Spanish cities with right-wing governments go back in time

by Lorraine Williamson
Right-wing government policy changes

MADRID – In the cities of Valladolid, Burgos, Toledo, Ciudad Real and Guadalajara, the right-wing government consisting of the Partido Popular (PP) and Vox is taking controversial measures. These are directed against LGBTQ + symbols and sustainability, among other things. 

Together, the cities, jointly led by PP and Vox after the recent municipal elections, have more than 1.3 million inhabitants. Among other things, symbols such as flags of the LGBTQ+ community have been withdrawn. Furthermore, the use of the car is again encouraged at the expense of public transport. 

Subsidies intended for purposes that originated from the law on historical memory will also be scrapped. This law was passed in 2007 and aims to recognise the rights of the victims of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the subsequent dictatorship of Francisco Franco. 

The coalition between PP and Vox leads, in most cases, to an agenda that contradicts the promotion of gender equality and LGBTQ rights. For example, none of these cities raised the rainbow flag during the annual Pride celebration from June 23 -July 2. 


In Valladolid, the brand new PP mayor has decided to abolish the mobility regulation. This again promotes private car use over bicycle. An investment of €1.6 million has been reserved for the removal of some cycle paths. Bus and taxi lanes will also be cancelled. According to the mayor, the centre is stuck and chaotic due to the arrangement. In addition, many controversies have arisen over the censorship of theatrical performances and the removal of subsidies for historical memory. Furthermore, the Equality Department has been abolished and the LGBTQ+ flag was not raised on Pride Day. 


Gijón also takes decisions that go against the interests of the environment. The new mayor Carmen Moriyón, of Foro Asturias, was able to take office after an agreement with Vox. She immediately announced one of her first measures is for cars to drive through the city again “without any kind of environmental label”. 


In Burgos, the Equality portfolio has been eliminated and integrated into the family division. The traditional minute of silence for violence against women has also been stopped. Furthermore, funding for an association dealing with historical memory and a chair on Francoist repression at the University of Burgos has been cut off. 

Cogesa Expats


Guadalajara has witnessed some internal division within the coalition, with an ongoing crisis threatening even the possibility of losing the city’s majority. 


In Toledo, the number of women in leadership positions has fallen to the lowest percentage since 2003. Of the 13 positions, only 4 are held by women. The municipality is not raising the LGBTQ+ flag. It has also stopped a theatre performance about the exploitation of children and the political-criminal networks that drive this phenomenon in underdeveloped countries. The transfer of a deconsecrated church to the Círculo de Arte association, which has been managing the place for cultural purposes for 20 years, is also at stake. 


In Elche (Alicante) a new municipal council took office under the leadership of the PP and Vox. This immediately dismantled the three main bicycle routes in the city. The environmental zone must also suffer. For, among other things, the cycle paths and the environmental zones, Elche received approval from the Ministry of Transport to gain access to European subsidies (Next Generation funds) worth €2.4 million. 

Ciudad Real 

In Ciudad Real, as in the other cities with Vox as a partner, the LGBTQ+ flag at the town hall was not raised on Pride Day. 

These decisions and actions are part of a wider pattern of rollbacks to promote equality, sustainability and cultural expression in these cities. They reflect a shift in the political landscape, with the partnership between PP and Vox leading to an agenda that differs from the earlier socialist leadership. The PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español) was the most supported party in these provincial capitals in the May 28 elections. However, the pact between PP and Vox has surpassed socialist aspirations. 

Also see: Vox and PP ban rainbow flags from Spanish city 

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