2 mayors signal new direction
Spain’s biggest cities — Madrid and Barcelona — completed one of the nation’s biggest political upheavals in years by swearing in far-left mayors. The new leaders have promised to cut their own salaries, halt homeowner evictions and eliminate perks enjoyed by the rich and famous.
The landmark changes came three weeks after Spain’s two largest traditional parties were punished in local elections by voters suffering under austerity measures and angered by corruption scandals.
In Madrid, retired judge Manuela Carmena was sworn in to cheers from supporters who crowded the streets to mark the end of city rule by the conservative Popular Party, which runs the national government.
Carmen a pledges include taking on wealthy Madrilenos who enjoy exclusive use of a city-owned country club, opening it up to the masses. “We’re creating a new kind of politics that doesn’t fit within the conventions,” she said. “Get ready.”
In Barcelona, anti-eviction activist Ada Colau was sworn in as the city’s first female mayor. Colau has questioned whether it’s worth spending $4.5 million of city money to help host the glitzy Formula 1 race every other year. She thinks the funds would be better spenton free meals for needy children at public schools.