It was the year that saw a former mayor return to power and Marbella vow to improve its image.
In a shock move that might have come straight out of an episode of Game of Thrones, the PP’s Ángeles Muñoz was re-instated as Marbella mayor.
The move came after the defection of the OSP party to the side of the Partido Popular, breaking up the left wing coalition that had been governing Marbella under the PSOE’s José Bernal. A vote of no confidence was passed at the Town Hall and a shocked Bernal found himself out of a job.
Away from politics, 2017 saw a number of high profile incidents that tainted its image as a luxury tourist destination. The combination of low cost party packages and beach club parties mean that images of drunken – mainly British – tourists staggering around Puerto Banus during the day appeared on Social Media and the Spanish Press even dubbed the town “Marbeluf”.
The most serious incident happened when Briton Marcus Stewart ran over three people outside the Ocean Club in his Audi Q7, before fleeing the scene pursued by police and finally causing a huge accident injuring five other motorists.
Soon after becoming mayor Angeles Muñoz announced that she would be looking into taking measures against “low cost” tourism and repairing Marbella’s image.
2017 also saw the tragic death of Pablo Raez, the 20-year-old from Marbella whose social media posts and videos brought his fight against leukemia to national attention and prompted a huge increase in blood and bone marrow donations.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Hollywood star Antonio Banderas along with thousands on social media, paid tribute to Pablo. The Town Hall announced two days of official mourning and both Malaga and Marbella FC, as well as Trocadero Marbella Rugby Club, held a minute’s silence for him before their games.
Diagnosed with leukemia in 2015, Pablo’s inspirational video blogs and Facebook posts charted his fight against cancer. The videos campaigning for more blood and bone marrow doners went viral, making him a household name in Spain and led to a huge increase in donations.
Pablo’s amazing legacy, his motto “Always Strong” and his bone marrow donation campaign will continue to help save other lives. RIP Pablo. In a year of negative news he was true Marbella hero