Alicante mayor Sonia Castedo refused to resign Tuesday in the wake of charges that she illegally aided a local developer.
More than 400 people gathered in Alicante’s town square Tuesday to demand the resignation of the mayor, a member of the Partido Popular. Members of the PP blocked a motion in the council Tuesday calling for her to leave her post.
Castedo, who has been mayor since 2008, is facing charges of aiding a developer through the design of Alicante’s General Urban Planning Ordinance and leaking information to the developer, Enrique Ortiz, over a project including the construction of an Ikea store. Despite the charges, Castedo was re-elected in 2011.
But the corruption case is now at the center of a political battle in Alicante, a common phenomenon in Spain. More than 24 different groups helped organize the protests on Tuesday, according to media reports.
“Welcome to the Independent Republic of Ortiz,” one banner read.
In Valencia, the PP has taken a stand that no members involved in corruption cases will be allowed to run for election. But Mayor Castedo continues to stand firm, reiterating on Tuesday that she has no plans to resign.
The case has also delayed the implementation of the general plan, while the investigation continues. Critics say the plan is now “mortally wounded” and will never pass, which has left Alicante in a state of limbo.
The courts in Span have been maddeningly slow to deal with the wide variety corruption cases that emerged during the boom years. Just this week, the leaders of the Mirador development company went to jail to begin four-year sentences for their role in a scandal dating to 2004. The two brothers who ran the company, Enrique and Leopoldo Faura were found guilty of keeping €400,000 in deposits from buyers in a project in Velez-Malaga.