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The PP aspires to revalidate Ceuta and recover Melilla in the midst of the scandal over the purchase of votes

The 'popular' have traditionally been the first force in both and the PSOE has never achieved it.

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The PP aspires to revalidate Ceuta and recover Melilla in the midst of the scandal over the purchase of votes

The 'popular' have traditionally been the first force in both and the PSOE has never achieved it


The plot to buy votes by mail in Melilla has marked the electoral campaign in the autonomous city, where the PP aspires for Juan José Imbroda to recover the presidency four years later after being ousted by the Coalición por Melilla (CPM) alliance and PSOE that placed the only mayor of Ciudadanos, Eduardo de Castro, as president.

In Ceuta, oblivious to the scandal in the other Spanish enclave in North Africa, the 'popular' Juan Jesús Vivas aspires to a comfortable re-election in a position he has held without interruption since 2001, given that the PSOE has not traditionally reaped good results in both autonomous cities since their autonomy statute was approved in 1985 and until now it has not managed to be the first force.

Ceuta and Melilla are called to elect the 25 members of the respective assemblies of both cities. For this, in Ceuta almost 60,000 voters are summoned to the polls while in Melilla there are almost 54,900.

All the alarms went off in the latter as a result of several assaults on postmen carrying envelopes with the postal vote. It was immediately decided to put a police escort on the postmen and began to investigate whether there could be some kind of plot behind it, since more than 11,700 votes had been requested by mail, a fifth of the total census in the autonomous city.

To avoid any fraud, the Electoral Board ordered that only votes be collected by post upon presentation of the DNI both in Melilla and in the rest of Spain, validating the 700 that had already been collected before this measure. Finally, only 49% of the requested postal votes have been validated, about 5,800.

Meanwhile, the legal process continued its course. This Tuesday, ten people were arrested, among them the councilor for Districts, Youth and Citizen Participation of the Government of Melilla, Mohamed Ahmed Al-lal (CPM) --fired on Wednesday by De Castro--, and a relative the president of CPM, Mustafa Aberchán. All the detainees were released hours later but remain at judicial disposal.

CPM's involvement in the alleged plot immediately opened a double debate. On the one hand, Aberchán's party was included until now within the 'Acuerdo del Turia' alliance together with Compromís, Más País and other progressive formations, it was separated from it.

In addition, from the PP the focus was placed on the fact that CPM is the government partner of the PSOE in the autonomous city. His deputy secretary for Institutional Action, Esteban González Pons, expressly asked the Prime Minister and PSOE leader, Pedro Sánchez, from Melilla to break with Aberchán's party.

It should be remembered that the CPM leader is not his party's candidate to preside over Melilla in these elections, since in 2021 he was sentenced to 30 months of disqualification -which ends on August 30-- for the so-called "vote case by mail", which judged the purchase of votes through employment plans in the 2008 general elections in which CPM and PSOE were in coalition.

On the other hand, both Vox and Ciudadanos have focused on the possible involvement of Morocco in the plot. Those of Santiago Abascal have proposed that there be an investigation in the European Parliament while Cs has proposed the creation of an investigation commission in Congress. Meanwhile, Morocco has denied any interference and has vindicated its current good relationship with Spain.

In Melilla, the PP has governed since 1995 except for a brief interval between 1998 and 2000 and in the last legislature. In March 1998, the motion of no confidence presented against the then president, the 'popular' Ignacio Velázquez by Enrique Palacios, who had left the PP months before and would later form the Independent Party of Melilla (PIM), ended up prospering with the support of PSOE. and CPM.

In the 1999 elections, the Grupo Independiente Liberal (GIL, Jesús Gil's party) prevailed while the PP was relegated to third force, its worst result. Then, by virtue of a pact at the national level between socialists and 'populares', an attempt was made to prevent the GIL candidate from being elected president.

However, CPM chose to vote for its candidate, Mustafá Aberchán, who also received the support of the GIL, the PIM and two PSOE councilors who ignored Ferraz and took office, thus becoming the first Muslim president of a autonomy. However, it did not last long, since he lost a motion of censure in July 2001 promoted by the Union of the Melillense People (UPM), headed by Juan José Imbroda, and with the support of PP and PSOE.

Imbroda, whose party joined the PP in 2003, remained in office after prevailing in successive elections until 2019. Then, Eduardo de Castro, the only Cs mayor, managed to prevail thanks to the support of CPM and PSOE, by obtaining 13 votes compared to the 12 collected by the PP candidate, who also won the support of Vox.

For their part, the Socialists have only managed to be the second force in 1995 and since then they have been outclassed in all elections by CPM, a party that emerged precisely as a split from the Islamic sector in the ranks of the municipal PSOE in the 1990s.

With regard to Ceuta, the autonomous city has been a stronghold of the PP since February 2001. The 'populares' have prevailed in all the appointments with the polls, with the exception of Melilla in 1999, when the GIL. Then, a pact between the PP, PSOE and the Democratic and Social Party of Ceuta (PDSC) prevented their candidate, Antonio Sampietro, from becoming president and kept the 'popular' Jesús Cayetano Fortes in office.

However, in August 1999 Sampietro became president after a vote of no confidence against Fortes was successful thanks to a defector from the PSOE. In February 2001, he would be forced to leave office after losing another vote of no confidence sponsored by the PP, PSOE, PDSC and defectors from the GIL, the 'popular' Vivas being elected as the new president, who remains in office and seeks to obtain what would be his sixth electoral victory.

As in Melilla, the Socialists have never managed to be the first force in Ceuta to date, although they have been showing an upward trend, improving results since the first elections, when they obtained 8.11% of the votes, until the last , when they achieved 25.59%.

Although in both autonomous cities the traditional presence of local formations has fragmented the vote more than in other territories, the PP has managed to reap an absolute majority on several occasions. In Melilla in 2003 (55%), 2007 (56.75%) and 2011 (53.91%) and in Ceuta in 2003 (63.02%), 2007 (65.16%) and 2011 (65.16%) ), although in 2015 it already fell to 33.3% and in the last appointment with the polls it stayed at 31.12%, its lowest historical figure except for 1999, when it achieved 28.33%.

The fall in support is explained by the irruption of Vox in this autonomous city, where it reaped 22.37% of the vote in 2019 and where months later, in the November 2019 general elections, those of Santiago Abascal became the first force , with 35.6% of the votes, followed by the PSOE, with 31.59%, and the PP, with 22.48%, which earned them the deputy at stake.