Ignacio Ramos, the PSOE mayor of Pilar de la Horadada, and probably the most popular council official in the entire region, has announced that he is leaving politics after 32 years. The 68-year-old Ramos will not stand in the Municipal Elections scheduled to take place in 2019.
Frontrunners to replace Ramos were the Councillor of Tourism and Consumer affairs, Pilar María Samper, and the Councillor for Education and Health, Maite Valero. The two candidacies were formalised on Friday morning when Pilar Samper was chosen by a narrow margin.
Samper is the niece of Emeterio Samper (CDS) first mayor of Pilar de la Horadada following the town’s segregation in the mid-eighties from the municipality of Orihuela. Her father was the first president of Alianza Popular in Pilar de la Horadada.
Ignacio Ramos has served a total of 32 years as a councillor, 20 of them as mayor. His first term as mayor was from 1995 to 1999, since which time, apart from the 4 year period 2011-2015, he has continued to hold the office.
“I need to make way for younger people, and more importantly younger people who are in good health. I have recently had major surgery so I now need to reduce the stress I am under and enjoy my retirement with my family. I am sure that in the PSOE team there are people far more capable than I of facing the upcoming challenges.”
When the mayor took office the municipality had about 9,000 residents. It had been independent from Orihuela City for only 9 years. Now the census exceeds 20,000 residents.
One of the main achievements by Ramos is the diversification of the local economy into many different sectors. During times of economic prosperity the construction of tourist housing on the coast, Mil Palmeras, La Torre del Pilar, Golf at Lo Romero and Pinar de Campoverde. But also, there has been the development of the very important greenhouse and agricultural industry that now stands well in international markets.
The mayor has also been extremely supportive of the expat community, no more so than with his patronage of the Royal British Legion. He will be sadly missed by people from across the whole community.