France's ex-PM Manuel Valls will run for Barcelona mayor

France's former PM Manuel Valls will run for mayor of Barcelona, which would be an unprecedented bid for political power in another European country, news wires reported. The ex- Socialist premier unveiled his decision on Tuesday in the Spain's second biggest city where he was born 56 years ago.

Valls grew up in Paris with his Catalan father and Swiss-Italian mother. Since failing to become the Socialist candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, then failing to join forces with winner Emmanuel Macron, Valls has regularly campaigned in Spain against Catalan separatists.

Observers noted that beating Ada Colau, the current mayor of the 1.6-million city, will be a tough challenge for Valls in the local elections on 26 May 2019. He has the support of centre-right party Ciudadanos, which is spearheading opposition to the independence drive in Catalonia. Jordi Munoz, politics lecturer at the University of Barcelona, pointed out that Valls has so far not managed to persuade the two other anti-independence parties, the Socialists and conservative Popular Party, to back his candidacy. He has recruited a former communications director of FC Barcelona, the giant football club he supports, for his campaign.

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