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
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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
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
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.