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Barcelona will have a municipal budget for 2024, but it will not be official until May 2nd. This is the price that the mayor, Jaume Collboni, has had to pay, given his inability to obtain a majority to pass the city's proposed accounts for the year. After losing the ordinary vote on his spending and income plan last Friday, Collboni called a special plenary meeting for this Wednesday to submit to a question of confidence linked to the budget, a mechanism that foresees that, even if the city government loses the vote, the budget is automatically approved after a month unless the opposition presents and wins a further motion, this time of no-confidence, led by an alternative candidate. That is very unlikely to happen due to the fragmentation of the 41-seat council. In today's confidence vote, then, Collboni only obtained the support of his own Catalan Socialists (PSC) and the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) - 15 votes in total - with all the other groups voting 'no'. Weakened, but far from being destroyed, Collboni has confidence in the automatic approval process for the budget on May 2nd and, furthermore, has announced that "the next step will be the expansion of the municipal government".

In fact, Collboni did not specify the scope or the timing of this latter plan, according to which he expects to bring other groups into the municipal government, but he did refer to the fact that "we said that we would first talk about policies, and then we would talk about government, and we have reached an agreement with ERC because we talked about policies". For this very reason, he argued that once the budget is in effect, it will be time to expand the municipal government. Despite not explicitly stating which parties are part of the expansion, the fact is that at the moment the PSC is only in tune with ERC, despite insisting on the fact that the doors are open to other parties. Collboni himself has insisted that he is "a progressive mayor, with a progressive government and which carries out progressive policies".

A meeting without surprises

In any case, beyond this announcement of a possible government agreement, the special meeting this Wednesday did not deviate from the expected script. Laia Bonet, rather than Jordi Valls, was in charge of defending the budget, recalling that the confidence mechanism put to use by the Socialists was also employed by mayors Trias and Colau during their mandates and asserting that the PSC "keeps the door open" to agreement with other parties. For his part, the head of the opposition, Xavier Trias, insisted that the difference between now and when he or Colau presented questions of confidence lies in the fact that "we had won the elections and represented the list most voted". "We are here due to the failure of the municipal government and a mayor who feels like he is only working to secure his seat," Trias replied.

For her part, Ada Colau recalled that "this government had two possible majorities", because "they had a hand extended to them by Trias and by us, and it is striking that they have abandoned both and are now in clear minority” - the vote ended up with 15 votes in favour of Collboni and 24 against - with two councillors absent who would also have been part of the no vote. In turn, Jordi Castellana has defended ERC's vote in support of the budget while guaranteeing that the Republicans had "reached an agreement that allows us to substantially improve the initial proposal of the PSC". Dani Sirera for the PP and Gonzalo de Oro Pulido for Vox also defended their positions against mayor Collboni.