Portrait of the week – Kike

Posted on July 7, 2015

Kike © Emma Marshall

Kike is a human rights lawyer and an old friend of mine – we lived and worked together in Guatemala in 2007. I saw him in Spain with some other friends last week and our visit coincided with him taking his new and rather unexpected office as mayor of the municipality of Llanes, Asturias.

There’s a great story behind this – much of which, with my rusty Spanish, remains somewhat hazy to me… It goes something like this: Following the success of Podemos in the last Spanish elections and fed up with endemic local corruption and a dearth of political alternatives, switched on Llanes residents came together as a non-party political platform called Vecinos por Llanes to represent the local population.

After meeting and talking to people throughout the municipality and carrying out a successful social media campaign, Vecinos por Llanes won three seats in the local elections. At which point all the other parties and independents proposed a coalition to oust the incumbent mayor and her party and do something about the mess they’d created during almost three decades of power.

I don’t think anyone was more surprised than Kike to find himself actually elected as mayor. He’s perfect for the job though; super smart, with a passion for social justice and solid legal experience. Exiting times. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens…

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