A civil guard interrogates a group of people in the nursing home of Moraleja de Sayago (Zamora) this Thursday. EMILIO FRAILE
The complaints for alleged electoral fraud in the small town of Moraleja de Sayago (Zamora, 290 inhabitants) has led the Civil Guard to question several users of the Moraleja de Sayago nursing home (Zamora, 290 inhabitants) this Thursday. The PSOE accuses the mayor, Ángel Villamor, also responsible for the nursing home where many residents suffer from cognitive problems, of forcing residents who requested a vote by mail to vote for his party (Zamora Sí). The person in charge of the center limits everything to a “witch hunt” against him and asks to trust the criteria of the residents, because, he affirms: “The elderly are not stupid.”
The deployment of the Civil Guard has surprised a center where tranquility normally reigns. Several old people walk through the interior patio, others chat along with the traditional frog game and the television room brings together those who calmly dedicate themselves to watching life go by, which is not uncommon at a certain age. Purificación Nava, 72 years old and sitting in a wheelchair, has seen the circle close: “I spent 30 years working as an assistant at the home of a civil guard.” Today she sees the traffic of the agents and how they demand from the employees the contact of the 27 names allegedly involved in the mayor’s pressure to induce their vote in Sunday’s elections.
The PSOE explains that the people supposedly induced to vote for the Zamora Sí candidate “are very old and with cognitive impairment such that they would be unable to decide the political party they are going to vote for.” The socialist aspirant, Samuel Mayor, denounced that the residence is administered by the La Paz Foundation and that its management falls to Ángel Villamor and his daughter, hence they consider that they may have personal interests in suggesting suffrage and urging the elderly to request vote by mail and vote for them. The provincial secretary and the socialist candidate in Moraleja, Antidio Fagúndez and Samuel Mayor, have appeared in Zamora to detail that the facts exposed before the courts were known to them at the request of the inmates: “They tell us that when they asked for the vote by mail, the management only gave them the opportunity to put the ballot for Zamora Sí”. The formation has requested precautionary measures so that the votes “do not influence the elections”, since the small local population means that a handful of votes decide the result. The Socialists have admitted not knowing “exactly the number” of suspected cases among the 70 users.
Interior of the residence of Moraleja de Sayago (Zamora). EMILIO FRAILE
The defendant observes the bustle and surprise of the residents while proclaiming his innocence. “It’s a witch hunt, they want to make trouble with me,” says Villamor while he chats with the staff and with some joking user who tells him: “There we go, on wheels.” The 64-year-old defendant indicates that several older people asked him to anticipate their vote by mail and that he helped with everything, without influencing: “The older people are not stupid.” The judicial police came on Wednesday and the interviews with the elderly, he predicts, will ratify the clarity of the matter. “The complainant hates me personally, he hurts me outside, but not in the municipal, here they support me,” says the councilor, with 24 years in office. He first belonged to the PSOE and then jumped to Ahora Decide, but left the party after a controversy to anticipate his vaccination against the coronavirus, since he argued that he worked in the nursing home and had to be immunized to care for the elderly. In these elections he will try to revalidate the position under the protection of Zamora Ya.
The routines remain the same, the food carts with broths and black pudding with vegetables continue to circulate and the conversations of those present do not address the topic of the day too much. Many have not even found out until they have been summoned to testify. Feliciana Rodríguez, 85, leaves very amazed to speak with the civil guards. “They have asked me many things, if I have voted forced or not!” announces the woman, satisfied with the kindness of the authorities but surprised by such a device. “I have voted for whoever I have wanted, they have never forced me and I have told the truth, I am from the town of a lifetime and I hope to be here until the end”, she comments before returning to her chores. Alfonso Martín, 76, values the habitual kindness of the director of the residence and would consider it “logical” for him to claim the vote of the residents for his party. Of course, he has not perceived any influence either: “he has not told me a word.” Villamor hopes that the surprise unleashed in the residence will soon subside and the elderly, voters and users alike, will continue peacefully with their adventures: “If they ask me, I tell them to vote for me, silly enough… but it is not the case”.
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