Anti-austerity mayors elected in both Madrid & Barcelona

By on June 14, 2015

Spain’s capital Madrid and second largest city Barcelona have both appointed anti-austerity mayors, in a major setback for the country’s ruling Popular Party.

In Madrid, the city assembly elected Manuela Carmena to be the next mayor. She is the head of a political group that is backed by Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos.

Carmena’s policies include measures for the poor, such as support for medical and utilities expenses. She has also pledged to end the evictions of families who do not pay rent.

Her appointment follows nationwide local elections last month. The center-right Popular Party led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy lost its majority in the capital’s assembly. Carmena’s group formed a coalition with the Socialist Party to win a majority.

The outcome means the Popular Party has given up the mayoral position in the capital for the first time in 24 years.

In Barcelona, Ada Colau, the 41-year-old leader of a citizens group, has become the city’s mayor.

Jobless rates in Spain have been hovering around 20 percent, amid tax hikes and other austerity measures.

Analysts say public dissatisfaction with the Popular Party’s austerity policies is behind the results in Spain’s 2 big cities.

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