The new political party PIOC (Partido por la Independencia de Orihuela Costa) is based on the deception that independence for Orihuela Costa is possible. It is not. And the leaders of the party know it. But they will not admit it.
The reality of the situation (see the Spanish law 7/1985 and Valencia law 8/2010) is that while independence of part of an existing municipality is legally possible, the conditions in the case of Orihuela Costa and more widely make it impossible.
First of all a petition for independence must be signed by at least 50% of the resident (empadronado) population. Each signature must be validated and paid for by a notary or by the secretary of the town hall in faraway Orihuela city. In the case of Orihuela Costa the number of signatures required to support a petition amounts to nearly 15,000.
Considering that the total Orihuela Costa vote in municipal elections is less than 2,300 (and of course not all would be in favour of independence), this would require another 12,700 signatures from a less politically active population often absent for various periods of the year in the case of non-Spanish. And the time allowed would not be unlimited. This alone is virtually impossible.
Although inconceivable in the case of Orihuela Costa, a validated petition with some 15,000 signatures would then be submitted to the Orihuela town council for consideration, involving economic analyses of the viability of the demand and the consequences for the municipality as a whole. In the case of Orihuela it is clear that all Orihuela-based political parties and any government of whatever composition would be opposed to independence for Orihuela Costa.
They would not therefore facilitate the required economic analyses. Recent and nearby history in the case of La Murada confirms this view. A valid petition for the independence of La Murada was submitted to the Orihuela municipal government but the analyses were never completed and the movement for independence fizzled out.
The failure of the Orihuela council to approve a petition for independence for Orihuela Costa either by non-cooperation or a negative vote in the plenary of the council could be appealed.
The appeal would be considered by the Valencia regional government and the Regional Supreme Court. Detailed economic reports and costly legal submissions would be required.
The initiators of the petition would be responsible for the costs involved.
Consideration of the petition by the Valencian authorities would take place in the context of the 2013 law on the rationalisation and sustainability of local administrations the purpose of which is to reduce the number of municipalities in Spain of which there are over 8,000.
According to a lawyer expert in administrative matters consulted by CLARO, independence for Orihuela Costa, even if Orihuela council were in agreement (inconceivable), would be ‘unthinkable’ in the context of this law and in general he considers that independence for Orihuela Costa is impossible for ‘political, legal and economic reasons’.
CLARO is convinced of the impossibility of independence for Orihuela Costa (and, since basically the same conditions apply, so too is the lesser status of local autonomy ‘Entidad Local Menor’).
PIOC is spinning a fairy tale and nobody should be deceived.
Another fairy tale which PIOC is spinning is that if CLARO and the principal neighbourhood associations in Orihuela Costa joined PIOC and presented a joint list of candidates for next May’s municipal elections the joint list could elect 3-4 councillors and maybe hold the balance of power in the next Orihuela municipal government.
To this end it would seem that PIOC would somehow put aside the issue of independence.
This calculation and its assumptions are completely unrealistic and to pretend otherwise is another deception. CLARO has contested four successive municipal elections since its creation 16 years ago, twice alone and twice in electoral agreement with another party. Each time it has secured the majority of votes on the coast, more than any other party, but it has never been able to reach 5% of the total votes cast in the municipality, city and surrounding villages included, which is required by law to elect the first councillor. To jump from less than one elected councillor to 3-4 is complete fantasy.
Yes, a unified voice for Orihuela Costa is desirable. But who would believe that PIOC would put aside their aim of independence?
It is clear to CLARO after years of experience that no Orihuela based political party would cooperate in any way with a party or group associated with the notion of independence for Orihuela Costa. This is understandable in the case of Orihuela since it would involve the municipal government losing perhaps 50% of its revenue.
The harsh truth is that the glaring inadequacies that Orihuela Costa suffers from and against which CLARO has been campaigning for 16 years cannot be achieved alone. Given the realities of the limited number of eligible voters on the coast and the difficulties of mobilising the vote, we cannot escape the need to find potential political allies in Orihuela who could help achieve our aims of decent basic services and infrastructure and a cleaner and greener Orihuela Costa.
Whatever their frustration and the temptations for residents to think there is an easy solution to our problems it is not independence which is impossible and a toxic notion to Orihuela-based political parties who will in the future continue to dominate the municipal government.