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The battle for the Barcelona mayoralty looks like being fiercely fought and, with just over three weeks until election day, the Republican Left (ERC) candidate, Ernest Maragall, has a slight lead and should have things in his favour to head the Catalan capital's next municipal government. However, there are too many questions still open, starting with the 28.4% who remain undecided - or 'badly' decided - as detected in the survey produced by the company Feedback for El Nacional. Thus, a photo finish is likely in an election race which remains in the balance to the extent that leader Maragall is less than three points ahead of current mayor Ada Colau, of Barcelona en Comú (Commons), and Jaume Collboni, the Catalan Socialist (PSC) party leader for Barcelona. This electoral poll, the first of three that this newspaper will offer before the 26th May, was conducted the day after Sunday's Spanish elections, and there is a great presence of the impact of those elections - that is to say, when all is said and done, a surge for the Spanish parties of the left can be seen.

Maragall approaches what will likely be his last electoral date with an advantage, but without yet having clearly shut out the Commons, so that voters are switching in both directions and, depending on the precise moment, move more one way or the other. If Collboni stabilizes the eight city councillors that the survey awards him, in comparison with Colau's nine and Maragall's ten, it could be that the ERC and PSC candidates ended up strangling the vote for the Commons, which would not be strange given the deficient management of the municipal team during these last four years. As the campaign progresses, the inability of the Commons to reach stable agreements with the rest of the political forces, and the criticisms of this city council's policies in different sectors - housing, law and order, commerce, tourism, the hotel sector and the deterioration in the city's financial position - will be difficult to refute.

Behind the trio currently in the lead, Manuel Valls of Ciudadanos and Elsa Artadi of JxCat are in difficult situations: the first has lost gas and his expectations are far from what they were when he stepped forward and proposed himself as mayor, and the latter has practically not even started as a candidate - a role she shares with Quim Forn, number one on the list and political prisoner in Madrid's Soto del Real prison - because the Spanish elections have blurred the picture and removed her from the central focus of the campaign. In the remaining time, 23 days, she will have to do the work that others have had more time preparing. The fact that in this poll, neither the CUP nor Jordi Graupera's party have been predicted to enter the city council does not rule them out from the start, but rather is partly because they also have been penalised from being out of the spotlight during the Spanish elections.

This currently-predicted result would leave a complex map of alliances and the favourite option of Barcelona voters overall would be a left-wing pact (preferred by 33%). On the other hand, for ERC supporters, an alliance between pro-independence parties and the Commons is the most desired choice (44.5%), with a simple pact between exclusively pro-independence parties in second position with 34.5%, well ahead of the 21% of Maragall supporters who want a municipal accord between the forces of the left. But this is all still far away, when so many votes are yet to be settled.

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