Jaume Collboni, the candidate of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) for the Barcelona mayoralty in the upcoming municipal elections, has outlined his three conditions for reaching agreements after May 28th. These are a commitment to the economic growth of the Catalan capital, including the expansion of the El Prat airport; ensuring social policies without privatization or cuts; and demonstrating loyalty to the Spanish state and European institutions. He expressed these views during a breakfast meeting with ElNacional.cat and made it clear that post-election negotiations could see him engaging in talks with any party participating in the elections, except for far-right Vox, which he hopes will once again fail to enter the city council.
Collboni stated that while each party will have its own conditions during negotiations, the PSC is currently "the central party of Catalonia," as it has agreements with other parties across the country in various institutions. "Our capacity for building majorities to govern the city is very great, but it must be based on the foundation of an electoral programme." He also suggested that it would be reasonable for the most voted list to lead the city council after May 28th, even if a pro-independence party like Together for Catalonia (Junts) or the Republican Left (ERC) were to win. In 2019, the Republicans led by Ernest Maragall were victorious, but a pact between Barcelona en Comú (Comuns) and the Socialists, supported by the right of Manuel Valls, allowed Ada Colau to win a second term. However, Collboni asserted that the situation is radically different from 2019, when he did not support the most-voted list, the step that he now advocates.
During the breakfast meeting with ElNacional.cat, Collboni also criticized the fact that Xavier Trias has "hidden" the acronym of the party he represents, Junts. As the former mayor announced a few weeks ago, his candidacy will be called Trias for Barcelona, and the Junts brand will not appear on the electoral ballots. In response, Collboni threw out a question to his electoral rival on what the purpose behind this concealment is: "Who does he want to deceive, the moderates, the independence supporters?" asked PSC candidate in the ElNacional.cat colloquium, which was introduced and closed by José Antich, director and editor of the digital daily, and conducted by audiovisual director Jofre Llombart.
Collboni's goal: for Barcelona to recover its pride
Convinced that he will become the next mayor of Barcelona, Collboni has set as one of his main priorities to recover the pride of Barcelona that has been lost in recent years during Ada Colau's term. The Socialist reiterated that it is palpable in the ambience of the Catalan capital that its residents want a change in the mayoralty, and to move on from the Comuns era, with "dialogue-based leadership that works positively, and solves problems, rather than creating new ones," which he is confident he can represent. In this regard, he pointed out that he has the endorsement of previous Socialist mayors of Barcelona as a guarantee of good governance: "Although I think more about the future, when people nostalgically speak of the Barcelona that once was, it was a Socialist Barcelona."
Although the Socialist candidate has positioned himself as a guarantee of change, the fact is that he has been part of Ada Colau's government for the past eight years, until he quit in January to focus on this electoral battle. In this regard, he acknowledged that while he is critical of some aspects of her administration, he also wants to highlight some improvements the city has experienced, such as combating illegal tourist apartments, eradicating the chronic "top manta" (street vending) phenomenon, or other issues like "bicitaxis." "Not everything has gone wrong, nor is everything wonderful," the Socialist summed up.
A "street cleaning summit" to solve one of Barcelona's main problems
In addition to recovering Barcelona's pride, Collboni also proposed to return order to the city, in response to what he described as a "generalized feeling of disorganization," and transforming Barcelona into a city of opportunities, both in housing and in economic terms: "Barcelona must be a city that embraces economic opportunities." The Socialist politician lamented that city residents perceive the Catalan capital as dirtier, and for this reason, he made the commitment to calling a "street cleaning summit" as one of his first measures, as the city council has made significant economic efforts in this area that have not translated into reality. In this sense, he regretted that Ada Colau has tried to deny the cleanliness problem, when what a mayor should do is assume responsibility and "take the bull by the horns."
Below, the full event with Jaume Collboni, in its original Catalan: