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Alternative left and green activist Ada Colau becomes first woman Mayor of Barcelona

June 15, 2015 04:04 PM | ACN

Ada Colau is the new Mayor of Barcelona. It is the first time that the Catalan capital has a woman as Mayor. Colau, who led the alternative left and green coalition Barcelona en Comú, won the last municipal elections – held on 24 May. However, she lacked support to reach the absolute majority in the City Council and be elected Mayor. During the last 3 weeks, she has been negotiating with the other leftist parties over forming a coalition government or at least obtaining their support and reaching the 21 vote minimum necessary in the City Council’s mayoral election. None of the other parties have so far agreed to form a government coalition with Colau, but 3 of them have backed her to be elected Mayor. They are the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC, the Catalan Socialist Party PSC and the radical independence and alternative left party CUP.

Barcelona's next mayor, Ada Colau, to attend massive pro-independence rally on Catalonia's National Day

June 8, 2015 10:03 PM | ACN

The leader of the alternative left and green coalition Barcelona en Comú, Ada Colau, has announced that she will attend the massive demonstration for independence scheduled for Catalonia's National Day (11 September). In 2014, the demonstration gathered more than 1.8 million people in Barcelona. Colau won the municipal elections 2 weeks ago and therefore is likely to become the next Mayor of the Catalan capital. Last week, she said she would not join the self-determination road map agreed between the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU and the left-wing independence party ERC because she refuses to reach agreements with the right-wing CiU. Pro-Spanish unity media started to speculate that she did not support Catalonia's self-determination process. This Monday Colau highlighted her commitment to the process and announced her will to contribute "to a constituent process that should allow for real sovereignty", expanding the current process' plurality.

Barcelona's most likely next mayor, leftist Ada Colau, validates offer to renew Mobile World Congress

May 28, 2015 10:33 PM | ACN

Ada Colau, who leads the alternative left and green coalition Barcelona en Comú, is very likely to become the Catalan capital's next Mayor, with there not being enough ground on which to build an alternative majority. Colau won Sunday’s elections by obtaining 11 seats in the 41-seat City Council, just 1 seat more than the incumbent Mayor from the centre-right pro-Catalan State Coalition CiU, Xavier Trias. In the last days, the People's Party – which runs the Spanish Government – and some economic powers have been pressuring for the building of an alternative majority led by Trias. However, the essential parties involved do not support the idea. In order to facilitate her election, Colau has cleared up any doubt surrounding her fully supporting the continuing of the Mobile World Congress, the world's main event of the mobile phone-related industries, which will take place each year in Barcelona until 2018. Colau has validated the offer prepared by Trias' team to extend the organisation of the congress until at least 2023.

Alternative-left coalition to win in Barcelona with 10-12 seats, while incumbent CiU Mayor to get 9-11 seats, according to exit polls

May 24, 2015 08:12 PM | ACN

There may be a major change in the Catalan capital's City Council according to the exit polls, where the alternative left coalition Barcelona en Comú may have won this Sunday's municipal elections with between 10-12 seats but looks to be far from the 21-seat absolute majority. The centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which holds the mayoral office, is set to go from 14 to 9-11 seats. Therefore, the exit polls point towards a change in Mayor but the results are not clear enough and it in fact may be a dead heat between the CiU and Barcelona en Comú. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and the People's Party (PP) are forecast to lose many seats, going from 11 and 9 seats respectively to 4 or 5 each. Furthermore, the anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans (C's) looks set to enter the City Council for the first time and obtain also 4 or 5 seats. As well as this, two pro-independence parties would also increase their results, if the exit polls are accurate. The left-wing Catalan independence party ERC could go from 2 to 3/4 seats, while the radical independence and alternative left party CUP may enter the City Council for the first time, with 3 or 4 seats.

Municipal elections campaign kicks off marked by traditional parties' crises and independence debate

May 8, 2015 06:28 PM | ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The campaign for the municipal elections in Catalonia, which are to be held on 24May, officially started this Friday in extremely uncertain circumstances after years of economic crisis, budget cuts and corruption scandals. This has seriously damaged the credibility of the main traditional parties, provoking an increase in popularity of alternative groups and a great number of undecided voters. On top of this, there is the political clash regarding Catalonia's potential independence from Spain and the planned early elections for the Catalan Parliament on 27 September, which are expected to become a 'de facto' independence plebiscite. The Municipal Elections come first and they have been presented as a preliminary vote before that in September. Additionally, alternative parties will have to prove whether they are as strong as the polls suggest and are able to be part of local government. In this uncertain scenario, the battle for Barcelona stands out, where polls predict great changes.

Broad left-wing coalition aims to shake up local elections in Barcelona in May

March 23, 2015 09:27 PM | Isaac Meler

The coalition will be led by the social activist Ada Colau, former spokeswoman of the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (PAH), a Spanish grassroots organisation that helped citizens to stop evictions, promoted housing rights and in 2013 was awarded the European’s Citizens Prize. The local left-wing front will be mainly formed by the Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist coalition ICV-EUiA and several parties campaigning for a re-launching of democracy, such as the Socialist and pro-Catalan independence Procés Constituent and the Spanish far-left party aimed at breaking the bipartisan political model Podemos. However, the main Catalan pro-independence far-left party CUP is working on a separate candidature for the same local elections that will take place on the 24th of May.  

48% of Catalans are against independence while 44% support it, according to latest survey

March 13, 2015 11:07 PM | ACN

The support for independence is at its lowest ebb of the last two years according to the latest survey from the Catalan Government’s Survey Institute (CEO), published on Friday. 48% of Catalan citizens are against independence from Spain, while 44.1% are in favour of it. The figures confirm the trend observed in the last CEO survey released in December, when the percentage of those opposing independence (45.3%) overtook those in favour (44.5%) for the first time since 2012. During the last months there have been significant quarrels among the pro-independence parties and there was already the general feeling that the movement was losing supports. This also coincides with a greater mobilisation of the 'no' side, which has focused on spreading doubt and uncertainty about the independence project, and the appearance of new parties at Spanish level that are promising to carry out great changes in the democratic and economic systems.

Opposition to Catalonia’s independence would win for first time since 2012

December 19, 2014 09:15 PM | ACN

For the first time in the last two years, the number of people opposing independence from Spain would be more than those supporting the separation, according to an opinion poll released on Friday by the Catalan Government’s Survey Institute (CEO). 45.3% of the interviewees would oppose independence, while 44.5% would support it. According to the CEO’s Director, Jordi Argelaguet, these figures indicate “a technical draw”, since there is only a 9-person difference out of the 1,000 interviews carried out in early December, following the 9 November’s symbolic self-determination vote. However, the figures show two important trends: the higher mobilisation of citizens opposing independence and the slight decrease of support for independence. 7.5% of those interviewed would be undecided and 2.8% preferred not to answer the question.

Christian-Democrat leader introduces new initiative to promote a Catalan State within Spain

November 24, 2014 09:57 PM | ACN

After months of speculation, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, the leader of the Christian-Democrat party UDC – which is the smallest force within the governing  two-party centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU – presented his new political initiative to build an alternative option between the current territorial model and independence from Spain. Duran has been advocating for the creation of a confederated Catalan State within a more decentralised Spain, which would recognise Catalonia's nationhood, respect Catalan language and launch a fairer inter-territorial fiscal scheme for Catalan interests. With the platform 'Construïm' ('We build', in English), Duran is now trying to reach new potential voters "who feel orphaned from any political party"; voters worried about "social issues" and the economy, "beyond the debate about independence". With early elections on the horizon, the initiative is likely to represent the split of the CiU, which has been the main actor of Catalan politics for the last 35 years.

Rajoy does not back Socialists' Constitutional Reform to better integrate Catalonia

November 17, 2014 10:03 PM | ACN

On Sunday the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) approved another solemn declaration proposing a Constitutional Reform, after it already did so in July 2013. Once again the PSOE has not detailed their proposal, but insists on building a true federal model, going beyond the current Autonomous Community system. The People's Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – opposes such a reform although they "agree to talk" about it. The PSOE wants the PP to "immediately" approve the creation of a Constitutional Reform committee at the Spanish Parliament and set expert hearings to debate ideas. However, they do not want "to rush" to solve Catalonia's "urgent problem", as explained by the President of Andalusia and PSOE's Chairperson, Susana Díaz. Meanwhile, the alternative left party Podemos, which could win the next Spanish elections, has elected Pablo Iglesias as its Secretary General, who has promised a broad Constitutional Reform. Iglesias recognises Catalonia's right to self-determination but considers that the Catalan Government cannot approve a unilateral declaration of independence.

49.4% of Catalans would vote for independence and 32.3% would vote against it, according to Catalan Government's poll

October 31, 2014 08:14 PM | ACN

According to a poll by the Centre of Opinion Studies (CEO), run by the Catalan Government, 49.4% of Catalans would vote "yes" to both parts of the question "Do you want Catalonia to become a State? If yes, do you want to become an independent State?" In addition, 12.6% would vote "yes" to the first part and "no" to the second, meaning they would back a Catalan State within a federal or confederated Spain. Finally, 19.7% would vote "no", meaning they back the current 'status quo' or they want recentralisation. Therefore, 32.3% of citizens would be against independence. However, such a poll cannot be used to predict results for November 9's alternative consultation vote, stated the CEO, since the census is not the same and many people from the "no" side are expected not to vote in the alternative participatory process.

71% of Catalans want to hold the 9th of November independence consultation vote

October 3, 2014 08:40 PM | ACN

Another opinion poll has shown that a wide majority of Catalans want to hold a self-determination vote to determine their relation with Spain. This time, the question was not a general one but it specifically asked about the 9th of November's consultation vote, which the Spanish authorities completely oppose. Despite the controversy and Madrid's attempts to block it, 70.8% of Catalans would back November's vote, while 22.9% would oppose it. Moreover, the left-wing independence party ERC would win the next Catalan elections with 19.8% of the votes, while the governing centre-right pro-Catalan state coalition CiU would come in second place (13.1%) and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) would be 3rd (5.8%). The largest group of voters are the undecided (23%) and 10.4% would abstain. The People's Party (PP), running the Spanish Government, plummeted to the 8th place (2.1%).

Pujol's former party CiU will also request his appearance before the Catalan Parliament

September 1, 2014 09:45 PM | ACN

The former Catalan President Jordi Pujol, who confessed in late July that his family had committed fiscal fraud for years by having a hidden fortune in Andorra, will also be requested to provide further explanations before the Catalan Parliament by the coalition he founded and used to lead, the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which currently runs the Catalan Government. On Monday the CiU confirmed that they will vote on Tuesday for the parliamentary appearance request, joining the rest of Catalan parties. Pujol's fraud has shocked Catalan society and has been presented by Madrid-based forces as a fatal threat to the self-determination process. However, there are increasing amount of news pointing towards the theory that the Spanish authorities (Government, tax agency and public prosecutor) and the two main parties (PP and PSOE) knew about Pujol family's fraud for decades and covered it up in exchange for his opposition to independence. In fact, Pujol had always worked to better fit Catalonia within a more modern Spain and only embraced pro-independence stances two years ago.