Xavier Trias to run for Mayor of Barcelona in 2011

The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Party (CiU) trusts its same candidate to run for Mayor of Barcelona in the elections scheduled for the spring of 2011. Recent polls confirm Xavier Trias? hopes to win in his third attempt.

Marta Bausells

June 6, 2010 06:41 AM

Barcelona (CNA).- Xavier Trias has been officially confirmed to run for Mayor of Barcelona with the opposition Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Party (CiU). Trias' nomination has come as no surprise. He ran for mayor in the past two elections. He has already kicked off the pre-campaign for next spring’s elections. Currently, Barcelona City Hall is governed by a coalition of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and the Catalan Left Green Party (ICV), even though recent polls suggest a takeover by CiU.
In a meeting held in Barcelona, Xavier Trias was backed by the two main leaders of CiU, Artur Mas, candidate for next autumn’s Catalan elections, and Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida. Trias stressed the importance of not being over-confident and encouraged his team to keep working until the election comes around in 2011. Trias has been the head of CiU at the Barcelona City Hall since 2003. He has come second on two previous occasions: in 2003 he lost out to Socialist incumbent mayor Joan Clos, and in 2007 to Socialist Jordi Hereu, the current mayor. Prior to 2003, he held important posts within the Catalan Government (he was Minister of Health, as well as Minister of Governmental Affairs). He has also been a key figure within Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC), the Liberal party of the two-party federation of CiU, which is a Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist coalition formed in 1979 by Liberals and Christian-Democrats.

Recent polls predict a clear victory in the next municipal election. One of the main causes is undoubtedly the crisis that the current government, lead by Hereu, seems to be suffering. Hereu's problems got worse last summer, when prostitution on the streets of the city centre raised a lot of controversy. This raised questions about security and tourism, an issue that the municipal government has had to tackle over the last few months.

This May, however, brought what many saw as a definitive turning point. The City Hall organised a referendum for Barcelona citizens to decide what kind of structural reform they would prefer for the city’s largest avenue, Diagonal Avenue. Voters had two fixed options put together by town planning experts, and a third option entitled ‘none of the above’. Many were the technical problems: some people could not vote, others voted twice and even the mayor was caught confused as to whether he had actually voted or not. The results were overwhelmingly in favour of the third option and the turnout was extremely low.

The referendum was considered a huge mistake. The gloomy economic context meant that such a project was not considered a priority by local people and the deputy mayor was forced to resign immediately. The government of the city was restructured, but Hereu, who many consider responsible, stayed in office. Since then, many voices in the opposition and the media have advocated the need for change in Barcelona City Council, especially because the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) has governed uninterruptedly for the last 32 years.