Edition 1487
11 August 2018
Edition: 1487

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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Anti-speculation councillor resigns as he looks to make millions off building

by TPN/Lusa, in News · 02-08-2018 10:32:00 · 0 Comments

A left-wing Portuguese politician, who campaigned against property speculation, has quit after it emerged he bought a Lisbon building for 347,000 euros and renovated it (at a cost of around 600,000 euros) for later sale with a list price of 5.7 million euros.

Anti-speculation councillor resigns as he looks to make millions off building

Ricardo Robles resigned from Lisbon City Council, saying controversy over the deal had become a political problem and made it hard for him to do his job.
Robles said he bought the building, which includes 11 apartments, in 2014 with his sister, and a luxury real estate company started advertising it last February.
Robles belongs to the Left Bloc, a left-wing party and an important backer in parliament of Portugal’s centre-left Socialist government.
The Left Bloc confirmed it would replace scandal-hit Ricardo Robles as its single Lisbon councillor with Professor Manuel Grilo, who was number three on the party’s list for last year’s council elections, following a meeting of its Political Commission.
Robles had earlier announced his resignation from the council post, stating that this was “a personal decision” with the “objective of creating the best conditions for the continuation of the Bloco’s struggle for the best for the city” - a slogan encompassing the party’s demands not only for individual liberty to access urban resources, but also democratic control over policy.
His resignation comes in the wake of a report in last Friday’s edition of Jornal Económico to the effect that in 2014 Robles bought a building in Alfama, a historic neighbourhood currently being transformed by speculation and tourism. The Left Bloc has been strongly opposing real estate speculation, and its latest propaganda campaigns on billboards have focussed on housing issues and the stresses caused by speculators on first-time buyers and low-income earners.
“On Sunday I informed the leader of the Political Commission of the Left Bloc of my intention to give up the positions of councillor in the Lisbon Municipal Council and of member of the coordinating commission of the Left Bloc for the Lisbon municipality,” Robles said in the statement.
He described his move as “a private option, forced by family constraints” and “with respect for legal rules”, to overcome what had become “a real political problem” and put enormous constraints on his “intervention as a councillor”.
While BE leaders were supportive of Robles in the wake of the initial newspaper report, some leading party figures have been critical of him, against a backdrop of public criticism of his alleged hypocrisy in repeatedly condemning property speculation and the conversion of buildings in central Lisbon into tourist apartments, when he himself appeared to be doing just that.
The other name that had been cited as Robles’s possible replacement as councillor was the number two on the list, who happens to be a leading figure in Habita, a group that campaigns for affordable housing for residents, but she declined to move to one of the most prominent political roles currently available to Left Bloc politicians. 

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Edition 1487
11 August 2018
Edition: 1487

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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