Local elections took place in Ibiza last weekend, allowing its electorate an opportunity to vote on the performance of the left wing alliance government that has ruled for the past four years. The left wing coalition had attracted plenty of criticism from business quarters for its stance on environmental protection, club licencing issues and its controversial clean up of the notorious West End strip in San Antonio. While the center right pro business party, Partido Popular, improved on their vote from last time out, they failed to gain back control of the two most important clubbing municipalities, Sant Joseph and San Antonio, which are home to all the big clubs on the island. So for now, the election results are not good news for those who were hoping for a more liberal approach to clubbing in Ibiza.
The PP also lost out in Ibiza Town, where, after they were declared the winners, it later transpired that over 1000 votes had been misappropriated to them, instead of its socialist rivals the PSOE party, led by the current Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez. An electoral commission overturned the original result, handing influential power of the citadel and its Mayorship back to the socialists. In San Antonio, where the clean up of the West End was a highly contentious issue for the many British run businesses there, it was a win and vindication for the incumbent socialist government who originally implemented the plan to change the business model of The West End. With 11 of the 21 seats won, they should be able to form a new coalition with PxE candidate, Joan Torres, (pictured above) who championed reform of the West End, including proposed legislation to make it easier for businesses to change their business model there. However, the PP could technically take control, if they can get Kingmaker Torres to defect from the left, but it’s a longshot, as Torres campaigned on a socialist agenda and his supporters would not be happy if he allowed PP to govern.
If San Antonio retains its socialist Government, it will signal continued restrictions on clubbing licences and opening hours and herald a new dawn for the sunset resort, which can now implement its ambitious €20 million investment plan to upgrade and rid the town of its toxic, cheap and cheerful 18-30 image. In Sant Joseph, which governs Playa den Bossa, DC10 and Cova Santa, the socialists have a new four year mandate to continue its plan of environmental reform, prioritising local residents concerns over those of big business. However, they also understand that clubbing is hugely important to the islands economic health and promotion of brand Ibiza, so it will be interesting to see how they manage its future. My guess is that they will try to centralise and control its impact across the island as a whole, making it much more difficult to trade as a music related business in areas of environmental sensitivity like beaches and residential areas.