Former Barcelona mayor Xavier Trias announces he will run for office again

Junts candidate held mayorship with Convergència party between 2011-2015 before being succeeded by Ada Colau

Former mayor of Barcelona Xavier Trias, photographed in 2019
Former mayor of Barcelona Xavier Trias, photographed in 2019 / Nazaret Romero
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

December 12, 2022 10:24 PM

December 13, 2022 05:14 PM

Former Barcelona mayor Xavier Trias has announced that he will run next year to lead the Catalan capital's city council once again. 

Trias was for years a member of the old Convergència party that has since been dissolved but will now be the face of the campaign of Junts per Catalunya to take control of the local city government. 

The 76-year-old served as mayor of Barcelona between 2011-2015 before being succeeded by then-political newcomer Ada Colau, who currently holds the position. 

When he arrived at the council in 2011, he did so by defeating the Socialist party which had held control of the local government for 32 years. To this day, he is the only center-right politician to become mayor of Barcelona. 

After one term in office, Colau's Barcelona En Comú party rose to prominence out of grassroots activism movements that was a response to the financial crisis that began in 2008, which Spain was hit especially hard by. Colau was known as a housing activist that fought back against evictions, and her political platform outdid Trias' reelection campaign by a narrow margin of just one council seat, or 17,000 votes.

His 2015 campaign is thought to have been hampered by newspaper reports, which later turned out to be false, accusing Trias of hiding money in Swiss bank accounts. Similar reports were also made about former Catalan president Artur Mas. One newspaper published what they claimed to be the bank account number of Trias's UBS Bank account, which they also claimed held a fortune of around €13 million. The bank later denied the account existed. 

Junts' candidate was initially planned to be former Catalan government spokesperson Elsa Artadi before she left politics entirely earlier this year. 

Xavier Trias has for months weighed up his decision over whether or not to run with Junts as he was left somewhat dismayed by the crisis and in-fighting seen within the party during the summer and beginning of autumn, leading up to Junts per Catalunya withdrawing from the Catalan government. 

In July, he publicly stated that he would consider running for mayor with Junts, but only on the condition that the party was "strong" and "in order." 

"Mayor or nothing"

Yet, on Tuesday he made clear his campaign will have a very personal touch, which will be prioritized to the party name.

"I want for a lot of people who do not support Junts to vote for me," he said in a press conference to explain the news.

Trias also said in a Rac 1 radio interview that he will not spend four years as councilor if he does not succeed in the mayoral race, and that by no means will he run again, even if he manages to spend the four years in the post. "Mayor or nothing," he emphasized.

"People know that I am a member of Junts, but I'm running as Trias, and I want people who do not support the party to back me," said former Barcelona mayor, Xavier Trias, upon announcing that he will run in the upcoming local election / Catalan News

As for who he would support if he loses but his councilors are key to elect a new mayor, he said that "never in life" would he back the current one, Ada Colau, but beyond her, he would pick whoever comes first.

Trias also sided against building a tram line across Barcelona's Diagonal avenue and, if he becomes head of the local council, he would consider ways to stop the works that are already underway.

Several contenders for Barcelona mayoral post

The municipal elections will be held across Catalonia next May 28, 2023

Trias will face off with incumbent Ada Colau, ERC's Ernest Maragall, who actually won most votes in the last election in 2019 but couldn't form a coalition to govern, the Socialist Party's Jaume Collboni, Basha Changue of far-left CUP, and Juan Garriga of far-right Vox for the mayorship of Barcelona.

The People's Party and Ciudadanos have so far not announced who their candidates for the vote will be.