Barcelona mayor eyes re-election as Spain campaign starts

As Spain gears up for local elections, one of the most closely watched races is in Barcelona, where current Mayor Ada Colau is seeking re-election.

Colau, who was elected in 2015 as part of a grassroots movement known as Barcelona en Comú, has made affordable housing and sustainable development central themes of her administration. During her tenure, the city has implemented measures such as a tax on empty homes, expanded public housing, and restricted tourist accommodation in certain neighborhoods.

However, Colau faces tough competition from several challengers, including Manuel Valls, a former French prime minister who has taken up Spanish citizenship and is running as a centrist candidate. Valls, who was born in Barcelona, has pledged to crack down on crime and promote economic growth if elected.

Another key candidate is Ernest Maragall, a member of the Catalan Republican Left who has criticized Colau for not doing enough to address the city’s housing crisis. Maragall has proposed a plan to build 30,000 new affordable homes in Barcelona over the next decade.

Other candidates include Jordi Graupera, a pro-independence activist, and Josep Bou, a conservative businessman who has called for stricter immigration controls.

The election is being closely watched as a barometer of political sentiment in Spain, which has seen a rise in populist and nationalist movements in recent years. It is also significant because Barcelona is one of the country’s largest and most influential cities, and is considered a key cultural and economic hub in Europe.

The election will take place on May 26th, and the outcome is expected to have significant implications for the future of Barcelona and the wider region of Catalonia.

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