Former French PM to stand as Barcelona mayor

Valls on Tuesday.
Valls on Tuesday. / EFE
  • Manuel Valls, who is Catalan, will lead an independent pro-Spain candidacy next May under the slogan, "Barcelona, European Capital"

Manuel Valls, former Prime Minister of France, is to stand as an independent anti-Catalan-nationalism candidate in Barcelona's mayoral elections next May.

As had long been rumoured, Valls, a Catalan, has finally decided to stand to run the city where he was born (before emigrating to France). He has been seeking a new role ever since president Emmanuel Macron refused him a post in the French government last year.

Valls will stand as an independent and pro-Spain, and hopes to draw together support from non-separatist voters. The top politician, who served as French PM under François Hollande, will use the slogan, "Barcelona, European Capital".

Valls will stand against left-leaning existing mayor Ada Colau. Speaking of his incumbent rival, Valls said that he felt she was doing a good job given she was unprepared for the role.

He said that he wanted to be the "mayor of everyone" and "candidate of moderation".

Valls already has the support of Ciudadanos, the largest party in Catalonia and who will not campaign against him, and he is hoping to secure a "non-aggression pact" with the conservative PP party. But it is from the Socialist PSOE party that many votes are also expected to come.

Advisers are betting that the independence-leaning parties will be divided enough to allow him to win.