The overall victory for the Partido Popular (PP) in Sunday’s municipal elections in Spain, in number of votes, number of seats won and in percentage terms suggests that the party is poised to become the next Spanish Government whenever the general election takes place.
This has created considerable concern locally given that the PP has traditionally displayed a markedly hostile and aggressive stance towards Gibraltar and its people, says the GSLP/Liberal Opposition.
The results are interesting at a local and at a national level. The PP won with 38% of the vote (8.47 million) compared to 28% (6.27 million) obtained by the ruling PSOE. There was an outright victory in Algeciras for Jose Ignacio Landaluce, while the Mayor of La Linea Alejandro Sanchez received the most votes but fell just short of an overall majority.
The Opposition adds: "It is obvious that neither Mr Landaluce nor Mr Sanchez have proved to be friends of Gibraltar. The former has not wasted any time in raising anti-Gibraltar issues in the Spanish Parliament in Madrid during his time there as an MP. There can be little doubt that his wave of constant attacks on almost every conceivable issue will continue now that he has moved to a different job just across the Bay.
"It is not known at this stage what the municipal elections will mean for Mr Sanchez. It will be recalled that on taking office he declared that he wanted good relations with Gibraltar and came here to shake the Chief Minister’s hand. This spirit of friendship did not last very long. He will be best remembered as the Mayor who formulated plans to place a toll in the vicinity of the frontier with Gibraltar and even as the person who held office when a storm drain emitting sewage was diverted from a marina on the Spanish side into the Western Beach basin.
"At a national level, the Partido Popular have made it very clear that they intend to cherry-pick different parts of the Cordoba agreement that are not in line with their policy on Gibraltar. They have never felt bound by anything that was signed by the PSOE to which they were not a party. Indeed, PP spokesmen have also expressed reservations in the past at the very structure of the trilateral forum itself. The fact that they could form the next Government of Spain in a few months time, if the local election results are anything to go by, is something that will make many people extremely nervous given their past pronouncements on Gibraltar."