Prosecutor wants mayors jailed for housing neglect

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The call for a reform of the Penal Code comes on the same day that former mayor of Andratx is sentenced to four years in prison for illegal building.

27 May 2008

MADRID - A senior public prosecutor on Monday called for a reform of the Penal Code that it would make it possible to send mayors to jail for failing to build sufficient subsidised housing in their towns.

Antonio Vercher, chief prosecutor for environmental and urban development crimes, warned that many cities, towns and villages across Spain are failing to comply with their obligation to set aside at least 30 percent of new developments for subsidised housing.

"[Mayors] are conscious of the constitutional right to housing... but their compliance with the law is frequently littered with irregularities," Vercher states in a report published yesterday.

In order to coax mayors into compliance with Spain's Land Use Law, which was reformed by the Socialist government last year, Vercher is proposing changes to the Penal Code that would criminalise common practices such as approving new developments without increasing the number of subsidised homes.

Mayors, he said, should face up to three years in prison for failing to comply.

Vercher's recommendations came on the same day that a court in the Balearic Islands sentenced the former Popular Party mayor of Andratx to four years in prison for illegally building a villa for his family. Eugenio Hidalgo also faces trial over other corruption cases in the Ibiza town.

[El Pais / R. Mendez / Ángeles Espinosa / Expatica]

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