Socialists and Ahora Madrid reach deal to make Manuela Carmena mayor

PSOE's nine votes will be enough to make leftist bloc candidate the capital’s new leader

Socialist Madrid municipal leader Antonio Miguel Carmona in April.
Socialist Madrid municipal leader Antonio Miguel Carmona in April.ULY MARTÍN

The Socialist Party and the Ahora Madrid bloc, which includes anti-austerity party Podemos, have reached a deal to take control of Madrid City Hall following the municipal elections of May 24.

The move had been widely anticipated after Ahora Madrid’s mayoral nominee, Manuela Carmena, secured 20 seats on the city council, just one less than Popular Party (PP) candidate Esperanza Aguirre.

The deal, which both political groups have confirmed to EL PAÍS, effectively takes control of the capital away from the conservatives after 24 years of uninterrupted rule.

The deal effectively takes control of Madrid away from the conservative PP after 24 years of uninterrupted rule

Details of the alliance will be announced at a joint press conference on Friday.

On Monday of this week, Carmena had said that there was “99 percent agreement between the Socialists’ proposals and Ahora Madrid’s proposals.”

Yet only one hour earlier, the Madrid Socialist Party’s number two official, Purificación Causapié, had denied any closed deals.

“We still have a week to discuss contents and proposals,” she said.

The Socialist candidate for the mayor’s seat, Antonio Miguel Carmona, whose party only obtained nine seats on the council, avoided making any demands on Carmena that might be rejected by her leftist bloc.

One of the most sensitive issues was lowering taxes. Carmena, a retired judge, wants to keep them at current volumes but reorganize things to make the wealthier pay more.

Manuela Carmena after a press conference on Monday.
Manuela Carmena after a press conference on Monday.LUCA PIERGIOVANNI (EFE)

But the Madrid Socialists have a long list of demands that they hope Ahora Madrid will address once Carmena is sworn in as the new mayor.

These include an action plan against child poverty, opening school cafeterias during the summer months, working to end social inequality, increasing transparency in local government, creating an anti-fraud office, building 30 new primary schools, drafting a job creation plan, restoring derelict buildings, and cleaning up the city, among other things.

Carmona and Carmena will discuss the details of their agreement on Friday, but both are making it clear that the Socialists are not planning to enter into a ruling coalition with Ahora Madrid over the next four years. Support will be limited to a yes vote for Manuela Carmena at the investiture session on Saturday.

More information
Five policies that Manuela Carmena wants in place in her first 100 days
“I’m more interested in improving people’s lives than in politics”
Ahora Madrid-PSOE pact likely to keep Aguirre from mayoral post in capital

What this means is that Ahora Madrid’s minority government will have to seek out vote-by-vote arrangements with other groups in order to get local laws passed. Besides the PP’s 21 councilors, Ahora Madrid’s 20 and the Socialists’ nine, emerging party Ciudadanos obtained seven seats.

Under the terms of the deal, on Saturday the Madrid Socialists will vote for Ahora Madrid’s Manuela Carmena rather than for their own candidate, giving her the support of 29 councilors, two more than is necessary to get herself instated. If, for some reason, no candidate were to receive sufficient support, Esperanza Aguirre of the PP would automatically become the new mayor because she technically received the most votes.

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