Apart from the battle for Barcelona, the jewel in the Crown of 28-M, the fight will be fierce in the metropolitan area, the most populated area in Catalonia with 1.7 million inhabitants without counting the capital. Sant Cugat, Badalona or Castelldefels are just some of the fiefdoms at stake, important places of power with million-dollar budgets and a decisive role in terms of infrastructure.
Traditionally socialist red, the Barcelona belt has undergone important changes in recent years, especially in the elections to Congress or the Parliament: with the arrival of the new politics and the “procés”, it turned purple in the general elections of 2015 with partial victories of the Comunes in Badalona, L’Hospitalet or Barcelona itself; and in the 2017 regional elections it was stained orange with Cs.
At the municipal level, the PSC suffered its own via crucis in 2015, when it came in second position in the province of Barcelona behind a Convergència in clear pro-independence expansion. However, the Socialists held their breath and managed to retain strongholds such as L’Hospitalet (Núria Marín), Cornellà (Antonio Balmón) and Santa Coloma (Núria Parlón) despite giving up, yes, part of their advantage also against Cs.
Four years later, in 2019, the socialists recovered the lost ground with an absolute majority in these three large cities. Also with governments in Sant Boi, Badia del Vallès, Sant Adrià and Castelldefels, among other towns, as well as Badalona with Rubén Guijarro later. And now, what color will Barcelona’s belt be after 28-M? The PSC dominates the metropolitan area with half of the big city halls (18 of 35); Esquerra clings to Sant Cugat against Junts and will try to wrest some loot from the Socialists; while a growing PP caresses the absolute majority in Castelldefels and Badalona.
The Socialists have spent the entire campaign swinging between Barcelona and the rest of the metropolitan area. Salvador Illa has traveled several municipalities with his own route. The PSC is strong on the outskirts of the capital and in towns like Cornellà, with Antonio Balmón as the longest-serving mayor of a large city, in office since 2004. Although on the balcony of the metropolitan area, another target is Sabadell, the fifth municipality in population that the socialists recovered in 2019 at the hands of Marta Farrés and in which they are now looking to improve their representation. And also Terrassa (third with the most inhabitants), in the hands of the former socialist Jordi Ballart with his own platform.
Albiol with his campaign to attract voters from other PP parties
However, the PSC will have to look towards the ERC and also towards the PP in Badalona and Castelldefels. The popular ones, in clear expansion, are a short distance from the absolute majority in the cities of Xavier García Albiol and Manu Reyes. In fact, Alberto Núñez Feijóo has been with both to push and achieve a broad result that allows them to govern avoiding a pact between the other forces. In the case of Badalona, Albiol has starred in a transversal campaign with the aim of capturing votes from other parties.
For its part, ERC has marked the metropolitan belt on the map as its top priority. Oriol Junqueras has multiplied over the last year with acts from municipality to municipality. The president of ERC understands that to be a “country party” and occupy the space that Convergència previously had, they must be strong in the belt, a task that he began to cement in 2019 with the command rod in five locations, the most important being Sant Cugat del Vallès together with the PSC and the CUP (in addition to Papiol, Corbera, Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Santa Coloma de Cervelló). However, despite bets like Rufián’s in Santa Coloma, a change of trend in the belt with respect to the PSC seems almost impossible.
Y Junts is stirring up and trying not to remain in an even more residual position in the metropolitan environment, with governments in four smaller localities (Begues, Montgat, Sant Climent and Torrelles). Their efforts are precisely aimed at recovering the mayor’s office of Sant Cugat del Vallès.
Big cities are socialist
PSC is the great dominator with governments in L’Hospitalet, Badalona, Badia del Vallès, Barberà, Castelldefels, Cerdanyola, Cervelló, Cornellà, Esplugues, Gavà, Molins de Rei, Sant Adrià de Besòs, Sant Andreu de la Barca, Sant Boi, Sant Joan Despí, Sant Just Desvern, Sant Vicenç dels Horts, Santa Coloma and Viladecans.