteria. Next came the hiring of family members (her sister was going to run the social networks of the town hall, although she ended up dismissed in the face of criticism). Those plugs caused the breakdown of the tripartite of socialists with Podemos and Ganar Móstoles, a formation associated with Más Madrid, which left the government. This, added to the dismissals of officials responsible for uncomfortable reports, and now the judicial investigation, have kept municipal life in a permanent state of turmoil.
The march for public health advanced and was dissolved an hour before the extraordinary plenary session, where it was already anticipated that the accounts of the right-wing opposition were not going to come out. The PSOE, with 10 councilors, and Podemos, with two, govern with the occasional support of a former Citizens councilor, who now goes on his own (a wayward second mayor is out and does not usually attend plenary sessions). In addition, the spokesperson for Ganar Madrid, Gabriel Ortega, abstained, claiming that the plenary session was not executive and that the motion was “pure representation” of the right-wing parties. “When it was necessary to report, they did nothing,” he justified.
The foregoing gives an idea of the low probability of success that the motion of censure announced these days by Ciudadanos has in the short term. “They claimed that they wanted to work in the city, now they have the opportunity,” the party spokesman for Inés Arrimadas, José Antonio Luelmo, summoned his former colleagues. “He inspires me with tenderness,” Ortega said. Inside the plenary hall, the debate revealed the animosity between the municipal representatives of Podemos and Ganar Madrid. “More Madrid is part of the right-wing front,” said mayor Mónica Monterreal (Podemos). “You are mediocre even provoking,” Ortega replied.
“Do not put the fan”
The PSOE got involved with the PP on account of the plugs. The socialist Álex Martín recalled others, past, from when the popular ruled. “Do not put the fan that may catch a cold,” replied Mirina Cortés, from the PP, who is not new to the corporation. The Socialists assured that the maneuver under the judicial magnifying glass is legal and that the ITV service had too high a fee because it responded to a concession under a monopoly regime that is no longer such. The mayor avoided melee and limited herself to assigning speaking turns.
Móstoles has pending to approve the budgets for 2022, which are around 200 million euros, and lives in a social climate of boredom expressed, for example, from the Pensioners Platform, on the warpath for a municipal plan to cede public land to the construction of larger companies by private companies. “People are unhappy. We had high expectations with this progressive government, which fills their mouths to say it, ”criticizes Mayka Caballero, one of its spokespersons. The anti-eviction movements are not excited either, lamenting the delay in the plan to purchase public housing, as recalled by the spokesman for Stop Evictions José María Torralbo. Veteran neighborhood leaders, such as Ricardo Zamora, from the neighborhood association of the El Soto neighborhood, blame the local government for a certain neglect. “It has put us aside,” he says. Zamora had a hard confrontation with Posse on account of the failed music festival, with personal accusations that ended up in court.
At the end of the plenary session, whistles were heard outside the town hall. There were about 40 people, mostly from the PP, with whistles and a megaphone, calling for resignations. There were also supporters of Ciudadanos. Of the afternoon protesters, there were none left.