1st Sep 2023 @ 6:00 am

Teguise’s new Mayor, Olivia Duque, has 12 years of experience as a councillor at Teguise Ayuntamiento. During her time as Culture Councillor, she oversaw initiatives such as the Pirate museum, the Noche Blanca and the Timple Museum.

In May’s elections, her party colleague in the Coalición Canaria, Oswaldo Betancort, stood down as Teguise Mayor in order to present himself as candidate for the presidency of the Cabildo. This allowed Duque to stand as Mayor.

Although the Socialists won most votes in the election, an agreement between the Coalición Canaria, the PP and Vox has permitted the CC to maintain control of Teguise council. We spoke to the new Mayor at the council office in Costa Teguise last month.

Congratulations on assuming the Mayorship. You’re the first woman to do so in Teguise, aren’t you?

Yes. Since Astrid Pérez stood down in Arrecife, I’m also the only female Mayor on Lanzarote. I like to say I’m the best Mayoress on the island!

Was becoming Mayor an ambition of yours?

Not really. I just wanted to continue to do my job well and it made sense.

You’ve been criticised for accepting the support of the far-right Vox party in order to govern, giving it its first real influence on Lanzarote. What do you say to that?

I’m not a person who bans or vetos. I believe strongly in pluralism and representing as many voters as possible, and I’m well aware that many people in Teguise aren’t seeing their votes reflected in the council. But at this local level, what we do is more to do with people than party politics. Ginés, the Vox councillor, is a person who has understood that the municipality must improve, and has chosen to join that project.

You can’t do anything without stability. We no longer govern with a majority, but I hope we can maintain this stability.

What are your priorities for the next four years?

Our main goals are to maintain and improve what we’ve got, rather than take on any big projects. Currently, the only large project planned is the Sports pavilion in Costa Teguise.

There’s a 15 million Euro cleaning contract coming into effect in September, and we want to make sure that that helps to improve our towns and the resort of Costa Teguise.

What things outside your control would you like to see change?

Housing is one. Building is up to the Canarian Government, and all we can do is offer land for projects, which we’ve already done. We have to look at the situation, and perhaps consider aspects such as controlling holiday rentals, but it’s important that people can come and find somewhere to live in Teguise, and that it is affordable.

Public transport is another. It’s increasingly important for tourism, as well as for local residents, and areas like Teguise, and the smaller towns such as El Mojón, Teseguite also require a better service.

Unlike the last four years, you now have party colleagues from the Coalición Canaria in charge of the Cabildo and the Canarian government. Do you think this will mean Teguise will get more attention?

Yes. We’re the biggest municipality on Lanzarote, with the second highest population, and I’m confident we’ll get much more of the things we want.

Is the Food Fair an example of that? Teguise complained bitterly when the last administration removed it from Teguise last year.

Yes. It’ll return to La Villa de Teguise, I think in November.

You’ve been in charge of commerce for a while. How do you see that developing? What has been the response to the decision to remove market stalls from the old town?

The Sunday market remains popular, but more tourists are visiting us during the week these days, too. That means several shops and restaurants are deciding to open in the week.

We changed the market because we wanted to let people see the historical part of the town better, to enjoy one of the most beautiful towns in Spain. Nevertheless, we have taken the decision to extend stalls to some areas where it doesn’t interfere with the charm of the town.

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