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javeamigos.com | LOCAL ELECTIONS 2011 | Assessing the Runners and Riders

Reproduced with the kind permission of Guiomar Ramírez-Montesinos at xabiaaldia.es with translation by Christine Betterton-Jones

javeamigos.com | LOCAL ELECTIONS 2011 | Javea CrestVoting is not easy if you are a civic minded person. To make the right decision according to your principles is sometimes more complicated than at first sight, especially if you consider how coalitions might be formed when a governing team is put together.

The next Jávea municipal election is a nine-horse race. There are the major parties, PP to the right and PSPV to the left; the nationalist Bloc-Centristas; the independents: Xàbia Democrática, Nueva Jávea and Ciudadanos por Jávea as well as fringe Esquerra Republicana, Junts per Xàbia and the newly formed Unión Ciudadana por la Democracia. The ninth candidate is an also-ran; the Esquerra Unida pel Pais Valencià has no local representatives and their sole purpose is to get regional subsidies via the number of votes they get.

It's not been easy to get the party lists together and many have had to scrape the barrel to complete them. Divisions, discontent and a poor overall image of politicians has not helped. So some parties have had to pull in friends and family to fill their list of 21 required candidates (that's the number of Councillors in Xàbia and the minimum number of candidates needed on the list). This is why you only have to look at the first three or four candidates on each list, assess which groups are more likely to score more and then look at their top ten. In many cases the people down the list are just filling the slots. They are often not even activists but have agreed to come forward to support a party with which they have an affinity.

Every citizen has the responsibility to vote. The problem is the disappointment which often occurs after seeing the results of a previous term of office. This leads to a disinterest in politics. Nevertheless, we are all responsible for our political decisions, whether they be proactive and participatory or passive.

Through the analysis presented in this magazine I try to give a comprehensive but accessible view of the political reality of Jávea. I have tried to be as objective as possible, but the reader must create his own informed opinion, reading the manifestos of each candidate and trying to get up close to the would be mayors at the various rallies.

However, I believe that the next elections will mark a transition in the form of government in Jávea, because the winner, whoever it is, will promote participatory democracy, and at last the people and not the politicians will be the big winners.

DIVISIONS IN THE PP MARK A SPLIT IN THE VOTE

To make my forecast, I have looked at the number of votes obtained by each party in the previous election and estimated the number of candidates they might win or lose this time round. I have considered popular opinion after four years of the current Administration and the views that people have of each group. As in the elections of 2007 it is certain that no single party will get an absolute majority, which in Jávea/Xàbia is achieved with 11 councillors. However, the Socialist PSPV has a good chance of gaining the most votes. This is because of the galvanising effect of its candidate, José Chulvi, and a programme championed with clarity and strength. Tourism as the main engine of the local economy; e-government for greater efficiency and transparent administration; citizen participation at all levels both to create a joint vision of the town and in decision making; to listen to suggestions, to attend to petitions, etc.

Also in favour of Chulvi is his work during the 15 months he was in government. He created the Tourism Council and began developing a Strategic Plan for the town. In addition, there is the work he has done supporting the peoples' interests from the opposition, initiating the attempt to recover the town's ownership of the church, and trying to prevent the purchase of the underground car parks. All this, combined with his efforts to learn more about ways of improving administration (making contacts which resulted in presentations at the "Forum for Change" series of talks) make him the most prepared candidate.

[Mayor Eduardo] Monfort's Bloc-Centristas, after a landslide in 2007, will surely be the big loser. This is a consequence of a style of management which has developed over the past four years. They have actually done a good job developing much more infrastructure than previous administrations and have also stuck pretty much to their manifesto. But because of a disconnect with the people, an inability to take into account other people's views and the adoption of an attitude which could only be described as autistic and authoritarian, they have become generally disliked. Moreover, the nationalists have not been at all self-critical and actually believe that they've done a great job. But the fact is that their policies are quite passive. They prefer to react instead of designing strategies that will help boost the local economy.

Once more, the great battle cry of the Bloc-Centristas is "NO!" to port expansion. They have adopted an ultraconservative stance about this, arguing that the only option is to do nothing. Today, just about everyone (including all the parties) is against port expansion, wanting to arrive at a general consensus on how to improve the Levante dock. However, the nationalists play on fear and interpret citizen participation in this decision as a sign of ambiguity. Nevertheless, this strategy enables them to retain voters.

Interestingly, the Bloc-Centristas is the only party in this election whose approach tries to justify such authoritarian political attitudes. In fact, not even the PP has followed this line and has instead opted for total renewal. Moreover, the young candidate, José Juan Castelló, has been hand-picked by Valencia, and has nothing to do with the Jávea PP old guard.

With the selection of Castelló, the PP aims to break the mould in Jávea and, at a stroke, get rid of those politicians who have slowly leaked votes in the municipality. The PP list is so new; all but one candidate (Toni Sebastiá, who is fourth) are newcomers to politics. This decision, directed from the regional PP, has not been sitting too well with many local PP supporters, initiating splits in the party. But it tries to seal major breaches which have developed within the group since the last internal party election. The PP will surely lose many votes. But at the same time, many faithful voters believe that the new candidate merits an opportunity.

Thus the right-wing vote is again divided in Jávea and shared between the PP, UCID, Xàbia Democrática, Nueva Jávea and even surprisingly, the PSPV as Jose Chulvi is the most highly rated candidate, despite his political colour.

It will be interesting to see how the vote splits among the other parties, with Xàbia Democrática grabbing votes of many disgruntled PP and Nueva Jávea voters, while Esquerra Republicana will try to do the same with the nationalist vote.

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Monday 9th May 2011