Citizens is history in the Granada City Council. The oranges face their last days with a political group in the Consistory located in the Plaza del Carmen, after the organic structure of Cs has requested the definitive dismissal of former mayor Luis Salvador and councilor José Antonio Huertas. After the expulsion of both, it only remains for the ordinary plenary session of September to ratify it and put an end to Citizens in the City Council of the city of the Alhambra.
Luis Salvador complies with his expulsion from Cs and charges against the leadership of his former party: “He is going to disappear due to his absolute incapacity”
This latest episode of Cs in the capital of Granada is the result of a story that has been full of stories in which the oranges have had a voice and vote from the beginning. In fact, they have come to govern Granada together with the Popular Party in the last two years and it has been precisely this bipartisan that has ended up unleashing one of the biggest storms that have loomed over the City Council since the arrival of democracy. Oranges and popular went from sharing a mandate to being close enemies and mutually destroying the municipal government, unleashing an institutional crisis that has ended with Citizens outside the Consistory.
The start of the storm
To understand the order of the most recent events, you have to travel until the end of May when Sebastián Pérez, councilor of the PP until then, complied with the threat and demanded that the pact that, presumably, they had sealed between popular and oranges be fulfilled so that there would be a alternation in the post of mayor after two years of mandate. “If the PP does not find the votes, I will find them,” he said, opening the door to favor a motion of censure in which the PSOE emerged victorious. Thus, after announcing that he was leaving the party that had come to govern for a decade in Granada, Pérez caused an earthquake whose aftershocks lasted more than a month and destroyed the municipal government and the Ciudadanos political group.
First, because the PP, which up to that moment had avoided commenting on the supposed alternation pact, picked up Pérez’s words and made them his own to avoid being in a motion of censure that the Socialists won. Thus, they began a race of harassment of Mayor Luis Salvador, in order for him to leave as soon as possible and leave his post to a mayor of the popular because of the supposed 2019 agreement that Salvador himself has always denied. As the councilor did not leave, nor did he plan to do so, all the councilors of the PP and two of Cs resigned at the beginning of June to leave the city ungovernable.
What followed were a series of episodes of intersections of statements and intentions against the same background: Luis Salvador had no plans to leave. In fact, at that time, in the PSOE they denied with their small mouths that they could come to govern given the circumstances and they even said that with Salvador they would not go “not even at the door” if they had to agree to a change of government with him. However, despite those words, between the end of June and the first week of July, everything was resolved precisely in that way: with an agreement between Salvador and the Socialists for the former to resign and leave his place to the former PSOE mayor , Francisco Cuenca.
The least expected deal
That maneuver was tried to stop by land, sea and air the national and Andalusian directorates of Ciudadanos, coming to publicly delegitimize Luis Salvador and pressuring him to return to an impossible pact with the PP. Impossible because the ex-governor had no plans to return to those who had abandoned him and because he no longer trusted his superiors within Cs. Salvador himself has recognized this newspaper in this way on several occasions. He and Huertas felt so alone that they embraced the policy of the PSOE and in July they gave him the government and ended up sharing a mandate.
That ended up blowing up the weak bridges that existed between the directions of the oranges and their two wayward councilors. Paradoxically, in all this story, in Ciudadanos they barely gave importance to the fact that they had had two defectors who had left the municipal government and had ceased to belong to the municipal group when the resignation occurred in a cascade to force Salvador’s resignation. In Cs they focused their efforts on putting pressure on Salvador and Huertas without success, until they resorted to the definitive expulsion from the party.
The former mayor and the councilman left the party at the end of July, despite the fact that both had challenged that decision. In fact, Luis Salvador even announced in elDiario.es Andalucía that he reserved the option of going to court this September, an exit that he has finally discarded “because it is not worth it and it may happen that the judges do not enter into the matter and it seems that the management was right when it was not. ” So we could only wait for Cs to give the final blow and announce the expulsion of both to the City Council, thus causing the disappearance of the oranges from a City Council that they arrived in in the 2015 elections and in which they had always had four councilors.
Six years of relevance
When the goodbye of Ciudadanos del Consistorio becomes effective in the last plenary session of September, there will be six years left in which they have been a fundamental piece of local politics. As soon as they landed, in 2015, they were the ones who allowed a weakened PP to maintain the mayoralty after a controversial pact in which they forced the then mayor, José Torres Hurtado, to leave a few months later. Almost premonitory, the councilman would end up leaving in April 2016, although not because of pressure from Cs, but because of the investigation of the “Nazarí Operation” that led to the arrest of Torres Hurtado and a good part of the Urban Planning leadership.
Without a mayor for a few weeks, the oranges ran as a political crutch and flirted with what was left of the PP and the PSOE, to give the mayor’s office to either of them. In the end, the Socialists, with Francisco Cuenca at the fore, took the cat to the water and the mandate to the bag, living three very difficult years of government. The support of Ciudadanos was hardly punctual and in the PSOE they had no margin to govern because they were in a clear minority, having only 8 of the 27 councilors that make up the plenary session of the Granada City Council. The oranges played their role then and repeated it for the 2019 municipal elections.
With Luis Salvador back to the Granada City Council, after a two-year excursion to the Congress of Deputies and being left without a place due to the loss of votes of the oranges, the most unexpected happened. Being the third political force in votes, Cs achieved the mayoralty in an unusual bipartite with the PP that doubled him in councilors. A pact via WhatsApp between the national leaderships of both parties made the impossible possible. Starting in June 2019, a mandate that has lasted two years and in which instability – a COVID-19 pandemic through – has been the dominant trend.
Now, without a mandate and without councilors, the political group will cease to exist and only the municipal accounts of Ciudadanos will remain to be settled. The offices that they had in the City Council will be left unused and they will have to justify how they have spent the municipal allocation that they had as a party in the Consistory in this time. No big surprises are expected, according to sources from the consistorial organization, since the inspection is not too strict. What is in sight is that this may be the last time the oranges are in the Granada City Council. Without a local structure and in clear decline in the rest of the country, the chances of winning councilors in the 2023 elections are slim.