For the sixth time, the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has been censured by the plenary of the city council. Never before had a mayor of Barcelona reached such a record on questions as varied as her "neighbourhood plan" (this Tuesday), public safety, drugs flats, economic management and the Catalan capital's budget. A true brand after four years of municipal government in which she hasn't been able to establish a stable agreement with any political party and has governed, except for a short period of time with PSC, in the most complete solitude with her 11 councellors of the 41 who make up the city council. There's been no area of the city which hasn't suffered an important decline over this time, which explains why she's facing the election at a disadvantage, something which hadn't occurred, beyond the final result at the ballot boxes, for any of her predecessors.
It's obvious that Barcelona needs a change to halt its decline, that's clear in areas as strategical as the economy, tourism and trade, where the little that's been done has been almost always bad. The latest comments from councillor Gala Pin championing the disappearance of cruise ship tourism, describing such visitors as a "plague of locusts who devour the public space and then go", are nothing other than an example of a shift that Barcelona should never have had to take. Tourism and housing are surely Colau's two great failures when they were her two main objectives.
The holding of a Spanish election at the midpoint of the two months and a week left until the municipal elections has postponed a debate which was necessary and which is now, in part, dependent on what ends up happening in the Congress and Senate. However, conclusions will have to be drawn about what mayor Colau's mandate has meant, her inexperience, her inability to reach agreements and her lack of a plan for the city. To the extent that when she's had to show off some important action it's had to be from her recent predecessors, either Jordi Hereu or Xavier Trias.
There will have to be a detailed debate in the campaign over what's been done these four years and not on promises for the four years to come. The parties who have been in opposition will be able to talk about that, but not those who have governed Barcelona, who will have to be judged on what they've done and not what they say they'll do. But that's something, above all, for the opposition parties. They need to explain ambitious, credible plans, to be transparent with their post-election alliances and to return to Barcelona the strength of a city able to play the role which corresponds to it and which is, in short, the opposite of what it's been these last four years.