Manuel Valls blasts 'dangerous and wrong' Ciutadans strategy

Former French prime minister criticizes talks of unionist party with far right and confirms he will stay as Barcelona local councilor

Barcelona city councilor Manuel Valls at his press conference on Jun 19, 2019. (Photo: Elisenda Rosanas)
Barcelona city councilor Manuel Valls at his press conference on Jun 19, 2019. (Photo: Elisenda Rosanas) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

June 19, 2019 12:59 PM

Dangerous, and linked to reactionary, anti-European parties. This is how Manuel Valls described Ciutadans party on Wednesday, two days after the unionist political force cut ties with him following his backing of Ada Colau as Barcelona mayor.

The former French prime minister blasted his former allies over their links to the far right – Ciutadans has been involved in several coalition governments supported by Vox at a local and regional level.

"Ciutadans calls itself liberal, progressive and pro-European, and many of those in the party are, but it has become the party now reaching agreements with a reactionary, anti-European force," he said.

For him, Albert Rivera's party is leading a "serious drive" getting closer to extremists, and also when dealing with the independence issue.

Indeed Valls said the party is following a "dangerous and wrong" strategy when fighting against independence. The former French politician, himself strongly opposing the Catalan republic, described Ciutadans' politics as "when worse, better," meaning that when there is more conflict and tension between blocs, it is better for the party.

In a press conference, he said that he will stay as Barcelona local councilor, and will try to bring together unionism from this position.

Ciutadans – Manuel Valls breakup

Manuel Valls ran for Barcelona mayor backed by Ciutadans party – although the list came only fourth, he became decisive with six councilors out of 41.

The election was won by pro-independence Ernest Maragall, but the Frenchman decided to back the second most voted candidate, Ada Colau, who was vying for reelection, in order to avoid a politician in favor of a Catalan republic getting the mayoral post.

This vote, supported by only two other local councilors of his group, meant Colau staying in power – but the Ciutadans party was against this vote as it sees her as favorable to a Catalan republic as Maragall, and therefore not better than him.

This was the last straw of a turbulent relationship between the unionist party and the Catalan-born politician, during which Valls has insisted several times of the need for Ciutadans to stay away from far-right Vox.

French president Emmanuel Macron's party has recently also warned the unionist party of its talks with Vox – both Macron's En Marche and Ciutadans will be part of the same group in the European parliament.