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Madrid city hall gives up coveted bullfighting box

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Madrid city hall gives up coveted bullfighting box
City Hall has decided to give up its box at Las Ventas. Photo: Eric Wilcox / AFP
14:59 CEST+02:00
Ahora Madrid announced last week that it would be giving up the city council´s private box at the prestigious Las Ventas bullring, as well as its top seats at one of Spain's most famous theatres.

There was a notable absence at Sunday´s bullfight in Madrid´s famous Las Ventas Bullring. The entire city council box lay empty, reportedly due to plans by left-wing party Ahora Madrid to give up its official box.

The party, a coalition of left-wing parties including Podemos, came second in the recent local election in the Spanish capital, but, thanks to the support of the Spanish socialist party, saw its candidate, retired judge Manuela Carmena, become mayor of the city.

Her appointment toppled the ruling conservative Popular Party which has been in power in the capital for 24 years and the incomers have been swift to put an end to the perceived privileges hitherto enjoyed by the cities politicians. 

"Our idea is to give up all our boxes, we do not want to use them," Ahora Madrid said according to Spanish newspaper, ABC.

The box assigned to Madrid's city hall enjoys a privileged position in the iconic home of Spanish bullfighting, alongside the royal box, and includes 30 seats spread over five rows with one of the most prized views in the bullring.

According to the company Taurodelta, which runs Madrid's bullring, as well as several others across Spain, Madrid's city hall has also contacted the Madrid's bullfighting body (Centro de Asuntos Taurinos) to request that it stops sending complimentary tickets to bullfights to city hall.

Last week Madrid's city hall announced via its Twitter account (above) that it would be giving up its box at the city's Teatro Real.

Instead it will ask the theatre to sell off the tickets to make an estimated €100,000 a year, funds that will be ploughed back into "improving the city's opera".

Conditions stipulating the use of the box at Las Ventas bullring, however, mean that the management cannot simply sell off the seats but would have to give them away to other institutions, such as bullfighting schools. 

Manuela Carmena has faced challenges since she became mayor of Madrid ten days ago. She had to accept the resignation of her councillor for culture over anti-semitic tweets and ride out calls for a second councillor to resign for taking part in a topless protest in 2011. 

Another problem has been her conservative rival, Spain's "Iron Lady", Esperanza Aguirre, who this week announced that she would form a shadow government "like in Anglo Saxon countries", to hold the new left-wing city hall to account. 

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