Ada Colau

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Ada Colau
Ada Colau Ballano picture
Colau in 2015
119th Mayor of Barcelona
Assumed office
13 June 2015
Preceded by Xavier Trias
Personal details
Born Ada Colau Ballano
(1974-03-03) 3 March 1974 (age 44)
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Nationality Spanish
Political party Barcelona en Comú
Spouse(s) Adrià Alemany Salafranca
Children Luca and Gael[1]
Parents Ramón Colau Rami
Agustina Ballano Bernal
Residence Barcelona
Occupation activist, writer

Ada Colau Ballano (Catalan: [ˈaðə kuˈɫaw]; Spanish: [ˈaða koˈlau]; 3 March 1974) is a Catalan left-wing representative and, since 13 June 2015, Mayor of Barcelona, the first woman to hold the office.[2] Colau was one of the founding members and spokespeople of the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH) (Platform for People Affected by Mortgages), which was set up in Barcelona in 2009 in response to the rise in evictions caused by unpaid mortgage loans and the collapse of the Spanish property market in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Ada Colau is a founding member of DiEM25[3]

Early life[edit]

Ada Colau was born in Barcelona, and grew up in the Guinardó neighbourhood. She went to school at the Santa Anna and Febrer Academies, and went on to study philosophy at the University of Barcelona but lacks the pertinent degree due to leaving her studies before completion, precisely by one subject, which she claims was due to economic instability in her family.[4]

Platform for People Affected by Mortgages[edit]

Colau in 2006

Ada Colau was one of the founding members of the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (PAH) in 2009, and acted as the organization's spokeswoman until 2014. Colau rose to national prominence after calling a representative of the Spanish Banking Association "a criminal" while representing the PAH at a parliamentary hearing on the housing crisis in February 2013.[5] Colau supports the use of escraches, public protests outside the homes of government officials.[6] That same month, a Popular Legislative Initiative proposed by the PAH and supported by over 1,400,000 signatories was debated on the floor of the Spanish Congress. This was followed by a speech to the European Parliament Committee on Petitions in Brussels. In March, Madrid Government delegate Cristina Cifuentes of the People's Party accused Colau of supporting the Basque radical nationalist party Bildu.[7] Colau is coauthor of the book Mortgaged Lives, based on her experiences of grassroots campaigning and direct action with the PAH.[8]

Barcelona en Comú[edit]

On 7 May 2014, Ada Colau announced her resignation as spokesperson of the PAH.[9] Since June 2014[10] she has been the main spokesperson for Barcelona en Comú (formerly known as Guanyem Barcelona),[11] a citizen platform standing in the May 2015 Barcelona municipal elections. She won a simple majority in the elections and on 13 June 2015 she became mayor with the favourable vote of an absolute majority of councillors.[12]

Catalan Independence and pro-Europeanism[edit]

Ada Colau stated in 2016: I’ve never been nationalist or pro-independence.[13] Ada Colau was originally against the referendum vote however a week before the actual vote she stated a referendum could take place after sustained pressure from pro-Independence 'forces.'[14] After the referendum, Colau was against Catalunya declaring independence and stated like Rajoy, that she wished for a return to 'normality' and quick elections. [15][16] Colau also believes Barcelona's future should be bound within the EU.[17]


  • 2013 - Award for Human Rights, Barcelona Human Rights Film Festival[18]
  • 2013 - Award for Defenders of Social Rights, Colau Ada and Rafael Mayoral,[19] representing the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH) (Platform for People Affected by Mortgages), for their continuing struggle for the legal right to a decent home, for their capacity to mobilize and citizen participation, and for their example of solidarity. Award from the media "Human Journalism".[20][21]
  • 2013 - European Citizens' Prize (with the PAH)[22]
  • 2013 - United Women Prize from the Artistas Intérpretes, Sociedad de Gestión (AISGE).[23]



  • 2012 - Ada Colau and Adria Alemany, Mortgaged Lives. Foreword by Gerardo Pisarello and José Coy, English Translation by Michelle Teran
  • 2013 - Ada Colau and Adria Alemany, Yes you can! Chronicle of a small great victory. Editorial Destino, Collection Imago Mundi, 19 April 2013, ISBN 978-84-233-4690-5, 96 pp.[24][25]



  1. ^ Nace Gael, segundo hijo de Ada Colau
  2. ^ Amy Goodman, "From Occupying Banks to City Hall: Meet Barcelona’s New Mayor Ada Colau", Democracy Now, June 5, 2015.
  3. ^ "On DiEM25's activities in Barcelona on the anniversary of Ada Colau's and Barcelona en Comú's victory". 
  4. ^ "Biography: Ada Colau". Ada Colau. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Daley, Susanne (20 December 2013). "Leading the Charge Against Spain's Mortgage Crisis". Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  6. ^ López Iturriaga, Mikel (2 August 2013). "In Spain you can be a mobster but still merit full institutional approval". El País. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "Cifuentes riza el rizo y vincula a la Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca con ETA". Público. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  8. ^ Colau, Ada. "Mortgaged Lives". Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Blanchar, Clara (7 May 2014), Ada Colau deja de ser portavoz de la PAH, El País, retrieved 26 June 2014 
  10. ^ França, João (26 June 2014). "Guanyem Barcelona buscará conquistar el Ayuntamiento desde los movimientos sociales". Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Let's Win Back Barcelona". Guanyem Barcelona. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  12. ^ Burridge, Tom (25 May 2015). "Spain enters a new political era". BBC News. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ (This prize will be awarded to a personality or a group whose life and work has been intricately linked with the defence of human rights). Toni Navarro, director of the Festival, gives the award of Human Rights to Ada Colau, 26 May 2013
  19. ^ Entrevista a Rafael Mayoral, El desahucio es un problema colectivo, El País, 6 July 2011
  20. ^ Defensores de Derechos Sociales, Ada Colau y Rafael Mayoral en representación de la PAH (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca), Periodismo Humano, 3 May 2013
  21. ^ Ada Colau y la PAH galardonadas por los Premios Defensores de Derechos otorgados por 'Periodismo Humano', Europa Press, 3 May 2013
  22. ^ "Spain's anti-evictions lobby wins EU prize A man belonging to the PAH anti-evictions lobby protests against home evictions regime in Barcelona. Photo: Josep Lago/AFP Spain's anti-evictions lobby wins EU prize". The Local Spain. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  23. ^ Pilar Bardem entrega a Ada Colau el premio de los actores ‘Mujeres en Unión’,, 5 June 2013
  24. ^ Ada Colau, cuatro años de pelea por el derecho a una vivienda digna, La Marea, 20 April 2013
  25. ^ Y Colau también estará en Sant Jordi, 19/4/2013, cat

External links[edit]