“They are daring and groundbreaking names, we will have to get acquainted”, wield the mayors of Don Benito and Villanueva de la Serena (Badajoz) in an attempt, at the moment innocuous, to placate the criticism with which the two finalist names have been received. The new name of the merger of both towns will come out, scheduled for 2017: Mestas or Concordia, both with the surname “del Guadiana”, overwhelm popular disenchantment and add fuel to the conflict that has been in force since February 20 – the day of the referendum – in Don Benito, where the uncertainty and the information blackout ended with the victory of the yes vote by 0.27%, after null votes were annulled to pass 66%.

Since then, several associations speak of rigging. And the controversy will continue for almost two months, until the councilors of both towns opt -if there is no going back- for an option.

The tension multiplied the same Tuesday night when the proposed toponyms were announced. The aldermen, José Luis Quintana (Don Benito) and Miguel Ángel Gallardo (Villanueva), needed the help of the police to get into the same official car, leaving the building of the Plenary Hall of Don Benito while a hubbub of a hundred people rebuked them. The announcement of the two options had been made by the president of the group of experts, Julio Carmona, a university professor, and who was general secretary of the PSOE in Don Benito and candidate for mayor, as well as municipal spokesman until 2011.

Carmona explained that the names arise as “the result of hours of work” and after requesting a two-week extension to reach “the greatest possible consensus.” As EL MUNDO learned, there was a disparity of criteria and some of the members, alleging schedule problems, barely attended these meetings.

According to both consistories, which elected its members, said group represented “different age groups and different institutions, both regional and national, and belong to different areas related to teaching, philology, history or research, among others.” Said commission had received the explicit request that the names should be identified “with the historical, cultural and toponymic values ​​of the geographical area of ​​influence of the new municipal term” and that they be “different and differentiating from the current denominations”. However, in the opinion of Julián Mora, professor of Territory Planning at the UEx, and who is in favor of the merger, he assures that the original denomination (Don Benito-Villanueva) should have been respected to safeguard “the identity of the two cities » or opt, if a new name was wanted, for «Las Vegas», the most popular in the previous polls: «Honestly, neither the mayors nor the society of Don Benito and Villanueva deserve this trap without a rigorous argument from the committee of experts”.

For Carmona, the two names were approved by “the majority” of the members, but EL MUNDO has learned that there were internal discrepancies. In the document that they delivered to the mayors, they assure that the two toponyms present “an identical morphosyntactic structure” and allude to the fact that both are “nominal phrases made up of a nucleus -the nouns Concordia and Mestas- and the same adjacent one -of the Guadiana- that specifies «the geographical, historical, socioeconomic and cultural reference of its nuclei». And they point out that in Extremadura it is in 45% of the names of local entities (in reference to Guadiana), “proof of its roots.”

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