Ada Colau

Ada Colau

Manuela Carmena

Manuela Carmena

This past 24 of May, autonomous communities and municipalities all over the Spanish state held elections. The excitement and anticipation were more than I’ve ever seen, and it actually seemed that many people really felt the importance and impact of their vote–something rare these days. The reason for this is the disillusion generated by the two main parties, the Partido Popular (center-right neo-liberal party) and the PSOE (center left, literally Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) and the CiU (the now-separate Center-right coalition of the Democratic Convergence Party of Catalonia and Democratic Union of Catalonia) here in Catalonia–which stems from numerous corruption cases and a general perception disregard for their constituents.

The problem, until the 24 of May, was the lack of alternatives. In this last election, the anger which took root in the 15M movement as well as other social activism finally took shape in parties like Podemos, Barcelona en Comú (formerly Guanyem–we win), and Ahora Madrid.

Despite the media and their polls favoring the traditional parties, the new upstarts made an impressive showing, most notably in Spain’s two largest cities, Barcelona and the capital, Madrid.

In Madrid, the candidate from Ahora Madrid, Manuela Carmena, was able to take the mayorship from career politician and aristocrat Esperanza Aguirre, through a left-wing coalition.

Similarly in Barcelona, Ada Colau, best known for her activist work with the anti-eviction group PAH, was elected mayor, unseating incumbent and big-party favorite Xavier Trias of CiU.

Here you find two stenciled portraits which recently popped up in Gràcia.

Whether the change referred to in the title of this post will extend beyond the initial election results remains to be seen…

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