Eight savings made by Madrid mayor Manuela

In Spain political office has become inextricably linked to privilege, but Madrid's new mayor has shown she is prepared to make the odd personal sacrifice to stay true to her campaign promises.

Eight savings made by Madrid mayor Manuela
On her first day of work as Madrid's mayor Manuela Carmena took the metro. Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP

Born of the protest movement and backed by anti-austerity party Podemos, Manuela Carmena, campaigned against the excesses of the city’s elite and promised to change things if she got the top job at city hall, saving hundreds of thousands of euros in the process.

Now, true to her word, she and her fellow councilors from the left-wing coalition, Ahora Madrid, are scrapping a whole host of privileges usually bestowed on Madrid’s city hall, “giving it back to the public”, in the words of the new mayor herself.  

Within the first fortnight of taking office after ousting the Popular Party from a conservative stronghold lasting 24 years, Carmena has stunned voters by proving to be a politician that actually keeps to her word.

Here is what she has given up:

Her mayoral car

One of the first things Carmena rejected was the mayor’s chauffeur-driven car, opting instead to travel to work by metro, just like tens of thousands of other Madrileños.

Seats at Las Ventas

Madrid’s council was notably absent during a recent bullfight in Madrid’s Las Ventas bullring, having announced that they were giving up their VIP box. “Our idea is to give up all our boxes, we do not want to use them,” Ahora Madrid was quoted as saying in Spanish daily, ABC.

Club de campo, Madrid

One of Spain’s most prestigious country clubs may no longer be able to count Madrid’s political elite among its members. The club is no stranger to controversy; in 2013 a Spanish newspaper revealed that 648 people had received exclusive passes to the club. The previous mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, reduced the number to 200 in 2013. The club confirmed to Spanish daily 20 minutos that they had not given out any “courtesy passes” since 2014 because no one had asked for them.

Royal theatre box

Photo: Luc Mercelis/Flickr 

Ahora Madrid has also given up its seats at the city’s Teatro Real, urging the theatre to sell the tickets and invest the money in the city’s opera company instead.

Gold card for Madrid’s trade fair centre

Photo: Alquiler de coches/Flickr 

The 20 new councilors will give up the gold cards usually bestowed on newly elected city hall officials for Madrid’s trade fair centre, allowing free access to the over 70 trade fairs a year that take place there. That is a saving of nearly €30,000 according to Spanish daily, 20 minutos.

Box at Santiago Bernabeu

Photo: Camilo Rueda López/Flickr

You would think footie fans would jump at the chance of a free VIP box at football mecca and home of Real Madrid, the Santiago Bernabéu, but Manuela Carmena and her councilors have given up the city hall's box

La Caja Magica

Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray at the 2015 Madrid Open. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP

The home of Spain’s Madrid Open tennis competition will also be much less frequented by Madrid’s politicians – the city’s new councillor’s have given up their box.

Cut her salary

Photo: Shutterstock

Carmena promised to cut her salary to €45,402, much less than the salary of previous Madrid mayor, Ana Botella, who took home €100,000 a year. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.