Barcelona mayoral post still up for grabs with only a day left for talks

Center-right Trias won election, but Socialists hope to scrap post with backing of conservatives and acting mayor Colau

Socialist mayoral candidate in Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, and Trias per Barcelona's bidder, Xavier Trias talking at La Boqueria market in May 2023
Socialist mayoral candidate in Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, and Trias per Barcelona's bidder, Xavier Trias talking at La Boqueria market in May 2023 / Blanca Blay
Guifré Jordan

Guifré Jordan | @enGuifre | Barcelona

June 16, 2023 02:13 PM

June 16, 2023 05:59 PM

Barcelona will have a new mayor this Saturday, but one day before the opening plenary session that will appoint the new local leader, their identity is yet unclear.

The event will swear in the new 41 councilors at 5pm, and talks on how the new local council will look may continue until the last minute.

The procedure to appoint the top post is the same as in the rest of municipalities: if no candidate gets an absolute majority of councilors backing the bid, the most voted candidate at the local elections will automatically be the mayor.

In Barcelona, center-right pro-independence Xavier Trias came first with 11 council seats, ahead of the Socialists (10) and acting mayor Ada Colau's Barcelona en Comú (9), both left-leaning but not in favor of a Catalan Republic.

Esquerra, a left-wing pro-independence party, came fourth with 5 councilors, while the People's Party got 4 and far-right Vox, 2.

Left-wing parties and conservatives could prevent pro-independence mayor

Trias is likely to be mayor, but an alternative may be on the works: the Socialist bidder, Jaume Collboni, getting the support of Barcelona en Comú and the People's Party.

While it seems a highly heterogeneous mix, the conservative candidate, Daniel Sirera, said on Friday that he would vote for Collboni while not entering government as long as Barcelona en Comú does the same.

The People's Party has said they may back the Socialist candidate for mayor "so that Barcelona does not fall at the hands of either Carles Puigdemont or Ada Colau's party" / Catalan News

Sirera also said that backing a government between the Socialists and En Comú but without Colau "would not be the best scenario" but they could be open to talk.

The People's Party politician aims to avoid a pro-independence government, but also wants to see the person who has been mayor for eight years, Ada Colau, out of the cabinet.

Colau wants left-wing alliance but proposal unlikely to happen

If all three groups voted for Collboni, he would frustrate Trias' hopes to become mayor, and a similar story as four years ago would repeat – in 2019, a pro-independence mayor was also frustrated when the election winner, Esquerra's Ernest Maragall, saw how Colau, the Socialists and former French prime minister Manuel Valls' group voted together for the reelection of the former.

Yet, so far, Colau's group said they want no deals with the People's Party, but rather a left-wing alliance between the Socialists, themselves and Esquerra, with a shared mayorship – however, the other two groups have rejected it.

Indeed, Esquerra is in talks with Trias for a coalition government, but it would still be a minority one and could be barred if the Socialists, Barcelona en Comú and the conservatives back Collboni.