Manuel Valls on Barcelona mayor bid: “Count on me”
Former French PM awarded by unionist Societat Civil Catalana group
Manuel Valls, the former prime minister of France, is smoothing the way for the official announcement of his bid for Barcelona mayor as the candidate of Ciutadans, the main unionist party of Catalonia.
Born in the city to a Catalan father and a Swiss mother, Valls has recently become involved in national politics as a strong advocate of Spain's unity and a blatant detractor of the independence bid.
A week after first disclosing his intentions in Spanish TV, he again referred to his bid for office on Monday, at an event organized by the unionist Societat Civil Catalana (SCC) group.
"You can count on me. I'll always be with you in this combat: for democracy, freedom, and Societat Civil Catalana"
Manuel Valls · Former French PM
"You can count on me," he told the audience. "I'll always be with you in this combat: for democracy, freedom, and Societat Civil Catalana (Catalonia's civil society)."
Among the attendees were Spain's vice president Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, the Spanish government delegate in Catalonia Enric Millo, as well as the leaders of Ciutadans in Spain and Catalonia, Albert Rivera and Inés Arrimadas.
SCC awarded Valls with the first edition of the Seny prize (named after a popular Catalan expression, commonly translated as good sense). The organization also awarded the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani.
In March, Valls took part in a demonstration in Barcelona called by SCC. He also joined campaign rallies by all unionist parties in Catalonia in the run-up for last December's election.
Valls served as president François Hollande’s executive head from 2014 to 2016, having previously served as minister of the interior. In 2017, he lost the Socialist primary for France’s presidential election to Benoît Hamon.