Former Uruguayan president José Mujica met privately on Monday with Manuela Carmena, the leftist candidate who hopes to become the next mayor of Madrid following the May 24 municipal elections.
After securing 20 seats in the city council with left-wing bloc Ahora Madrid, which gives her a shot at the mayor’s office if she reaches a deal with the Socialists (the conservative Popular Party won 21 seats), Carmena welcomed the veteran Latin American statesman into her home on Monday for breakfast.
Mujica, a former guerrilla fighter as famous for his leftist ideals as his austere presidential lifestyle – he drove an old Volkswagen Beetle and spurned the presidential palace in favor of a small house – is on a private visit to Spain with his wife Lucía.
Talking to him was like receiving a shot of optimism”
Manuela Carmena, Ahora Madrid mayoral candidate
The mayoral hopeful, a 71-year-old judge who was virtually unknown to Spaniards until her bid for office under the local Podemos-backed coalition, served the couple coffee and had “a cordial, very friendly” get-together with her guests, sources at Ahora Madrid said.
Mujica and Carmena reportedly discussed the new political map unfolding in Spain following the local and regional elections of May 24. After talking about new emerging parties Podemos and Ciudadanos, they also broached the success of popular blocs such as Ahora Madrid and Barcelona en Comú, whose leader Ada Colau is slated to become the next mayor of Barcelona.
“Never retire when it comes to trying to improve things” was the commitment Mujica and Carmena reached during a previous meeting on May 15.
“Talking to him was like receiving a shot of optimism,” admitted Carmena shortly after that prior meeting. “He is the type of person we always think we would like to be.”
On May 15, Mujica said that “one cannot achieve everything while in government, but one can achieve many things that people need.”