Ximo Puig of the PSOE party was officially elected president of the Comunidad Valenciana on Thursday, taking the helm in a region which is heavily in debt and whose reputation has been besmirched by various political corruption scandals during the last twenty years of PP government.
In the regional election on 24th May the PP received more votes than any other party and won 31 of the 99 seats in the regional parliament, but an alliance of PSOE, Compromís and Podemos has given these left-wing parties a majority which has resulted in Sr Puig’s appointment. He is now committed to tackling the issues of corruption and poverty, starting off with an audit of the regional government accounts.
The process of forming the three-way coalition has been a difficult one, with Mónica Oltra of Compromis maintaining that her party’s increase to 19 seats in the regional parliament gave her the right to become president, rather than handing the leading role to Sr Puig of the PSOE, whose 23 seats were the fewest ever won by the party in Valencia.
During the session of parliament at which his investiture was confirmed, Sr Puig reiterated his intention to demand a change in the way the region is financed from national President Mariano Rajoy and his commitment to changing the electoral laws so that parties with under 5% of the vote can be represented in parliament. The law as it stands resulted in EU, who received 4.26% of the vote in Valencia in May, not being represented, while Podemos, with 11% of the vote, won 13 seats.
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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