City council of San Sebastián

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Coordinates: 43°19′18″N 1°59′09″W / 43.32159°N 1.98578°W / 43.32159; -1.98578

The City Hall, former casino built in 1887, viewed from Alderdi Eder.

The City council of San Sebastián (Basque: Donostiako Udala, Spanish: Ayuntamiento de San Sebastián) is the institution that governs the Basque city of San Sebastián (Spain). Its premises are located in the former casino of the city next to the Bay of La Concha.[1]


The building was built up in 1887 at the Gardens of Alderdi-Eder of San Sebastián, next to the Nautical Royal Club, to house the main casino. The opening ceremony was attended by the Queen Maria Christina of Austria. However, it closed as a casino after the ban on gambling in 1924.

On April 14, 1928, an agreement was reached to open in this building the Center of Attraction and Tourism, later this moving to a building next to the Hotel María Cristina.

On January 20, 1945, the council moved to this building. The architects Alday and Arizmendi amended the initial project in 1943 and turned the former casino into council. Until then, the City Hall was located an the Constitution Square (Parte Vieja), now headquarters of the Municipal Library.[2]

City administration[edit]

After the democratic restoration in 1977 and after a brief period in which a municipal manager, led first by Ramón Jáuregui and subsequently by Iñaki Alkiza, took over the city government, the first democratic elections were held in 1979. Although lacking absolute majority, candidate of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) Jesús María Alkain prevailed for Mayor.[3][4]

In the next term (1983–1987), Ramón Labayen took over his party fellow, also without absolute majority. However, San Sebastián became a stronghold of PNV's splinter party Eusko Alkartasuna, with its candidate making it to office at the next election (1987). They formed a minority coalition government with Euskadiko Ezkerra, which allowed it to remain as mayor during the term 1987-1991.

In 1991, Odón Elorza (PSE-EE/PSOE) became mayor, with the support of PP and PNV. With various covenants (with PNV and EA in 1995, with PP in 1999), he remained at the head of the council since then, and since 1999 with majority of votes and seats. After the 2007 elections, PSE-PSOE formed government with the municipal group Aralar-Alternatiba (formerly Aralar-Ezker Batua).[5] In the May 2011 elections, Bildu's candidate Juan Carlos Izagirre won unexpectedly the elections, starting off a new period.

These are the mayors who have governed the city council since the 1979 election:

Mayor Start of term End of term Party
Jesús María Alkain 1979 1983 EAJ-PNV
Ramón Labayen 1983 1987 EAJ-PNV
Xabier Albistur 1987 1991 Eusko Alkartasuna
Odón Elorza 1991 2011 PSE (1991–1993)
PSE-EE (1993–2011)
Juan Carlos Izagirre 2011 continues Bildu
Composition of the city council of San Sebastián since the 1979 elections
Name Legislature
1979–1983 1983–1987 1987–1991 1991–1995 1995–1999 1999–2003 2003–2007 2007–2011
EAJ-PNV (EAJ-PNV) 9 10 3 4 3 7 9 5
Herri Batasuna (HB) / Euskal Herritarrok (EH) 6 5 6 5 4 5 ~ ~
People's Party of the Basque Country (PP) /
Coalición Popular / Coordinadora Independiente
5 3 2 5 7 6 7 6
Socialist Party of the Basque Country – Euskadiko Ezkerra (PSE-EE) /
Socialist Party of the Basque Country-PSOE (PSE-PSOE)
4 7 5 5 7 9 10 11
Euskadiko Ezkerra (EE) 3 2 4 2 ~ ~ ~ ~
Eusko Alkartasuna (EA) ~ ~ 7 6 5 (coalition
with PNV)
with PNV)
Ezker Batua-Berdeak (EBB) /
Communist Party of Euskadi (EPK-PCE)
0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3
Aralar ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 0 (coalition
with EBB)
Current distribution of the city council
Political parties in the City council of Donostia-San Sebastián
Name Councillors
Socialist Party of the Basque Country-Euskadiko Ezkerra (PSE-EE)
People's Party of the Basque Country (PP)