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Foreign Residents form “Pacto Civil” with PSOE Party

Source: Press Release - Fri 18th Feb 2011

Northern Europeans in one Alicante town have announced their intention to participate in local politics, forming a 'Pacto Civil' with the local PSOE Party.

The four Northern European candidates together form "Residentes Europeas Lliber", and will provide a substantial part of the candidate list proposed by the PSOE party of Lliber ready for the forthcoming elections on May 22nd. The group, led by Lucia Marsal, includes former independent Dutch councillor Jan Van Tuyl, and local residents David Glover and Jill Morrrison.

"This Pacto Civil formed with the PSOE will focus on local issues that directly affect the town. By doing this rather than forming a new political party we can put National and Provincial party politics aside and concentrate on purely local issues that affect all the residents in Lliber", commented Lucia Marsal.

Jan Van Tuyl, a long standing resident and former independent councillor of Lliber added: "We have a golden opportunity here to help the town in a number of ways ranging from community integration, development of a sustainable and vibrant local economy, knowledge sharing and of course assisting in the finalisation of the General Plan to normalise the urbanistic situation here. The pact with the Lliber PSOE has been in the making for nearly a year, and already many of the language and cultural barriers have been broken down. There is a very healthy and enthusiastic dialogue between all the participants".

David Glover, pointed out that: "Integration is a two way process and it places obligations on both sides of the Pacto Civil to put the issues of the people of Lliber first and party politics second. There are major issues in this town, and the economic effects arising from the illegality crisis are not only hurting the Northern European residents but are having repercussions on the Town's ability to function correctly without a full contribution of taxes from the affected houses. This is potentially a substantial amount of money, and we must find ways to bring this revenue to the town and then decide how to use it constructively".

Adrian Hobbs, President of local action group "Abusos Urbanistico No" said that the Pacto Civil was a very important development for the town and that he was pleased for the AULN membership that Juan Bautista, the Town's Mayor, had seized the opportunity to engage with the foreign residents and would, he hoped, see them as an important asset to the town and the local community. This new style "citizen coalition" can break through the political two party paralysis, and with local citizens actively engaging in the local society of Lliber, a new era in democracy and integration can begin with the needs of the local people as priority.

"We look forward to co-developing a revitalised manifesto which puts the General Plan and its full implementation at the top of the Ayuntamiento's agenda, followed by urgent approval from the authorities in Valencia. Since the housing scandal erupted in 2004, the foreign vote and voice, which was substantial before, has hardly been heard with residents kept in the dark for far too long. Hopefully, this situation will change, and the wall of administrative silence will be substituted by full transparency".

In conclusion, he added: "It is now up to the foreign residents to decide where to place their trust and to ensure they are in Lliber for the local elections on the 22nd May".

It is encouraging to see a party move towards a fair representation of the wider community, and it can only be thought that many other towns with a high number of non-spanish residents will be taking note.

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