The acting Barcelona Mayor, Ada Colau, could now retain the post despite coming second in the 26 May local elections, behind Ernest Maragall the candidate heading the Catalan pro-independence Esquerra Republicana (ERC) party.
The winning candidate will become mayor unless an alternative majority of councillors (21 out of 41) agrees on appointing another official by 15 June.
The leadership of Colau’s Barcelona en Comú party decided to put forward her bid for the mayor’s post on 15 June, with party members expected to ratify her bid on Friday evening. She is now in talks with the Catalan Socialists (PSC), who came third, to seal a coalition government.
The two parties do not have enough seats to frustrate Maragall’s hopes of being elected – yet Manuel Valls, who had the support of the Ciudadanos (Cs) party and who came fourth, has already said he is ready to vote for Colau in order to avoid a pro-independence mayor being sworn in. Barcelona en Comú, the Socialists and Manuel Valls together have enough councillors to stop Maragall.
So far Colau is calling on both Esquerra and the Socialists to overcome the pro-independence/unionist division and reach an agreement with her in order to bring the three left-wing parties in the city together, which add up to 28 out of 41 councillors.
The Socialists have ruled out supporting Barcelona en Comú’s candidate unless they reach an agreement over the governance of the city. ‘It is not going to be easy,’ said Jaume Collboni, leader of the PSC party.
Meanwhile, Maragall warned Colau that accepting Valls’ offer in order to stay in power would be ‘denying the sovereignty of Barcelona’.
Whilst the acting mayor is a champion of left-wing, anti-establishment politics, and tends not to take a stand on the independence issue, the former French prime minister is seen as a neoliberal representing opposing values in some areas.
On Wednesday, Maragall announced that he had frozen his talks with Barcelona en Comú’s team until Colau gives up her negotiations with the Socialists.
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