The mayor of Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Pedro del Cura, will announce this Monday his decision to resign from his post and abandon the municipal institutional policy, which he reached two decades ago, as he himself confirmed to elDiario.es. Del Cura will cede the baton, if everything goes as planned, to Aída Castillejo, who was number two in his party’s candidacy, Izquierda Unida, in the 2019 elections. The current second deputy mayor will thus have time to prepare her candidacy before the elections scheduled for May 2023.
The Community of Madrid leaves the Rivas City Council stranded after asking it to set up a sports center as a vaccination center
Rivas is, together with Zamora, the main municipal reference of IU and an example of a successful left-wing confluence: the town is governed by the coalition that presented itself in the elections in 2019 (IU, Equo and Más Madrid), in addition to Podemos and the PSOE, last incorporation to the municipal Executive. Together with Fuenlabrada, it is the only large population in Madrid that has always been governed by progressive projects. And since 1991 he has had an IU mayor uninterruptedly at his head. At that time, the municipality was inhabited by just over 14,000 people. That figure today oscillates between 92,925 inhabitants that reflects the INE and the 97,725 indicated by the City Council itself on its website.
Del Cura has informed different people of his decision in recent days, which will become effective this Wednesday, July 6, when both the municipal plenary session of his resignation and the election of the first female mayor of the town will be held. 24 hours later, the first meeting of the new Governing Board will take place. That same day 7, Del Cura will ask to return to his job as a municipal official in the Department of Education, Children and Youth.
The date chosen for this point and end to his institutional work in Rivas is not accidental. June marked the eighth anniversary of the plenary session that elected Del Cura as mayor after a stormy change with his predecessor in office, José Masa, after detecting an accounting hole in the Municipal Housing and Land Company. That anger even caused a failed split in IU and anticipated the tough battle for the refoundation of IU in Madrid.
If the arrival of Del Cura to the mayor’s chair was tortuous, the mayor’s commitment is that his departure is just the opposite. “I had decided in advance, but to avoid succession debates I have managed it with stealth,” the still mayor assures elDiario.es in a telephone conversation. “Let’s do it fast. The government team has to be working on Thursday”, he points out.
Del Cura explains that his move to the side is produced only for having reached eight years in office. “I defend the limitations” in the charges, he points to this medium. “Eight years is more than enough to take over,” he insists. The leader also assures that the moment is ideal: “There is political stability in the City Council and in economic management. There are no big problems. The whole left is together, working and noiseless. The conditions for the relay are given, ”he concludes.
The mayor will finish informing the municipal spokesmen this Monday, although in recent days he had already informed both the parties that are members of the electoral coalition and his government partners of his decision. Also at the regional level.
The relay in Aída Castillejo is assured, except for last minute surprises. The Mayor’s Office of Rivas is reserved for IU according to the government agreement, and Castillejo was Del Cura’s number two in 2019. Until now, she has served as second deputy mayor, after Deputy Mayor Mónica Carazo (PSOE). In addition, she has been coordinator of the Citizenship Area, Delegate Councilor for Culture and Festivals and spokesperson for the IU-EQUO-Más Madrid group.
“She is younger, she is more prepared and she has government experience”, explains Del Cura to justify her choice. However, there is a process to follow. This same afternoon a municipal assembly of IU open to all the militancy will be celebrated to debate and, in its case, to ratify the designation raised by Del Cura. A representation of the regional leadership of Álvaro Aguilera will attend the appointment, although both were placed in opposite blocks in the internal process that ratified Aguilera at the head of IU in Madrid.
Del Cura thus abandons municipal politics, which he arrived in 2003 as a low councilor. A few months after two decades of those elections, the balance made by the IU leader of his time in institutional politics is positive, and he values having focused “both on small things and on big ones.”
These are the ones that stand out the most, of course. And among those that make Del Cura most proud is the recent referendum to determine the town planning policy for the coming years. Rivas has experienced exponential population growth since the return of democracy, which has led it to become the youngest large municipality in Madrid. A growth that has not always given time to digest. In the 2021 referendum, the Ripenses chose to stop the construction of more houses and give themselves some time before deciding how to continue the development. Or not. “There is an appropriation of urban planning by the citizens. It is a good example”, settles the mayor.
The consultation involved the municipal government, with Del Cura at the head, the enmity of the promoters and builders. They are not the only great rivals that have been sought. Rivas has been one of the municipalities that has given the most battles, both against companies and against the autonomous governments of the PP, which has had some of its main antagonistic actors in the region in the city
The clashes between the town and the regional government were notorious, both with the one led by Esperanza Aguirre at the time and with the current one led by Isabel Díaz Ayuso. One of them ended up in the Supreme Court with a historic sentence that established that it was the banks, and not the clients, who had to pay the mortgage tax. Later, yes, the Plenary of the contentious-administrative of the Supreme Court amended its own judges and returned to charge the tribute to the clients. “The Supreme Court has placed itself under the orders of the Bank,” said the mayor at the time.
Another legal triumph for Rivas was against the big insurers. The High Court determined that these companies had to pay the City Council a fee for the fire service since the housing policies include coverage for a service provided by public institutions, in this case through the Community of Madrid, which charges a canon to the town.
They have not been the only clashes with the political power that dominates the region. In the midst of a pandemic, the Government of Ayuso left the City Hall stranded after asking it to set up a sports center as a vaccination center. Another of the entrenched problems, the future of the Cañada Real Galiana, has also led to harsh clashes with the regional Executive and large companies.
Perhaps for this reason, and despite its population, Rivas has a deficit of primary health care and calls constantly but unsuccessfully a new public health center and the Executive of Ayuso, like those of Aguirre, Cristina Cifuentes or Alberto Ruiz Gallardón before, refuses to build it. Residents must travel to the neighboring municipality of Arganda del Rey for emergencies, for example.
Among the successes that Del Cura highlights, another historic demand: the start of construction of direct access to the M50 ring road, which will also clear the always congested A3. “Now we will get the health center and the schools,” predicts the still mayor. “Rivas is a fighter, I have only put myself at the forefront of the political agenda of the neighbors’ demands,” he concludes. It will be someone else who has to lead it.