“Vila i els seus residents és l’unic que ens importa” roughly translated as; Ibiza and her people are the most important things to us. After the May elections, that is the new political message emerging from a potential coalition partnership between the PSOE (a Labour styled political party) and Guanyem a fledgling, left wing anti-austerity group, headed by El Pacha Hotel music director and DJ, Joan Ribas. They look set to take control of the important Ibiza Town Council, which was previously in the sticky hands of the pro business PP party. It was the same council that sanctioned the opening of Booom which attracted much negativity for the town and left many suppliers and workers unpaid when it went to the wall. Ibiza is made of of five municipalities, which date back to the Catalan conquest in 1235, and in two of its most traditionally conservative ones, San Joan and Santa Eularia, not much ever changes. But in Ibiza town and San Antonio, change is coming, but what will this mean for the island?
For a start it is refreshing that a person who loves and appreciates music now has a big say on the islands future. His party won four of the Ibiza city council seats (18% of the vote) and in its Catalan home base of Barcelona, it controls the city. Catalan independence is an issue that is sure to play out along the way but for now Ribas and his party is expected to be true to Ibiza and a more socialist political agenda. He has called for wage cuts to civil servants and highlighted the need for transparency in politics, something that was lacking in previous governments. Ribas is more than just a one trick pony and is respected on the ground for his work with local resident groups and Amnesty International. Previous socialist governments have had mixed results from a business prospective, so I would not expect much to change, maybe a calming of the corporate waters as Ribas would be aware how important the music industry is to the island and working against that current will only sap his energies.
Where the coalition will hope to make real change is in equality and fairness. The gap between the rich and poor is widening, not just in Ibiza, but in Europe and the left has a clear mandate to change that. It will be in social politics that the new Government priorities will be rooted in. The people of Ibiza are sick of the corporate greed that has led to corruption and the pollution of their islands natural beauty. Ibiza can ill afford to loose what makes it unique and special and for balance, a back to basics policy of thinking is very much needed. It was Pacha that made the musical change two seasons ago, incurring the wrath of the corporate industry which retaliated by trying unsuccessfully to market Las Vegas as the new epicenter of electronic music. A fresh modern Ibiza led by people like Ribas, needs to emerge and define the islands identity in the face of what is happening in Playa Den Bossa. The World awaits the dawn of a new Ibiza, one that will be confident in its own ability to lead the way and do what is best for the island as a whole, not just an elite few.