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Posted by portugalpress on July 30, 2018

A political storm of the kind that could leave left-wing radicals ‘badly damaged at the polls next year’ has finally seen the politician at the centre of it give up and resign.

Ricardo Robles, elected to represent Bloco de Esquerda on Lisbon council last year, began by saying he had “done nothing wrong”.

But that wasn’t the point: the point was that in buying an old building in the Alfama district for €347,000 and then doing it up and trying to sell it for over €5 million, he was operating just like the property speculators he has been politically decrying.

Elected in on a pledge to fight for accessible housing, Robles was well and truly hoist by his own petard. A case of the pot unmasked as he called the kettle black.

National media had a field day with the story over the weekend, with Robles looking worse and worse.

Público explained that in putting the building that he shares with his sister up for sale - highlighting its value for ‘short-term rental’ - Robles was feeding into the Alojamento Local ‘scourge’ that he has for so many months been blaming for the capital’s lack of affordable housing.

No amount of help from BE coordinator Catarina Martins (who said Robles was a victim of defamation) seemed to work. On Saturday the building was daubed with a slogan poking fun of one of BE’s own campaign slogans, and by Sunday the damage was unsurmountable.

How could Robles’ remain defending accessible housing for everyday people when he had been in a position to buy-up a huge prime-site property and spend over a million on it in the first place? As leader writes have agreed this case could leave voters with a very dim view of BE’s ‘intellectual cloth cap people’s party’. Only next year’s election results will tell.

Meantime, Robles is now presumably free to make his property ‘killing’ in the boutique heart of Lisbon.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

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