France's former prime minister Manuel Valls announced his candidacy for mayor of Barcelona on Tuesday, ending months of speculation over his intentions to enter the race, reports FRANCE 24.
Valls – who has dual French and Spanish citizenship – has made regular trips to the Catalonian capital throughout the summer.
On one of his most recent visits, he took part in an event to promote Anatomia del Proces, a book examining the challenges of Catalonian independence that he wrote the preface to. He has also joined the faculty at the city’s ESADE law school for the 2018-2019 academic calendar as a professor of “Migratory Processes and Urban Geography”.
Valls’ growing presence in Barcelona – and his increasingly outspoken views against Catalonian independence – set rumours swirling that he would run in the next mayoral election in May 2019. After months of teasing his interest, Valls officially announced his intention to run on Tuesday.
Reports that Valls – who served as interior minister and then prime minister under former French president François Hollande – was seeking to reinvent his political career in Barcelona first emerged in April in the Spanish media.
He has watched his political fortunes steadily wane in France ever since resigning as prime minister to run in the country’s 2017 presidential election. After a strong start, he was forced to end his campaign after losing the left-wing primaries to fellow Socialist Benoît Hamon.
Valls, however, refused to endorse Hamon for the presidency. He instead gave his support to independent candidate Emmanuel Macron, who thanked Valls but ruled out bringing him into his future government.