Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


There are district and local elections due in Spain on 27 May. Nationally the Government is Socialist (PSOE) but lots of the 17 Communities and Town Halls (inluding the Valencian Community and our local Town Hall) are held by the political right (PP). Votes are matched against a list of candidates so each contesting group, at whatever level, puts forwards its candidates in order. How many of the list get elected depends on the proportion of the vote the group receives. If the system were in use in the UK you wouldn't get those "shock defeat of Micael Portillo" stories.

There was a meeting in a local restaurant yesterday to "present" the local candidate for Mayor on behalf of the PSOE. I'd nearly gone to a meeting last week when a locally strong political party (The UCL, a sort of slightly right wing Lib Dems) presented their candidate but the lure of slippers and a brandy proved too much. I made a bit more effort this time mainly because I've been going to join the PSOE for at least 12 months now.

I've often been to see politicians on the hustings in the UK. Even with quite famous people the turnout can be pretty low. I remember seeing Willie Whitelaw, one time Conservative Home Secretary, in Mylthomroyd with an audience of fewer than 10. So when I got to the restaurant about 5 minutes before supposed kick off I was amazed to find it dificult to park and a gaggle of people outsie the door. It was worse inside, a heaving mass of shouting, greeting and furniture re-arranging Spaniards.

The meeting started 30 minutes late but, that aside, it was very swish. Big audiovisual presentation, pictures of Eli showing lots of teeth and looking very confident and trustworthy, all the local PSOE women Mayors out to offer their support, introductions from party big wigs and even a carefully thought out interplay between the Valencian and Castilian languages to ensure nobody was excluded.

I had to sneak off as Maggie and I were going to the Flamenco competition in Jumilla but it looked like the bun fight at the end of the meeting would be good too. The bar was groaning with food and booze and I could probably have made a few pals as I seemed to be the only Brit there.

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