Manuel Valls: ‘I believe I will be the mayor of Barcelona’

Former French prime minister says it is not his but Barcelona’s future on the line

Mayoral candidate Manuel Valls spoke to the press Thursday morning at the Catalan News Agency (Gerard Artigas/ACN)
Mayoral candidate Manuel Valls spoke to the press Thursday morning at the Catalan News Agency (Gerard Artigas/ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 16, 2019 12:31 PM

Barcelona mayoral candidate Manuel Valls believes he has a solid chance to win the May 26 local elections because, according to him, he is the only person who represents the change that Barcelona’s people want.

“I believe I will be the mayor of Barcelona,” he said to this effect on Thursday morning at a press conference organized by the Catalan News Agency.

Describing the campaign season as a “democratic party” in which he was able to hit the streets and speak to the people, the former French prime minister and Barcelona mayoral hopeful defined Barcelona’s main issues as twofold: deciding which model the city would follow and determining its place within Catalonia, Spain and Europe.

Skyscraper solution for housing

Recognizing the need to address the lack of affordable housing Barcelonians face, Manuel Valls put forth a plan to build 10,000 new homes – 5,000 per mayoral term – in cooperation with the private sector, of which 75% would have affordable rent because “an increased housing offer could possibly bring down prices.”

Valls also suggested that many of these new homes should be built in the city’s empty lots and should include skyscrapers outside of the city center to boost Barcelona’s housing density and reminded the press that current mayor Ada Colau did not fulfill her initial campaign promises to build more houses.

Barcelona's lack of safety

The mayoral hopeful expounded on what he characterized as the city’s deterioration and largely blamed the issue of crime drug dealing flats on Colau. He also said that he did not fully understand Esquerra Republicana candidate Ernest Maragall’s “old-fashioned” safety proposals.

Catalonia’s role in Spain and Europe

Valls believes that pro-independence Esquerra Republicana would be dangerous for the city as he says that Ernest Maragall would create a further wedge between Barcelona and Spain in trying to promote “the imaginary Catalan Republic.”

He also stated that Barcelonians, and more generally, Catalans, were fatigued by the failed independence bid, although if he were to become mayor he said that he would meet with President Quim Torra as Barcelona’s issues are also dealt with by the Catalan government.