Monday 12/6/21
POPULAR CONSULTATION

Spanish government allows a referendum on the merger of two cities

The permission will allow the Extremadura municipalities of Don Benito and Villanueva de la Serena to convene a popular consultation on their merger
11/08/2021. The Minister of Territorial Policy and Government spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez at the press conference after the Council of Ministers. Photo: La Moncloa.
Minister of Territorial Policy and Government Spokesperson Isabel Rodríguez at the press conference after the Council of Ministers. Photo: La Moncloa.

The Government of Spain agreed on Monday to grant its mandatory authorization to hold a popular consultation.

According to government information, the permission will allow the Extremadura municipalities of Don Benito and Villanueva de la Serena to convene a popular consultation on the merger of both cities. Some residents and political leaders of both municipalities have expressed their interest in merging.

Unlike other cases of popular consultation initiatives (the most famous, in Catalonia), in this case the government considers that the request meets the legal requirements and therefore authorizes it.

The Minister of Territorial Policy and government Spokesperson, Isabel Rodriguez, explained that the municipalities of Don Benito and Villanueva de la Serena have agreed to go ahead with the merger procedure if the result of the popular consultation shows an acceptance percentage higher than 66%.

Both municipalities are located in the province of Badajoz. The approximate population of Don Benito is 37,000 inhabitants and that of Villanueva de la Serena 26,000.

Third city of Extremadura

Rodriguez praised the initiative of the two neighboring towns: “They will not only grow in population and extension, but they will also generate one of the most important poles of economic development in Extremadura and, in addition, they will facilitate an effective management of public funds, and the resources that they provide to the citizens."

If the merger is carried out successfully, the new resulting city would be the third city of Extremadura in population and the main economic pole of the agro-industrial sector in the region.

Why it is allowed

According to government information, the Council of Ministers approves the holding of the referendum because it deals with strictly municipal matters, in accordance with article 71 of Law 7/1985, of April 2, regulating the Bases of the Local Regime (LRBRL).

  • A local issue: the matter does not significantly transcend the municipal scope and the question to the population refers exclusively to the exercise of the initiative for the processing of the eventual merger process, excluding any pronouncement on the future result of said process, for which can be concluded that the popular consultation is adapted to the parameter of territoriality established in the LRBRL.
  • Special relevance for the interests of the residents: the object of the consultation whose authorization is requested is of special relevance for the interests of the residents of both municipalities, since it is not a matter that lacks interest or belongs to the ordinary management of civic life.
  • Not related to the Local Treasury: In view of the question that will be made, whether or not to approve the merger with another municipality, it is not a matter concerning the Local Treasury.

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