REGIONAL POLITICS

IU “momentarily” suspends coalition agreement with Socialists in Andalusia

Row over housing for evicted squatters deepens after premier removes works department’s powers

The coalition between the Socialist Party (PSOE) and the United Left (IU) in the Andalusia region took a step closer to falling apart on Friday, as the IU coordinator, Antonio Maíllo, announced that there had been a “momentary suspension of the agreement.” The statement came in the wake of Socialist premier Susana Díaz’s decision to take away the power of the public works department – which is controlled by IU – to decide who should be awarded subsidized housing.

The conflict was sparked when 22 squatter families were relocated from a residential building known as La Utopía in Seville. For nearly two years, these residents had been living illegally in a bank-owned property. After being forced out by the police on Sunday, the families decided to camp out across from City Hall. The Andalusian public works and housing department, which is overseen by IU member Elena Cortés, began handing out keys to public housing units to some of the squatters on Wednesday.

As a result, on Friday a decree was published in the official regional gazette taking the power away from the IU at the public works and housing department to decide who gets subsidized homes.

The decree that was published this morning has created a crisis in the government”

Maíllo on Friday laid the blame for what had happened at Susana Díaz’s door. “The decree that was published this morning has created a crisis in the government,” he said, appearing with IU's national general coordinator, Cayo Lara.

“The public works department has acted following the strict letter of the law – not only with the rehousing, but also with all of its actions to protect people who are suffering because of evictions. There has been a scrupulous respect for legality, one that has never before been seen in the history of the region,” Lara added.

 According to information supplied by IU, eight families have so far been granted a place to live from the region’s public housing, while a further nine are yet to reach agreements.

Maíllo added that lines of dialogue were still open with IU, and that no mistakes had been made by the public works department. “If we had made a mistake, we would have fixed it,” he said. “But there have been no errors.”

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