First part of Barcelona's new tram line along Diagonal avenue to be ready 'in a year'
Section between Glòries and Verdaguer first step in connecting two separated networks
Section between Glòries and Verdaguer first step in connecting two separated networks
According to media reports made public on Sunday connecting him to 'Paradise Papers' scandal, Xavier Trias has money invested in offshore tax haven
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.
Every party with representation in the 41-seat Barcelona City Council, except for one small party holding 3 seats, were present at the signing of the official proposal that will be sent to the Mobile World Congress' organisers in order to continue hosting the event until 2023. The MWC is the world's main event of the mobile phone-related industries and since 2006 has taken place each year in Barcelona. The current contract expires in 2018 and there are other cities that want to host the event besides the Catalan capital. The 2015 edition attracted 93,000 visitors in Barcelona, 9% more than in 2014. Most of those who attended were executives from international companies staying for 4 or 5 days in town. It was estimated that the 2015 edition had a €436 million impact on the local economy and generated more than 12,600 temporary jobs. Furthermore, Barcelona has been named the Mobile World Capital, a long-term project to make the Catalan city a hub for this industry, hosting standardisation organisations, multinationals and international research centres focused on related technologies.
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.
The most likely future Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has held a press conference the day after election night, in which her alternative left, green and pro-self-determination coalition Barcelona en Comú became the most-voted party in the Catalan capital, obtaining 11 seats, far from the 21-seat absolute majority. Colau stated that she would “start a round of talks” with the other left-wing parties to look for government agreements as of this Monday. She will contact the social-democrat Catalan independence party ERC (5 seats), the Catalan Socialist Party (4 seats) and the radical independence and alternative left-wing party CUP (3 seats). However, she did not rule out the possibility of reaching specific agreements with other parties on some important issues. She also highlighted her commitment to Catalonia’s right to self-determination. In addition, Colau also accused the current Mayor from the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, Xavier Trias, of signing last-minute contracts before leaving office.
The alternative left coalition Barcelona en Comú, led by activist Ada Colau, has won the municipal elections in the Catalan capital by a close margin. The green and post-communist coalition has obtained 11 representatives, far from the 21 seat absolute majority, and governing will depend on the forming of a coalition. Colau defined her victory as that of "David against Goliath". She also stressed her commitment to Catalonia's right to self-determination. The centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which was holding the mayoral office, has gone from 14 to 10 seats. The anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans (C's) will enter the City Council for the first time, having obtained 5 seats. The social-democrat independence party ERC has also obtained 5 seats, 3 more than in 2011. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) has gone from 11 to 4 seats. The People's Party (PP) has gone from 9 to only 3 representatives. The radical independence and alternative left party CUP will also sit on the City Council for the first time, with 3 seats.
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.
By 6 pm (CET time), two hours before the electoral polls close, 44.58% of Catalans had already voted, 6 percentage point higher than the 38.24% registered at the same time in 2011. However, in Barcelona, the turnout is much higher, reaching 46.37% (while four years ago it was 38.21%). This 8 percentage point difference is due to the political battle taking place in the Catalan capital, where the alternative left coalition Barcelona en Comú has a chance of winning the elections ahead of the incumbent Mayor and candidate for the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, Xavier Trias. Left-wing voters are likely to have flocked to the electoral polls with the hope of displacing Trias, while many other voters are also likely to have gone to the electoral polls in great numbers to stop the alternative left candidate and former social activist Ada Colau from winning the elections. Election day has gone off without incident but with uncertain political horizons.
Catalans are holding their municipal elections on Sunday, while the elections to the Catalan Parliament are to be held in September, as opposed to other parts of Spain, where they are voting for their regional parliaments on Sunday. These municipal elections come after 7 years of economic crisis and also with very uncertain political horizons. Two debates have dominated the campaign: Catalonia’s independence and the rise of new or secondary parties that promise to change the current model. For many people in Catalonia, Sunday’s elections will be a first stage of the ‘de facto’ plebiscite on independence that is going to take place with the Catalan elections on 27 September. It is also the opportunity to support changing the current political, economic and social model, with the rise of alternative left coalitions. Furthermore, majorities and town halls go through significant changes, particularly in Barcelona and the cities of its Metropolitan Area, where there are no clear winners forecast and surprises are likely to happen.
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.
The 33rd edition of the Barcelona International Comic Fair opened its doors on Thursday. The event is an initiative organised by FICOMIC, a non-profit entity aimed at spreading comic and Japanese manga culture. This year it is taking place from the 16th to the 19th of April at the Fira de Barcelona’s Montjuïc venue. The fair has increased its exhibition surface from 32,000 square metres in 2014 to 36,000 this year, and the number of exhibitors has grown from 161 to 165. The Joker and Captain America will be among the main characters at the event and different genres of comics will be on display: from science fiction to heroic fantasy comics, through to humorous comics. In total, the event will host 19 exhibitions by national and international authors. Patrici Tixis, FICOMIC President, has declared that he hopes that the fair will attract 100.000 visitors in its 2015 edition.
The first lab in Europe for certifying car industry products to be sold in China has been unveiled in L'Hospitalet del Llobregat, near Barcelona's seaport and El Prat Airport. The Chinese publicly-owned company CCIC Holding Group opened on Monday a lab in Greater Barcelona, which will also certify products from other industries, such as the textile industry, and the construction and chemical industries. As well as products from Europe, it will also certify products from Northern Africa and the Americas. The new plant will also facilitate companies from the Asian giant that wish to contact Western suppliers, becoming a bridge for fostering foreign investment. Therefore, it will turn Barcelona into one of the main gateways for exporting Western products to China. The project has been attracted by the Catalan Government's programme 'Invest in Catalonia', as well as by a trip to China made by the Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias.