The Orihuela Costa Independence Party (PIOC) is already being followed on social networks. Press releases are issued on a regular basis and many people who are resident in the Orihuela Costa are already aware of it’s polities and ambitions.
Now the Party has been formally registered in the registry of political formations of the Ministry of the Interior.
The main ideology of the PIOC, chaired by Román Jiménez Gil, is clearly amplified in its name, the segregation of Orihuela Costa from the rest of the Orihuela Municipality.
Of course everyone realises that this will be no short term endeavour, a difficult process with a very complex administrative procedure, which depends on a central government that has hardly authorised any new town councils in recent years, as well as the very significant support of the population, which at this time is not apparent in Orihuela Costa, despite the growing discomfort, and even indignation, of many of its residents due to the lack of attention they receive from the Orihuela administration, despite being its main population centre.
Orihuela Ciudad is 34 kilometres away and it is a distance that is all too evident, seen by the little significance afforded to the coast by the mayor and her Orihuela councillors.
However, the immediate objective of the PIOC, also complicated, is to obtain City Council representation for the Orihuela Costa in the municipal elections due to be held in May 2023.
If the PIOC does decide to run in the municipal elections, it could take votes from the Orihuela Coast Party (CLARO), the group formed in 2006 and which monopolises much of the support of the residents living on the coast and which demands the devolution of the Orihuela administration, although it rules out the process of segregation.
Since 2007 CLARO has taken votes on the Orihuela Costa depriving them from the PP, PSOE and Cs -although not always obtaining a representative in the Council and agreeing a coalition with other parties on two recent occasions. However, any agreement with CLARO, will further dilute the discontented Coastal vote making it difficult for either party to achieve the 1700 votes needed to register its first councillor.
Negotiations for the two party’s to fight the municipal elections together broke down months ago, because CLARO considers the PIOC agenda “radical” and unrealistic.
Currently, Orihuela Costa has a registered census of almost 30,000 residents, which represents more than a third of the population of the municipality of Orihuela, which is now close to 80,000.
It has, by far, the largest housing plant in Orihuela with its economy is centered on residential tourism.
From the construction of secondary housing and residential tourism along the coast, on the second and third line of the blue flag beaches, four golf courses; to a powerful second-hand real estate market, and with many hundreds of companies in the service sector in support of the resident population, with an important British community, and a very wide representation of hospitality businesses, and also with one of its greatest references, Zenia Boulevard, the largest and the most popular shopping centre in the province.
But the demand for independence is a subject that is absolutely unthinkable for Orihuela politics.
Orihuela, the historic capital of Bajo Segura, took almost two decades to recover demographically and politically from the independence of Pilar de la Horadada in 1986. Now the pilareño is the third largest populated municipality in the region.
Pilar de la Horadada, at the southern end of its coast is also the closest to Orihuela Costa, achieving segregation after unprecedented efforts for years, which included pressure measures and mobilisations such as daily blockades of the main road at that time, the 332.
Now Pilar de la Horadada offers many of its own services to the Orihuela Costa, including the Civil Guard and summer firefighters. This proximity was also demonstrated in the launch of the Orihuela Costa covid mass vaccination point in the municipality.
Some residents of the Orihuela Costa, however, feel that endeavours to build a closer relationship and bond with the bordering town of Pilar de la Horadada would make much more sense than attempts at complete independence, which could even have detrimental effects on any attempt at establishing a Coastal representation on the Municipal council.
However, there is bound to be much more discussion prior to the Municipal Elections next May so we will wait to see what developments there are.