HomeNewsNatalia Chueca: "Zaragoza needs a strong PP government to continue transforming the...

Natalia Chueca: Zaragoza needs a strong PP government to continue transforming the city

Natalia Chueca (Zaragoza, 1976) aspires on Sunday to be the new mayoress of Zaragoza, replacing Jorge Azcón, launched into the challenge of unseating the socialist Javier Lamban from the government of Aragon. Natalia Chueca has been deputy mayor for Public Services and Mobility with Azcón. We accompanied the candidate on an intense day of campaigning for Zaragoza. Natalia Chueca wants to govern alone to continue the project to transform the city started by the PP.

The polls give him victory, but there is still a high percentage of undecided, around 20%, who will decide, almost, in front of the ballot box on Sunday. Natalia Chueca appeals to the useful vote to avoid surprises and for the left to return to the city council. The PP candidate describes the “wasteland” and “desert” in which they found the city in 2019 after 16 years of left-wing governments.

Jorge Azcón and Natalia Chueca have governed these years with Ciudadanos. The ‘popular’ candidate has added to her list the Deputy Mayor for Citizens, Sara Fernández, and the Councilor for Town Planning, Víctor Serrano. The Councilor for the Economy, Carmen Herrarte, has also joined the PP project and is running on Jorge Azcón’s ballot. “Voting for Ciudadanos is voting for Lambán, Sánchez and the PSOE,” she warns. Natalia Chueca highlights the importance of Jorge Azcón governing Aragon to avoid the obstacles that Zaragoza has suffered with the socialist Lambán, such as the new Romareda project, which he systematically boycotts.

Natalia Chueca spreads smiles around Zaragoza. It is not an electoral grimace. It is and it shows like that. Chueca was in danger, when she was chosen as a candidate, of being overshadowed by the figure of Jorge Azcón. But her open nature has led her, in a short time, to levels of knowledge and appreciation close to those of the mayor.

Question.- Very little for elections. There is a high percentage of undecided. You now want to govern alone after four years with Ciudadanos.

Answer.- We have governed as a single government team, thinking about the city project and governing for the people of Zaragoza. Now, two of the Ciudadanos councilors are on our lists and it is time to tell those who voted for Cs in 2019 that they must vote for the Popular Party for the project to continue and because any other alternative disguised with the Ciudadanos acronym does not defend liberal policies, but rather it is support for the PSOE as these four years with the government of Aragon have shown.

Q.- Voting for Ciudadanos is now voting for Lambán, Sánchez or Lola Ranera?

R.- Without a doubt. The good ones from Ciudadanos are in the PP. If they have not wanted to continue under the acronym of Ciudadanos, it is because they have felt disappointed. Cs has supported leftist policies with Lambán instead of liberal ones.

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Q.- There is a good atmosphere in Zaragoza. And young atmosphere.

R.- Zaragoza is very much alive. Nothing to see how it was four years ago. When we came to the government, the city was dead, dirty, it had stopped being cleaned, it was not invested, the trees had stopped pruning, the streets were unpaved… It had been 16 years, since Expo 2008, of left-wing governments without investment. In four years we have reversed that situation. Now Zaragoza is the second city in quality of life, according to the OCU. We have increased the population and we have surpassed Seville. We are already the fourth city in Spain. In Zaragoza today life is much better than before. It is much prettier, there are more jobs, we have attracted investment, we have lowered taxes… and that is lived on the street. People are happy.

Q.- Is that the continuity work you want to do as mayor?

R.- Yes. We have started a project to transform Zaragoza, but the transformation of a city cannot be carried out in four years, much less if two have been due to a pandemic. In order to carry out an ambitious project of transformation and prosperity, we need to continue the same policies and ensure that Zaragoza is in the place it deserves. I always give the example of Malaga, which in 2008 had nothing to do with the current one. The left told us in Zaragoza that they have not been able to do anything because the financial crisis hit them, but the financial crisis affected all cities equally. Also to Malaga and Malaga, however, from 2008 to 2019 he made an incredible qualitative leap. Zaragoza was abandoned from 2008 to 2019.

Q.- Few hours remain of the campaign. What feelings do you have?

R.- The street is where the pulse is felt and it is with us. Surveys are estimates. We are visiting the neighborhoods of the city, the markets, the centers for the elderly, the civic centers, the schools and the people ask us to continue. The love I am receiving is incredible. Everyone on the street calls me ‘Natalia mayoress’, as if taking it for granted. And they tell us that they need Spain to change, for Sánchez to leave the government and Lambán to leave the government of Aragón. I believe that there will be this change in Aragon and that we will be able to govern alone in Zaragoza.

Q.- What about La Romareda? You want to build the new stadium, the club has already presented the project, but Mr. Lamban is hindering you.

R.- We have been in Zaragoza for 20 years trying to build a new stadium. The current one is from the last century and is obsolete. It is also a matter of security. We presented ourselves in 2019 with the commitment to do so, but the pandemic paralyzed it. From the first moment we have found all the possible drawbacks of Lambán. We asked him to form a joint venture between the city council, the Aragon government and the club to undertake the investment, which is very important, of 140 million euros, and Lambán said no, that the investment would be paid for by the club. The new ownership of Real Zaragoza bought the stadium and took it over. They have promised to promote the team to the First Division and to create the new Romareda. With which, from the town hall, we put out a tender to comply with the law and that anyone can attend the contest on equal terms.

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Q.- And what did Lambán say?

R.- Well, he has responded with four requirements to block it. But not only Lamban. The socialist councilors in the town hall have put all kinds of obstacles, but without providing solutions. What they want to prevent is that the Popular Party be the one to carry out the project.

Q.- Because the deadlines are running and they want to aspire to host the 2030 World Cup.

A.- Zaragoza, the fourth largest city in Spain, cannot have this field and cannot miss the opportunity to host the 2030 World Cup because it is an economic boost for the entire city. It is very important to move forward now because the Spanish Football Federation sets deadlines. In the end, after trying to reach agreements with Lambán, we have decided to go ahead without waiting for him.

Q.- The idea is that it be finished in 2028, right?

R.- Indeed, and for that, we have already published the bidding documents. If I am mayor, I will award the new Romareda to have a first class stadium that does not cost the people of Zaragoza money from our taxes. And, furthermore, so that we don’t lose the opportunity of the 2030 World Cup. The Socialist Party doesn’t want to. It is the ‘no’ for the ‘no’. Losing the World Cup would be one more failure for Lambán on his list of failures.

Q.- What failures?

R.- Lambán is like an advertisement man. He announces things, which are often private initiatives, but he capitalizes on them as if they were his own. The reality is that everything that depends on its management have been failures: the winter Olympics for Aragon together with Catalonia, the 30 million European funds to unite stations in the Pyrenees, the car battery factory is not going to come to Aragon, neither does the Space Agency, Tata’s million-dollar investment is going to go to the United Kingdom… Lambán is sold, like Sánchez, to his radical associates, who oppose everything. It is in their hands.

Q.- Is it important for Zaragoza that Jorge Azcón rule Aragon?

R.- It’s fundamental. Zaragoza could have grown much more in these four years. Jorge Azcón would not have missed these strategic projects. He would have done what he knows how to do: manage public resources well and generate wealth, employment and opportunities. He has shown it in Zaragoza and he will show it in Aragon. With the PSOE there have been announcements and promises, but zero results. The strategic projects that could have changed the future of Aragon have passed by with Lambán.

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Q.- Zaragoza Florece is going to be held these days in Parque Grande. 300,000 people came last year and 175,000 in the first edition. Why is the PSOE opposed?

R.- Because it is always celebrated in the last week of May and they said that it would prevent people from going to vote. It was the excuse. The problem for the PSOE is that this is a green city project that the people of Zaragoza like and that we have launched.

Q.- Does the abandonment of the Parque Grande that you found express what the previous governments were?

R.- Nobody came. He was abandoned. All without bidding, in addition. The park was brown, not green. We have invested more than one million euros in the landscape proposal, in the playgrounds, in the sports facilities. We have tendered all the kiosks for the gastronomic offer. We have tendered a reading kiosk. There are activities and events. Zaragoza was a wasteland, a desert of investment and management with the left. Most of the contracts for my council, as for the entire council, had expired. We had to start Zaragoza from scratch. We tendered the basic conservation or urban furniture contracts, which had expired since 2013. On the advertising poles, however, the companies continued to advertise, but without paying anything to the council. It was pure neglect and mismanagement.

Q.- And, distribution of charges?

R.- Each had their interests. We have governed for all Zaragozans and, now, the city vibrates, is happy… and that is felt in the streets, squares and parks.

Q.- Your daughter votes on Sunday for the first time. Is she going to vote for her?

R.- (Laughs) Get ready, if not. It makes him very excited. She would never have imagined that she would vote for his mother the first time. You have to work for the youth. We have to build a city with vision. Not just for the next four years. It is necessary to think that Zaragoza prospers so that young people can carry out their life project here.

Q.- Two elderly ladies told me when they saw you: “This girl always smiles”

R.- Haha… It’s my gesture. But I’m enjoying it. The challenge of transforming Zaragoza and making my city a city with a better future and more prosperous so that the residents feel happier fills me a lot.

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