PALMA's new Socialist Mayor, Aina Calvo, yesterday started her new job leading the council with the support of the left wing nationalist pact (Bloc) and the Majorcan nationalists (UM) but on Sunday she gave one of her first interviews as the new mayor.
Q: On Saturday, a woman handed the leadership of Palma council over to another woman. What does this mean to you?
A: This means that, fortunately, we have a society which has changed a lot over the past 20 years and this is good, not only for women, but for men too.
If it is possible, how would you describe Palma in just one sentence?
Palma is a magnificent city.
Why did you put yourself forward as a candidate for Mayor of Palma?
Well, she smiles, because my party, the PSOE (Spanish Socialists), gave me the opportunity to work for my city, which is the best job any politician can be offered.
How would you evaluate former mayor Catalina Cirer and her government of Palma?
I am sure that they were motivated by a sincere interest in improving the city, from a viewpoint which I certainly do not share, but I would like to recognise and thank them for, as I always have done, their efforts, their time, and their dedication to Palma, and the good things which the council has done under Cirer.
What will be the priorities of your Government?
Well, although it is clear that there are matters such as traffic, cleanliness, local police and the green areas which need to be improved, everything to do with Palma and everything which affects the daily life of its inhabitants is a priority.
What message do you have for the people who voted for you?
Thank you for your confidence.
And for those who didn't vote for you?
I would say I still rely on them and they can rely on me.
Which part of Palma do you like best?
I don't have any favourite part. I like Es Vivero, where I was born, but I also like the Bons Aires area, where I once lived, the historic centre and the Passeig Maritim. Palma has some very beautiful areas and often the preference for one or the other depends on people's personal experiences.
Would you have liked to have the UM's spokesperson, Miquel Nadal, on your governing team?
Well, it is really important that the UM will form part of the governing team, but the Bloc will also form part of the governing team and their spokesperson, Eberhard Grosske, has guaranteed stability for the team.
Will the fact that the Spanish Government is in the hands of the PSOE help when asking for investment for the improvement of the Playa de Palma?
I would rather say that we will take advantage of all circumstances which could be favourable to the improvement of the Playa de Palma and we now have the opportunity to reconsider other improvements in tourist areas.
The former socialist Mayor, Ramon Aguilo, and his successors said that they would like Palma to be the tourist capital of the Mediterranean. Hasn't this already been achieved?
Well, on the one hand Palma has to consolidate itself as a tourist destination, and the creation of the Municipal Institute for Tourism by the last council was good for this, but it would also be good to be able to improve our tourism knowledge and coordinate our efforts with the private sector and small businesses. And a council such as Palma can promote this type of activity.
Will the Palacio de Congresos project still go ahead?
Yes, because we are completely in agreement with this project, although there will be a break in the project to develop the sea front for the moment we will not grant any more licences until we have examined the project and agreed how we would like it to proceed.
Will it be possible to have all year round tourism in Palma?
I think so, by supporting the business sector and working to reconcile the various uses of the tourist areas, commercial and residential for example.
What importance will you attach to the council's Tourism department?
It will be a strategic axis in the management of the city, but in my opinion all areas of the council should have the same status.
What message would you give to the economic sector?
I would ask them to be calm as we intend to have a permanent dialogue with them, with maximum involvement from the council.
Will there be more building?
Yes, not just for big infrastructures, but also others in the districts where, although an effort has been made, more health centres, sporting equipment and community centres are needed. It is true that community centres were constructed during the last council's term of office, but I think that they need management programmes and a greater participation from the citizens.
How would you like to be remembered as Mayor?
I would like to be remembered as a person who has worked to improve her city and as a person who has listened to the people.
Throughout the electoral campaign Aina Calvo promised that, if she became Mayor, the current design of the Calle Jacint Verdaguer would be altered, an idea shared by the Bloc and the UM, and which would be in accordance with the proposal from the Plataforma pel Parc de les Vies to create a park in this road.
Is the existing design of the Calle Jacint Verdaguer finally going to change?
Yes. Our proposal says that the Calle Jacint Verdaguer can be altered without the necessity for more excessive works in the area. It is also a project which the council can develop and go ahead with, without waiting for the go ahead from other institutions before starting work.
Will the project to construct the new Son Dureta hospital in Son Espases be changed?
We hope so. But this project is different from the Jacint Verdaguer one in that, strictly speaking, it is outside the council's powers and, because of this, other institutions also have to decide on this project.
How do you see the future Palma?
I think that Palma needs to have a good idea about its role as a city and, as I have already said, our objective is to get the participation of the various sectors and citizens, and to have a permanent dialogue with them.
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