In the second part of our Ibiza 2018 Mid Season report, we take a look at the political landscape of Ibiza. At present a coalition of left wing socialist parties rule the island, coming together to oust the traditional ruling party, the Partido Popular. The PP party is made up of wealthy Spanish businessmen, led by Ibiza’s most powerful family, The Matutes, who own much of the island and are the biggest employer in Ibiza. With local elections due next May, politicians are already jockeying for position and unaccustomed to sitting on the substitute benches, the right wing PP party will be eager to get back into the game. There are five electoral areas in Ibiza, the conservative Sant Joan and Santa Eularia municipalities, the powerful Sant Josep constituency, the modern San Antoni de Portmany ward and the Citadel constituency of Eivissa in Ibiza town. There is also a council for the island as a whole, Consell Insular.
In normal circumstances, I would have expected the PP party to regain lost seats, especially in Ibiza town, but the recent corruption scandals surrounding the party combined with the violent manner in which the Catalan question was handled by its ousted leader, Mariano Rajoy, will certainly dampen enthusiasm for its return. While the Catalan question has calmed down, it has not gone away, due to the imprisonment of a number of its political leaders and as many working class Ibicencos lay claim to Catalan blood, I feel they will think twice about supporting PP candidates at the polls in May. Many Ibicencos were shocked by the images of their fellow citizens been beaten on the streets of Barcelona, bringing back dark memories of General Franco’s rule, where Ibiza and its people were treated badly by the dictatorship.
To date, the socialist Government in Ibiza has being holding its own, they have done no more or no less than previous governments. They introduced new laws to curb noise pollution, especially in the Beach Clubs, but that early election promise was built on foundations of sand, as the Beach Clubs continue to operate as they did before. What will be viewed as a big political gain for the lefties is the plan for the extermination of The West End in its present form. A victory for “Valdes Law” a phrase coined by a PP candidate in San Antonio to personalise a political issue, will provide a platform to launch a socialist campaign backed up by action and results. The tone and frequency of the vomit thrown at “Valdes Law” in San An, is a good indicator to its potential effectiveness, which is gaining traction and support from the whole Turismofobia debate. In my opinion, the election will be won or lost on what transpires in San Antonio, as perceived action there, will provide the lefties with a political mandate for further change.
Ibiza is well known for its political stability, while its supposed to be governed by Palma (the Shelbyville to Ibiza’s Springfield) the island has a long tradition of looking after itself, the pirate towers dotted around its coastline is testament to the defensive resilience and independence of its people. A second term in office for the lefties, will bring about change, especially in the environment and on social issues including housing and the direction the island is going in, a hot topic of conversation right now. It should not affect business, but one would expect property prices to cool down if more houses are built. At present work has started on a new motorway between Ibiza town and Santa Eularia, another practical reason for the people to retain the lefties in power, a result I expect the electorate to deliver next May.