Will Valls run for mayor of Barcelona?
The former French prime minister Manuel Valls, who was born in Barcelona, wants to run for the office of mayor in the city's local government elections in May 2019. Valls would run as an independent candidate endorsed by Ciuadadanos. Commentators from Spain and France ask what's behind Valls' transnational political ambitions.
Candidacy deserves respect
Valls' move takes courage, Libération writes in praise:
“The mockers will say that his move to Spain shows he's a loser who never really felt at home in French politics. ... The same mockers will say that his Catalonian exile testifies to a lack of courage. But they're wrong. Manuel Valls' gamble takes guts. Such a transnational candidacy is virtually unheard of. In these times when Europe's communities are retreating into their separate identities the move commands respect, at the very least symbolically. And he's taking a big risk. He will champion Spanish unity in Barcelona, which has been torn apart by demands for independence.”
Speculation over Valls' intentions
El Periódico de Catalunya takes stock of the former French prime minister's chances:
“We've gradually got used to the idea of Ciudadanos having Manuel Valls as its candidate. We've gone from the initial surprise: What does Valls know about Barcelona? to considering his chances of becoming mayor. There are many doubts: Is he driven by interest in the city, or by the idea of attaining a power that has been denied to him in France? And what does Valls actually stand for in an increasingly globalised world? The triumph of policies far removed from the interests of the citizens, or the strengthening of European culture and identity from Barcelona? The left will criticise Valls' harsh stance on immigration. But it's not clear that this will rob him of votes.”