Updated 17 November: The provisional suspension of Arona’s former mayor Mena has now resulted in his full expulsion from the PSOE. The Party said that the decision was based on its view that repeated serious and very seroius offences had been proven, with Mena and Urbanism councillor Luis García (also expelled) acting outside the guidelines established by the PSOE. The former mayor and the councillor have both been advised of the decision, as has the regional Party.
Updated 15 September: The PSOE has announced that it has provisionally suspended the membership of former mayor Mena and initiated disciplinary proceedings against him. The move seems clearly to be an investigatory precursor to full expulsion from the Party for the Socialist who was the leader of the governing body of the council. Arona seems beset by these sorts of crises, regardless of party.
Previously, the PSOE took over after years of control by the nationalist CC, a party that was locally beset by accusations of grift, with court cases for corruption and embezzlement, as well as illegal granting of planning consents, seeing jail sentences handed down for some councillors and technicians. The hopes that such scenes would be in the past, however appear to have been in vain, with the muncipio now in special measures as I described in the original post below.
José Julián Mena, for his own part, today reiterated his intention to wait for these disciplinary proceedings to start before answering the charges against him. Mena stressed that the Party had provisionally suspended his membership rather than provisionally expelled him completely, which was anticipated at one point. He said that he would vigorously defend his fundamental rights both as a resident and a Party member.
Original post 16 August: The area has had problems over the years, with some councillors of the previous administration getting prison sentences for malfeasance, and the PGO (area planning) being declared illegal amidst a swirl of accusations of corruption, illegal licences, and planning irregularities. And now the municipality has been put into what, in other arenas, would be called special measures.
The PSOE, the Socialist governing group’s Party which is also in power in several other southern Tenerife municipalities and in the Tenerife Cabildo itself, as well as nationally in Spain), has approved a Management Committee to lead the party to re-establish basic legal normality and allow the party’s policies to be developed properly in the borough.
The Committee is headed by David Pérez, former Arona councillor who has worked under ousted mayor Mena. As such he will provide some continuity in the municipality as well as anchor its place in Tenerife’s political community since he is also now a Cabildo councillor. This should be helped by the Committee’s constitution: four of its six members come from outside the borough, variously from Adeje, Vilaflor, San Miguel de Abona, and La Laguna.
The new municipal governance in Arona has three months in the first instance to call a full council meeting to choose a new executive commission for the Council. Clearly the Party hopes that this will bring an end to the ongoing paralysis and chaos in the borough. They won’t be the only ones so hoping …