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Spanish right-wing party Ciudadanos (Cs) have got themselves all tied in knots about the re-elected mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, and their own political representative in the Catalan capital, Manuel Valls, with contradictory statements being made. Just a few hours after the three votes from Valls's councillors had brought about the return of the left-wing Colau to the mayoralty for four more years, Cs party figures came out with a chorus of criticism against the mayor's return to the post, openly stating their opposition.

"We'll have four more years of the same. We already know what the mayor of Barcelona has signified these last four years. It has been a disaster of city management, and that is what we will have in Barcelona. Our councillors cannot vote for or support a mayor like Ada Colau," said Carlos Carrizosa, Cs leader in the Catalan parliament.

For his part, Cs deputy in the Spanish Congress, Juan Carlos Girauta, tweeted a message saying the complete opposite to the argument that Valls had used for offering three council votes to Colau, that, compared to the Catalan independence movement, she was the lesser evil. "There's nothing worse than Ada Colau," said Girauta.

The anti-Colau sentiment in Ciudadanos has extended beyond Catalonia too, with Valencian Corts party deputy, Toni Cantó, adding to the chorus with his statement that the re-election of the BComú mayor "is a drama." "When she's had to choose between constitutionalism and independence, she has always been on the side of the independence movement, as usual for Podemos", he added.

On Saturday, the awkwardness of the subject in Ciudadanos circles had already been revealed by Carina Mejías, who had been the party's leader in the Barcelona city council until Valls disembarked. Mejías used a tweet by Ada Colau, in support of the imprisoned Omnium president, Jordi Cuixart, to harshly criticize the mayor and label her a "camouflaged independence supporter". "Depressing political outlook for the city of Barcelona. The re-election of the person who has caused the greatest deterioration of the city, has turned it into a space of impunity and the scene for confrontation." Mejías commented that Colau's comments were an example of her "false equidistance".

With the level of confrontation even suggesting that the Cs municipal group might implode, Carrizosa tried to calm the waters in a statement today. He said that the party will continue to work with Manuel Valls despite the party's effectively split vote in the investiture of Ada Colau as mayor of Barcelona, in which the three independent members of the Valls group voted in favour of Colau while the remaining three councillors, Cs party members, returned blank votes. Carrizosa underlined what the party has in common with the Valls group: "We share values, we share their programme and we are willing to collaborate," he stressed.

In spite of this, he spoke exclusively about the three Ciudadanos members on the council, without referring to the three who gave their votes to Colau.