Anti-eviction activist could be next mayor of Barcelona, latest poll shows

Ada Colau and her new leftist coalition on course for upset victory over Xavier Trías of CiU

Ada Colau, sitting in front of Barcelona City Hall.
Ada Colau, sitting in front of Barcelona City Hall.Carles Ribas

A campaigner against home evictions with no prior experience in politics could become the next mayor of Barcelona, according to a new opinion poll.

Ada Colau, who gained national attention at the height of the economic crisis as the spokeswoman for the Mortgage Victims Association (PAH), is now Barcelona voters’ top mayoral candidate, a Metroscopia survey shows.

Her political group, Barcelona en Comú (BComú), is an amalgam of leftist and green parties, some with a long tradition, such as United Left (IU), and others newly formed, like Podemos.

In Barcelona, there has been a management style that could be described as mafia-like” Ada Colau, mayoral candidate

With 26 percent of citizens still undecided and a further six percent declining to answer, the poll shows BComú securing 12 seats at the local council on May 24.

While this is far from an absolute majority, the poll shows the incumbent Xavier Trías, of Convergència I Unió (CiU) dropping to 10 seats from the current 14.

After BComú (which encompasses Iniciativa, Esquerra Unida, Podemos, Procés Constituent and the green party Equo) and CiU, the third most voted party would be Ciudadanos with six seats. Born in 2006 as a regional party whose scope of action was Catalonia, Ciudadanos has recently experienced substantial growth and is running at the national level in this year’s local, regional and national elections.

Whatever the outcome, there will be more fragmentation of the vote than ever before, creating the need for cross-party deals between three or four political forces.

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The big loser in Sunday’s vote may prove to be the Popular Party (PP), which could lose seven councilors out of the present nine, and the Socialist Party, which would hang on to three but yields eight.

The poll, conducted between May 8 and 13, detected a highly mobilized voter base among supporters of alternative leftist movements.

Losing the Catalan capital could have a devastating effect to the ruling CiU bloc and Catalan premier Artur Mas, who sees Barcelona as the spearhead of his pro-independence drive for the northeastern region.

CiU has been damaged due to a number of corruption scandals, including one involving longtime Catalan premier Jordi Pujol. In a recent interview, Colau compared the bloc to a mafia.

“In Barcelona, there has been a management style that could be described as mafia-like, because it got public and private interests confused, maintained secret relations with financial powers, and accepted commissions in the name of democracy,” she said.

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