the nightmare of the smallest town in Spain and its fight with the Administration

The census of the National Institute of Statistics (INE) prepared in 2022 places a Illán de Vacas (Toledo) as the smallest town in Spain, with three registered people, although 100 years ago up to 80 were registered.

However, it is not always that quiet, since during the holiday season it is very crowded. Even on weekends there can be up to 25 people. They are those who come to “get away from the hubbub” of the big cities.

Upon arrival at the place, its mayor appears, Javier Bollaín (PP), outraged because he has not received the necessary electoral census so that (the three) can vote next May 28 in the Municipal and Autonomous Elections. He starts calling non-stop, but no one takes care of the matter.

But it’s nothing new, says the politician. The popular has been demanding a solution to his problem for years: they cannot register more people nor can they even carry out the basic procedures of a town hall because they do not have a secretary, the only one who can sign legal documents.

As for Bollaín, the one from the PP has a house in Majadahonda, a municipality located in the northwest of the Community of Madrid, to which he assures not to go because there “there is no one to do anything, there is no one to park, everything is a mess , everything is queues and everything is very expensive”. In short, for him the big city is “scorching”.

The town and its (reduced) life

Illán de Vacas has an area of ​​9.15 square kilometers, according to existing data. There is an old church as soon as you enter the tiny municipality with only three streets surrounded by pure countryside. Hunting and livestock are practiced there.

“We are families that have been here for 100 years (…) I lived in Madrid because I worked there and came on weekends, and now that I have retired I have returned. When you have lived in the capital and come here, you realize that it is It’s much better to live here, the rest is a nightmare”, he begins with his opinion.

Regarding the limitation of services, especially for the elderly, Bollaín assures that, for his peace of mind, “in small towns there is much more solidarity” than in other places.

One of the three streets that make up Illán de Vacas (Toledo).Patricia Donohoe, ‘The HuffPost’ video section

Cebolla, with 3,263 registered inhabitants, and Los Cerralbos, with 418, are the two neighboring towns, each one in one direction. In both municipalities there are shops, bars and restaurants and similar services, and this is the first place they go to if they need medical assistance.

The advantage of being so few inhabitants is that in Illán de Vacas it takes “a minute to vote.” The polling station opens like many others, at 9:00 in the morning, and when they finish, all they have to do is enjoy the rest of the day. No queues, no waiting.

“One of the three is the table president. The justice of the peace comes from a nearby town. Another acts as secretary to manage the paperwork. A secret vote is held and, when the census is fully covered, Talavera is called de la Reina (located 25 minutes by car, approximately) or to Toledo (located 50 minutes by car, approximately) to close the polling station (…) It takes much longer to count the votes and prepare the documentation than to vote “, details the politician.

“Who asks you, does not help you”

Regarding the aforementioned register, Bollaín explains that, due to an “administrative problem”, there cannot be more people on the census: “A city council has to have a secretary who manages all the documentation and who attests, because the mayor’s signature is not valid We have been without a secretary for 20 years and we ask for it about five times a year.”

“There are some flying secretaries who provide services to the towns,” but, according to the president, the Toledo Administration denied the possibility for Illán de Vacas. “I send the documentation and they return it to me because it does not have the seal of the secretary,” he adds.

According to the popular, there are people who want to be registered as residents of this small Toledo town and cannot for this reason, although “there are people for everything, because some worked here and do not want to be registered because the services (hospitals, shops…) that have, for example in Talavera de la Reina, they are much larger”.

Another difficulty is that “from time to time computer services are installed” that never reach Illán de Vacas, so a technological delay is added to the complicated situation. “Everything is a problem,” laments the exhausted mayor of this small Toledo municipality.

Bollaín believes that Illán de Vacas “is a very small town” and what the Administrations of large cities such as Madrid or Barcelona should do is “lend a hand”. And it is that he assures that, if you start calling Toledo, the place on which the town depends, “nobody picks up the phone, and there is no way.”

Departure sign from Illán de Vacas (Toledo).Patricia Donohoe, ‘The HuffPost’ video section

“We are in a defenseless situation. They told me that they would fix it and they have not. For me it is not comfortable that the documentation that I have to present, which is a responsibility, is rejected and that, on top of that, they continue without putting to a secretary to be able to deliver it. It is a kind of Kafkaesque: who asks you, does not help you, “he reproaches.

“The only thing you can manage is the anguish of not being able to do anything because you don’t have any means. Some days you do that and other days you get over it and call Toledo where they don’t answer you. My job is to get someone to give this council a solution and to others who are going through exactly the same thing,” says the politician.

Bollaín hopes that “after these elections, both those on one side and the other will have a different attitude, because right now this is not relevant to them.” However, he admits that he has little hope: “Before at least they received him, and now they don’t; Before they picked up the phone, and now they don’t. Before they told me they were going to give me a solution, and now they don’t.”

Source: HuffPost Spain for Athena2 by

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