catalan politics

Barcelona mayor and separatists open new period of collaboration

Ada Colau’s party allowed a secessionist speaker in parliament; favor could be returned at budget vote

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau.
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau.Albert Garcia

Despite denials by everyone concerned, evidence suggests that Catalunya en Comú, the leftist political group headed by Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, is striking deals with the separatist parties Democratic European Party of Catalonia (PDeCAT) and Catalan Republican Left (ERC) inside the city council and the regional parliament.

Ada Colau and the separatists need each other

One such indication is the fact that negotiations over the election of a new parliament speaker and Colau’s budget plan have been taking place simultaneously.

On Wednesday, the eight deputies for the Catalunya en Comú-Podem group cast blank ballots at the vote to elect a new speaker, thereby facilitating a victory by separatist candidate Roger Torrent over the nominee for the pro-unity Ciudadanos. Meanwhile, PDeCAT and ERC have expressed a willingness to abstain at next week’s Barcelona city council vote in order to get Colau’s budget approved.

Colau and the separatists need each other. The mayor is facing the last stretch of her tenure with low approval ratings and only 11 representatives inside the 41-seat council following her party’s public break with the Catalan Socialists. This break took place in November, when grassroots members of Barcelona en Comú voted to disassociate themselves from the Socialists due to the latter’s support of Article 155, a constitutional provision that allowed Madrid to cancel regional self-rule in the wake of the illegal independence declaration.

Colau did not mention Xavier Trias in connection with the Palau case

Meanwhile, PDeCAT and ERC leaders want to be in good terms with “the Commons” inside the Catalan parliament, where their eight deputies could provide an alternative source of support. Otherwise, the separatist bloc has to rely on the radical CUP, which holds four seats and wants an immediate implementation of the Catalan republic.

In another indication that Colau and the separatists are courting one another, the mayor – normally an outspoken critic of political corruption – failed to attack her predecessor Xavier Trias over the Palau case, which concluded this week with a conviction against Democratic Convergence of Catalonia – the predecessor to PDeCAT – for taking illegal commissions in exchange for public contracts. Colau did not mention Trias, who is now the PdeCAT leader inside city council, as one of the party leaders who should give up public office over the case.

English version by Susana Urra.


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