This week, The Leader sat down for an informal chat with the man who would be mayor, Pablo Samper, head of the electoral list for Sueña Torrevieja, a political party who are looking increasingly likely as a challenge to Eduardo Dolón for the role in the municipal elections next month.
Samper, who was born in Torrevieja and currently runs a business in the town offering help and advice to the residents, was accompanied by Alejandro Martín, who is also on the electoral list for the group, originally from Burgos, who has lived and worked in Torrevieja for many years.
Although they have been around as a political party since 2015, gaining two council seats in the elections when they first formed, reducing to one seat in the last election, this time the party is gaining momentum, partly due to their proposals for governing, and partly due to picking up members from other, less stable groups.
The fundamental difference with Sueña Torrevieja compared to the other parties, such as the ruling PP, the PSOE or Los Verdes, is that they are exclusively a local party, focussed entirely on the needs of the people of Torrevieja. Eduardo Dolón, the current mayor, already has two political jobs, as the representative of the PP in Torrevieja and another in the Alicante provincial government, and is this time standing in the hope of being elected into the Valencian regional body, let alone his other business interests, and so, as Samper explains, his attention will always be divided.
Samper also believes that their proposed projects has already won them favour. The main project is the pedestrianisation of much of the town centre. Whereas this development is not without controversy, a number of people raised their objections when the plan was launched, and yet those same people are now supporting the pedestrianisation plan subsequently announced by Dolón.
The reduction in traffic in the centre would benefit the air quality, and as the town hall has yet to take mandatory action on the creation of a Low Emission Zone, which Samper believes is simply down to a delay until after the election because the government don’t want to risk anything that might be unpopular, the Sueña plan includes the creation of additional parking, something which is also a continual complaint in Torrevieja.
They will also look at improving the public transport network, and whereas there would be no plans to make the service free again, they would look at increasing the number of lines and services, and adding much needed links such as from La Mata to the hospital, and more services that go further afield.
Meanwhile, the current government are busy announcing their own projects, all of which are costing money, and all whilst many other projects are still outstanding, after public funds have been invested in the planning but without delivery.
Sueña Torrevieja also published plans for the redevelopment of the park at the old railway station, and the much-needed widening of the N-332. They will shortly publish their proposals for the creation of a multi-purpose concert and conference centre, similar to those found in other cities, which could be used to host concerts which currently cause a lot of noise and inconvenience to the local residents.
To help with integration, Martín, who speaks multiple languages, explained that they have plans to create an “International Café”, where residents of all nationalities can gather together, serving as a platform to air grievances, complaints or suggestions of how to improve the town, whilst mixing the culturally diverse communities to help with everything from practicing languages to organising multicultural events.
As a seemingly increasingly viable alternative to the current government, when asked if Sueña Torrevieja would join a coalition, whilst first jokingly stating that there will be no need as they are confident they will get the most votes, Samper did confirm that, with the exception of the extremist parties, no option would be off the table, if it were to be best for the people of Torrevieja, and therefore every vote counts if you want to see a brighter future through a change in government.