Orihuela Costa was completely excluded from a package of €9.5m investments approved by a special meeting of the Town Hall plenary last Thursday. This is a huge disappointment for Orihuela Costa which lacks so many facilities and services.
The coast is showing signs of major abandonment with rubbish accumulating in the streets, many streets in bad state of repair, no second health centre, no cultural centre and an emergency services centre which is still not completed after 10 years of delay.
The €9.5m investment package will be dedicated exclusively to projects in the City, restoring a series of historic buildings and improving the historic centre.
The €9.5m were taken from funds left over which have not been mobilised because of tensions between the governing coalition of Popular Party and Ciudadanos and their inability to agree a general budget to replace the 2018 budget, which is still the basis for government expenditure although increasingly out of date and unsuited to current needs.
Ironically, a significant part of the €9.5m is the result of the sale of municipal land on the coast.
Furthermore, dedicating the entire sum of 9.5m to the City breaks with a principle that Orihuela Costa should receive 40% of investments to make up for the acknowledged historic deficit in funding for the coast.
Despite the origin of the funds, the acknowledged needs of the coast and the break with the 40% principle, the decision to dedicate the entire sum to the City is not entirely unexpected and conforms to the pattern of discrimination against Orihuela Costa which is a constant feature of the politics of Orihuela municipality.
What was unexpected in the decision of the Plenary last Thursday was that it was voted for by the Popular Party, the principal party of the governing coalition and the opposition Socialist party PSOE. Ciudadanos, the junior party in the governing coalition voted against, arguing that the measures did not apply in an equitable manner to the whole of the municipality.
They detailed a series of measures which they said should have been included and which would have benefitted the coast. Some commentators think this was just a smokescreen to hide their embarrassment for having been ditched by the Popular Party who preferred to cut a deal with the PSOE.
It does look as though the tensions between the Popular Party and Ciudadanos are now reaching crisis level and the two major Orihuela parties, the PP and PSOE, may be out to kill off the Orihuela Ciudadanos party, which has recently suffered a catastrophic loss of support nationally and in many regions of Spain.
Infighting between the Orihuela based parties which may go on until the next municipal elections in May, 2023 is not a promising prospect for the interests of Orihuela Costa.
Main image: The mayor with Carolina Gracia, leader of the Orihuela PSOE