Manuela Carmena

Manuela Carmena Castrillo (Spanish pronunciation: [maˈnwela kaɾˈmena kasˈtɾiʎo]; born in 1944) is a retired Spanish lawyer and judge who served as Mayor of Madrid from June 2015 to June 2019. She was a member of the General Council of the Judiciary.

Manuela Carmena
Manuela Carmena Ahora Madrid 2015 - by Felix Moreno (cropped).jpg
Manuela Carmena in 2015
Mayor of Madrid
In office
13 June 2015 – 15 June 2019
DeputyMarta Higueras
Preceded byAna Botella
Succeeded byJosé Luis Martínez-Almeida
Member of the City Council of Madrid
In office
13 June 2015 – 17 June 2019
Member of the General Council of the Judiciary
In office
Personal details
Born (1944-02-09) 9 February 1944 (age 79)
Political partyPCE (1965–c. 1981)
Ahora Madrid (2015–2018)
Más Madrid (since 2018)
SpouseEduardo Leira (m. 1967)
Alma materUniversity of Valencia
  • Judge
  • lawyer
  • politician


Early lifeEdit

She was born on 9 February 1944 in Madrid,[1][2] in the area near the Dehesa de la Villa.[3] Both sides of her family had a background in small business: her father Carmelo (a native of Toledo) ran a shirt shop at the corner of Gran Vía and Chinchilla Street in central Madrid. Her mother, meanwhile, worked as a cashier.[4] She attended the French School of the Black Ladies.[5][6] During her time as a student, Carmena served as voluntary worker in a preserves factory run by the Servicio Universitario del Trabajo.[7]

After graduating in law in 1965 from the University of Valencia,[7][8] she became a legal representative of workers and detainees during the Francoist State and was co-founder of the labour law office where the 1977 Atocha massacre took place.[9]

Carmena, who joined the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) in 1965,[10] married architect Eduardo Leira in 1967;[7] they have had two children: Eva and Manuel.[11] She ran as a candidate in the PCE list for the 1977 general election in the constituency of Madrid.[12] She had left the party by 1981.[13]

Judicial careerEdit

After passing public examinations to become a judge, she started her judicial career in January 1981.[14] As a judge she began an almost solitary fight to prevent corruption in existing courts.[15] In 1986 she received the National Human Rights Award.[16] She was a founding member of the progressive association Judges for Democracy.[14] Judge of Penitentiary Vigilance and head of the Penitentiary Vigilance Court No. 1 of Madrid, she was elected senior judge of Madrid in 1993.[17] She was appointed as member of the General Council of the Judiciary (proposed by United Left)[18] and served from 1996 to 2001.[19]

Activity after retirementEdit

Carmena in 2013

After retiring from the judiciary in 2010, Carmena moved on to become a member of the Patronato de la Fundación Alternativas, a think tank with ties to the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), and whose members included the former Socialist prime ministers Felipe González and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Carmena was Chair-Rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and as such, she has visited Equatorial Guinea, Honduras, Nicaragua and South Africa, among other countries.[20] In September 2011, Carmena was appointed advisor to the Patxi López cabinet of the Basque Government in the area of assistance to victims of police abuse.[21]

Carmena Castrillo founded the supportive cooperative "Yayos emprendedores" (literally, "entrepreneur grannies"), which manages a small retail business selling children's games, clothing and shoes made by prisoners at the Alcalá de Guadaira jail in Seville.[22][23]

Mayor of MadridEdit

Carmena in the plenary chamber of the City Hall, the day she became Mayor.

Carmena headed Ahora Madrid's ticket in the Madrid local election held on 24 May 2015. After Ahora Madrid made a coalition deal with the PSOE, Carmena was elected as Mayor on 13 June 2015, obtaining the votes of 29 out of 57 councillors and thereby winning a narrow majority.[24]

Carmena reduced Madrid's municipal debt by €5.6 billion (or 38%) in the first 18 months of her mayorship.[25] In this same time period, Carmena also managed to increase social spending by 26%, which led to an investigation by the opposing People Party's Treasury minister[26] in order to examine Madrid's compliance with Cristóbal Montoro's national spending regulations. This feud between the national Ministry and the municipal Department of Economy and Finance forced Carmena to sack Carlos Sánchez Mato from his position as councillor in December 2017.[27] Also in the first half of her mandate, the ayuntamiento organised several public consultations in order to decide on issues, opening up public input on part of the municipal budget as well as on a project for the revitalisation of the Plaza de España.[26] The council's executive board also changed 52 street and place names hanging over from the Francoist dictatorship which did not comply with the 2007 Law of Historical Memory.[26]

Carmena ran for re-election in the 2019 municipal election,[28] but stated that she would retire from the City Council should she not be re-elected as Mayor.[29][30] In November 2018, the political platform for Más Madrid was unveiled, with Carmena at its centre.[31] In the municipal election held on 26 May 2019, Más Madrid was the most-voted party, obtaining 19 seats in the plenary assembly, but on 15 June 2019, the People's Party's mayoral candidate José Luis Martínez-Almeida, with the support of Citizens and Vox, earned the vote of an absolute majority of councillors (29 out of 57 councillors) and was elected as Mayor.[32][33] On 17 June 2019, Carmena resigned from her councillor seat.[34]

Since June 2019Edit

In January 2021, she complained that, "We are infected with lies regarding reality. It is very difficult to develop correct policies for a deformed reality. One of the issues we must consider is how to combat the systematic lies that deform the social reality."[35]

Electoral historyEdit

Electoral history of Manuela Carmena
Election List Constituency List position Result
Spanish general election, 1977 (Congress of Deputies) PCE Madrid 23rd (out of 32)[36] Unelected
Madrid municipal election, 2015 Ahora Madrid - 1st (out of 57)[37] Elected
Madrid municipal election, 2019 Más Madrid - 1st (out of 57) Elected


  • — (1997). Crónica de un desorden: Notas para reinventar la Justicia. Madrid: Alianza Editorial.[38]
  • — (2014). Por qué las cosas pueden ser diferentes: Reflexiones de una jueza. Madrid: Clave Intelectual.[39]
  • — (2019). A los que vienen. Madrid: Aguilar.



  1. ^ "Carmena: "El reto es convertir a Madrid en una ciudad decente"". La Vanguardia. 24 May 2015.
  2. ^ Gallo, Bruno García (10 March 2015). "La exjuez Manuela Carmena, candidata de Podemos en Madrid". El País.
  3. ^ Gutiérrez, Juan (14 June 2017). "Manuela Carmena: "Nos inquieta la violencia en el deporte"". As.
  4. ^ Platón, Nuria (10 December 2016). "¿Qué pensaría Don Carmelo del cierre de la Gran Vía de su hija Carmena, la alcaldesa de Madrid?". La Razón.
  5. ^ Silió, Elisa (7 March 2018). "Carmena hace tertulia con las maestras". El País.
  6. ^ Rodríguez-Pina, Gloria (28 May 2015). "Manuela Carmena: 27 cosas que tienes que saber sobre la nueva alcaldesa de Madrid". El HuffPost.
  7. ^ a b c Villalba, Enrique (2016). "Manuela Carmena, la alcaldesa del cambio". Madridiario.
  8. ^ "Manuela Carmena Castrillo". Transparenciamadrid. Ayuntamiento de Madrid. Archived from the original on 20 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Manuela Carmena, elected Podemos' candidate to lead the Ahora Madrid list". HuffPost (in Spanish). 10 March 2015.
  10. ^ Carvajal, Álvaro; Bécares, Roberto (10 March 2015). "Podemos elige a la ex juez Manuela Carmena como apuesta para el Ayuntamiento de Madrid". El Mundo.
  11. ^ "La hija de cine de la candidata a la alcaldía Manuela Carmena". El Mundo. 18 April 2015.
  12. ^ "The "visionary" story of Manuela Carmena" (in Spanish). La Marea. 1 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Important drop of communist party membership". El País. 10 May 1981.
  14. ^ a b Ríos, Daniel; Romero, Juanma (10 March 2015). "Podemos apuesta por la exjueza Manuela Carmena para aspirar a la Alcaldía de Madrid". InfoLibre.
  15. ^ "First legal agreements to prevent corruption in the courts". El País (in Spanish). 16 May 1985.
  16. ^ "Judge Manuela Carmena, National Human Rights Award 1986". El País (in Spanish). 6 December 1986.
  17. ^ "A progressive judge, new senior of Madrid". El País (in Spanish). 11 February 1993.
  18. ^ "Podemos apuesta por la exvocal del CGPJ Manuela Carmena para la Alcaldía de Madrid". RTVE. 10 March 2015.
  19. ^ "El Rey se reúne con Manuela Carmena". El Correo. 3 July 2015.
  20. ^ "Manuela Carmena, chosen as Podemos' candidate for leader of Ahora Madrid's list". HuffPost (in Spanish). 10 March 2015.
  21. ^ "Manuela Carmena: "I was menaced by ETA myself"". El País (in Spanish). 20 May 2015.
  22. ^ Yayos Emprendedores, una empresa con beneficio social (in Spanish)
  23. ^ Zapatelas: Quiénes Somos (in Spanish)
  24. ^ García Gallo, Bruno (13 June 2015). "Manuela Carmena, alcaldesa de Madrid". El País.
  25. ^ "El Ayuntamiento de Carmena reduce la deuda de Madrid un 38% en menos de dos años: "No robar ayuda"". 4 November 2016.
  26. ^ a b c Caballero, Fátima (11 June 2017). "Dos años de Manuela Carmena en Madrid: lo que ha cambiado y lo que quiere cambiar".
  27. ^ López de Miguel, Alejandro (19 December 2017). "Siete claves de la destitución de Sánchez Mato y la crisis Montoro en el Ayuntamiento". Público.
  28. ^ Martiarena, Asier (9 September 2018). "Manuela Carmena se presentará a la reelección como alcaldesa de Madrid". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  29. ^ Europa Press (21 November 2018). "Carmena asegura que se retirará si no gana las elecciones de mayo". Público (in Spanish). Display Connectors, S.L. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  30. ^ R. Domingo, Marta (22 November 2018). "Carmena no seguirá en el Ayuntamiento de Madrid si no es elegida como alcaldesa en 2019". ABC (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  31. ^ Rodríguez-Pina, Gloria (22 November 2018). "Carmena presenta Más Madrid, la plataforma con la que concurrirá a las elecciones". El País.
  32. ^ "Resultados Electorales en Madrid: Elecciones Municipales 2019 en EL PAÍS". El País. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  33. ^ Rodríguez-Pina, Gloria; Mateo, Juan José (15 June 2019). "El popular Martínez Almeida, alcalde de Madrid con los votos de Ciudadanos y la ultraderecha". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  34. ^ Rodríguez-Pina, Gloria (17 June 2019). "Manuela Carmena renuncia a su acta de concejala: "Ya no soy nadie"". Europa Press (in Spanish). Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  35. ^ "Manuela Carmena: "La mentira sistemática está generando una deformación de la realidad"". Las cosas claras (Spanish television program) (in Spanish). RTVE. 22 January 2021. Wikidata Q110039788.
  36. ^ Juntas Electorales Provinciales: "Candidaturas definitivamente admitidas para las elecciones al Congreso de Diputados y al Senado" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado (120): 11121. 20 May 1977. ISSN 0212-033X.
  37. ^ Junta Electoral Provincial de Madrid: "Elecciones Municipales 2015. Publicación de candidaturas. Fase proclamación" (PDF). Boletín Oficial de la Comunidad de Madrid (99): 343–365. 28 April 2015. ISSN 1989-4791.
  38. ^ Díez Ripollés, José Luis (2012). "Un diagnóstico y algunos remedios de la política criminal española". Revista de Estudios de la Justicia. Santiago: University of Chile (16): 49. ISSN 0718-0853.
  39. ^ "Los libros publicados por Manuela Carmena, manuales contra el "statu quo"". ABC. 4 June 2015.
  40. ^ Ministerio de Justicia: "Real Decreto 22/2002, de 11 de enero, por el que se concede la Gran Cruz de la Orden de San Raimundo de Peñafort a doña Manuela Carmena Castrillo" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado (in Spanish) (11): 1577. 12 January 2002. ISSN 0212-033X.
  41. ^ "Manuela Carmena, alcaldesa de Madrid con el apoyo del PSOE". EFE Doc Análisis (in Spanish). Agencia EFE. 13 June 2015.
  42. ^ "El gobierno peruano condecora a la alcaldesa de Madrid, señora Manuela Carmena". Embajada del Perú en España. 30 December 2015.
  43. ^ "La alcaldesa Manuela Carmena recibe la Orden de la Gran Cruz 'Sol de Perú'". 30 December 2015.
  44. ^ "Entidades Estrangeiras Agraciadas com Ordens Portuguesas". Presidência da República Portuguesa. Retrieved 22 October 2018.. Result of searching: "Manuela Carmena Castrillo"