In local and regional elections that shook up Spain’s political landscape, Ada Colau, a 41-year old anti-eviction activist, has been voted in as Barcelona’s first female mayor. After years of campaigning against austerity policies, Colau headed up Barcelona en Comú, a grassroots movement of several leftist political parties which promised to return decision-making in the city to the people, do away with home evictions, increase public housing and redistribute the city’s wealth. Colau described her victory as a “victory for David over Goliath.” And Madrid, the nation’s capital, will soon get its second female mayor, as a countess and a communist are battling for the city’s top office. Esperanza Aguirre, 63, a countess by marriage and candidate for the conservative Partido Popular (People’s Party), which has been in power for more than two decades, pulled off a narrow victory with 21 council seats. Manuela Carmena, 72, a former judge and communist who leads the leftist coalition Ahora Madrid (Now Madrid), however, could become mayor, if her party decides to form an alliance with the Socialists. “The vote for change has won a majority,” she said. The elections were seen as a barometer for the general elections, coming up at the end of the year, and are showing a shift away from Spain’s two traditional parties (Partido Popular and the Socialists), and a drastically altered political landscape where coalitions and compromises will be necessary to govern.
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