The Barcelona City Hall transcends the city and Catalonia, but it is not a “State operation” in a conspiratorial way
José Antonio Zarzalejos
Saturday, 06/15/2019 | Updated at 10:04 CEST
Ada Colau, this Friday, before the press conference in which she announced the result of the consultation to the members of the Comuns. / FERRAN NADEU
The president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, feared it. On May 21 at a rally he proclaimed that during the mandate of Ada Colau “Barcelona has abdicated from being the capital of Catalonia”, a function that Girona would have assumed thanks to its institutional alignment with the independence thesis, and especially thanks to the activism of the mayor of Girona, Marta Madrenas. This approach is completely deranged, but, above all, seriously undemocratic. The citizens of Barcelona are not predominantly pro-sovereignty; it could be said, quite the contrary, that it expresses itself in electoral terms as the city -and its metropolitan area- less adherent to the separatist thesis.
In the municipal elections on May 26, the ERC candidacy in Barcelona, headed by Ernest Maragall, won 10 councilors with more than 160,000 votes, just five thousand more than the list of BComú achieved, with Colau as head, who tied in total number of councilors.The third political force was the PSC with eight councilors and more than 138,000 votes, by far exceeding the list of Manuel Valls (supported by Citizens), with a rough 100,000 voters and 6 representatives in the consistory. And behind, JxCat with five seats and almost 79,000 votes; and, finally, the PP with two seats and just over 37,000 ballots.
The photograph of the count city clearly responds to a non-independent majority (of 41 councilors, only 15 are pro-independence without reservations); and putting together the votes of the ‘comuns’ and the socialists, with the altruistic contribution of at least three councilors of the list of Valls, has all the political and democratic sense, so that Colau might repeat in the mayor’s office of the capital-yes, the capital-of Catalonia, subtracting it from the command of the independence movement represented by ERC. 71% of the registered members of Comuns have favorably voted for Colau’s proposal: with the PSC and with the votes, without conditions, of the municipal platform of the former French prime minister.
The membership of BComú mostly guarantees that Colau will be mayor again with the PSC and the votes of Valls
Barcelona and its metropolitan area have resisted since the old times against the most identity approaches, as typical of an open city. The city, with more than 1,600,000 inhabitants and a budget of more than 2,700 million euros, is clearly the second most powerful public entity in Catalonia, a formidable international showcase, and monopolizes an unbeatable symbolism of the Catalan idiosyncrasy. Traditionally, PSC socialism has become strong in the municipalities of its metropolitan area. Hence, first pujolista nationalism and then the pro-sovereignty move, have developed about Barcelona and its surroundings a strong political distrust, trying to deactivate the politico-institutional articulation of the great conurbation of Catalonia.
Another slip of Torra
Secessionism needed for its instrumental purposes the control of the mayor of Barcelona. It has failed in the attempt, both for its internal competition (ERC and JxCat) and for the ideological conformation of the voters of Barcelona. And trying to disqualify the historical condition of the capital city of Barcelona is another serious slip of the president of the Generalitat. In this same space, a couple of weeks ago, the opinion was advanced that the “sovereign process was burning”, that is, it was being consumed. The loss of Barcelona for the independence movement is another stretch of the road without return of the ‘procés’ that its own protagonists have closed in the hearing before the Supreme Court: the DUI of October 27, 2017 would have been, according to their own words, a symbolic event, without legal effects and would have declined due to the lack of will to implement a unilateral segregation of Catalonia from Spain. At the same time, the Strasbourg Court has already provided three setbacks to the claims of recurrent secessionists about alleged infringements of fundamental rights, and the criminal trial held at the Palacio de las Salesas in Madrid has concluded without a significant media and political dimension in the international arena. .
The election of Colau to continue in the mayor’s office of Barcelona transcends Catalonia – it was also pointed out in this space that the agreement between Bcomú, PSC and Valls’s external collaboration was very highly considered in the circles of power in Madrid – but it is not “State maneuver”. Using that expression as an interpretation of a kind of conspiracy against secessionism only insists on the error of considering that the definition of Catalanness is homogeneous, hermetic and can only be explained from militancy in a separatism that still does not recognize its social minority and, especially, its uneven implantation in Catalonia. It is true that the interior and more rural country responds to emotional and ideological keys different from the coastal and urban country. They are the two Catalunyas that should understand each other, agree upon and propose a solution that the State, Spain, would welcome to articulate a “good policy” solution, according to what was said in his last speech during the hearing of the trial of the ‘procés’ by Oriol Junqueras; a good policy not practiced by him and others.
In short, the capital of Catalonia is not Girona, but Barcelona; and would not stop being it in any case because the manifestation of democratic will of the citizens of the city is not predominantly pro-sovereignty. Assuming the plurality of Catalonia -something that nationalists of all sorts have a great deal of discomfort with- is the first step towards a solution to the crisis of coexistence among pro-independence Catalans, the other Catalans who are not and of all of them and the rest of the Spaniards. And let’s leave the conspiracy theories (that so-called “State maneuver” on the Barcelona City Council) that disrupt reality and link our politics with the discourses of the worst populism.