On Sunday Ximo Puig of the PSOE was sworn in as the sixth president of the Comunidad Valenciana, which comprises the provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Castellón, following in the footsteps of Joan Lerma, Eduardo Zaplana, José Luis Olivas, Francisco Camps and Alberto Fabra. During his first speech taking office in his new post, he was quick to commit himself to “ethical regeneration” in the face of the political corruption cases which have dogged the institution in recent years.
Sr Puig has taken over in the regional government after 20 years of PP rule, and among the other promises he reiterated during his inaugural speech as president was his commitment to demanding an improvement in the way the region is financed from national President Mariano Rajoy. It is his opinion that in recent years the region of Valencia has been “victimized” by the national government, and he says that the Comunidad Valenciana “cannot survive a day longer” in these circumstances.
He also repeated that his priorities at the head of the regional government include health, education and social services, and at the same time reinforced his intention to encourage re-industrialization, tourism and agriculture, as well as fomenting the regional cultural and linguistic identity.
Sr Puig was voted in as president last week as a result of support not only from the 23 members of the regional parliament who belong to his PSOE party, but also from 19 Compromís members and 8 of the 13 members representing Podemos. This gave him the required majority of one through a total of 50 of the 99 votes available, and on Sunday he was accompanied to his new office by outgoing president Alberto Fabra before attending a celebration outside in Plaza Manises.
Sr Puig, who is 56, comes from Morella in the province of Castellón, is married and has two children. A former journalist, he was elected Mayor of his home town in 1995, where he remained in office until 2011, when he moved up into the provincial and regional governments. The PP suffered a devastating defeat in the May elections at both local and regional level forcing the departure from office of several long-term and high profile politicians.
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