Mérida (EFE).- The 2023 elections could be the last local elections for Don Benito and Villanueva de la Serena if the merger process of these two Badajoz municipalities finally prospers, which would attend the 2027 electoral appointment as one, Vegas Altas .
The union project, which began in September 2021, was ratified in a popular consultation in February 2022 and last March took shape in a protocol signed by the central government, the Junta de Extremadura, the Diputación de Badajoz and the respective town halls. .
How will the electoral appointment of May 28 affect this merger? The mayor of Villanueva de la Serena, Miguel Ángel Gallardo, who aspires to his sixth consecutive term as councilor, has considered that the elections will be decisive and that the union does not subtract, but “multiplies” and “will mean everything for those who still do not have born”.
For his counterpart from Don Benito, José Luis Quintana, who also aspires to revalidate the mayoralty for the PSOE, in his case for the third time, they are “giving opportunities to the following generations.” “We do not want to live in parallel, but we want to do it together. Each one with their identity, without losing traditions or roots”, he stated.
Waiting for the approval of the polls
Gallardo -also president of the Badajoz Provincial Council- and Quintana govern by an absolute majority and on May 28 it will be the moment to find out if their commitment to the union has also been revalidated at the polls, something foreseeable in Villanueva de la Serena, where the popular consultation on the merger obtained 90.49% of positive votes.
It is not so predictable in Don Benito, where this percentage remained at 66.27% -slightly above the 66% set as the threshold to go ahead with the union- and where Siempre Don Benito, a citizen platform opposed to the merger that arrived to denounce fraud and manipulation in the citizen consultation, it has become a political party and a candidate for mayor.
And all this in a scenario in which the Dombenitense PP has criticized the way in which the project is being carried out, despite the fact that the party at the regional level has supported it from the beginning, and in which United for Extremadura has proposed rebuild the process to guarantee transparency, citizen participation and a “healthy coexistence” to prevent “families from breaking up”.
Despite this, Quintana has confessed that he is not worried because after the elections he will return “to consensus and the merger will go forward.”
The name of the agreement
Be that as it may, the future municipality of Vegas Altas would unite two populations separated by only five kilometers in a straight line to bring together more than 60,000 residents under a place name resulting from consensus.
The first attempt, with the names of Concordia del Guadiana and Mestas del Guadiana, proposed by a commission of experts, did not please the residents.