The propagandistic campaign by the paper and TV media in favour of Manuel Valls becoming mayor of Barcelona is starting to become scandalous and not at all subtle. The city's unionist elite has already brazenly sided with the former French prime minister, and this summer they've met together (mainly in Cerdanya, but also on the Costa Brava) to discuss both the funding he'll need (his cost is certainly high) and the need to find him a glamorous position in a business school like ESADE or IESE for this year. Valls as the police-mayor who ends with the city's growing lack of safety, makes sense. Valls as the mayor who returns "Spanishness" to the Catalan capital. Valls as the mayor capable of bringing together the whole right and Sociedad Civil Catalana.
Although there are no reliable polls for the next municipal election in Barcelona and it's still a long time away, the decline of the Catalan capital, which didn't start this summer but has been simmering for Colau's whole mandate, has been Valls' rallying call for all those who saw the mayor as a lesser evil to block a pro-independence mayor. Today, on the other hand, two things are happening: they know they can get rid of Colau since her brand has lost strength, and Valls is enticing them. The fact that he also seems to have, romantically, strong ties with a Catalan businesswoman able to call on significant financial donations has invigorated the former French prime minister's leading role.
Esquerra Republicana's candidate, Alfred Bosch, is currently the third man in the fight for the mayoralty. The surveys have him in a good position, in some he even appears as the hypothetical winner. But it's clear that a Colau-Valls polarisation wouldn't help him, and that there's still a lot to discuss in pro-independence circles. Basically, because the political formation of presidents Puigdemont and Torra hasn't shown its whole hand, and also because the process of primaries promoted by the Catalan National Assembly is still an unknown factor. It remains to be seen if it ends up being a unifying force for the independence movement or, on the other hand, a factor which contributes to dividing the current scene even more, already too fractured as it is to guarantee victory before the vote.
Whilst the independence movement does its homework or not, Valls has the wind behind him and the necessary propulsion to play hard. And it never ceases to surprise me the great frivolousness with which many see his chances.