The major political parties in Spain have signed a pact that does not allow a politician, mayor or councillors to change parties and in so doing achieve or sustain power.
The problem is more acute in Spain than in Britain because the electoral system is based on proportional representation. Hence town halls especially often depend on coalitions and the political turncoat or turncoats can cause major shifts in who rules a municipality.
To oversee the pact is a panel of electoral law experts who form a commission and its decisions have to be verified by the Mesa Nacional Antitransfuguismo.
Recently the commission was unanimous in its decision that the mayor of Ronda, Antonio Marín, and his eight fellow Partido Andalucista councillors were political turncoats. Its decision was endorsed by the Mesa in Madrid last week and now Marín and his cohorts have said they will appeal to the Tribunal Constitucional to uphold “their” rights.
Well here are the facts. The Partido Andalucista has a special link with Ronda as the foundations of the Andalucismo movement were laid there in 1918 when Blas Infante – the father of the modern Andalucía – was part of a congress that established the region’s flag and anthem. Today the PA is the party of Andalucía but at the last regional government elections did not return a single MP – so you have to question the basis of an Andalucía party that is totally rejected by the people of Andalucía.
None the less Marín and the PA had ruled Ronda in coalition with the centre right Partido Popular during the last council. He and his fellow eight PA councillors were the largest group at the last local elections and renewed its pact with the PP. Then he caused a major surprise by breaking the accord and entering in to government with the support of the socialist PSOE instead.
It was at that point that Marín voiced his intention to quit the PA and join PSOE. In June he and his fellow councillors made that move and now sit as non-aligned although they are members of PSOE and in coalition with that party – so in effect PSOE now governs Ronda.
There is some overlap between PSOE and the PA as both parties are centre left – indeed the PA was once the Andalucía socialist party. However previous to the last local elections Marín had suggested that he might join the centre right Partido Popular but it seemed that party wasn’t thrilled with the idea.
Which of course leaves the people of Ronda who voted Partido Andalucista in as the major party at two consecutive elections totally unrepresented at the town hall. Not only are there now no PA councillors but having governed Ronda the party is out in the cold and PSOE rules totally – without winning a majority at the polls.
So are Marín and his fellow councillors political turncoats? You decide.