Ada Colau

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Ada Colau
Ada Colau Ballano picture
Colau in 2020
119th Mayor of Barcelona
Assumed office
13 June 2015
DeputyJaume Collboni
Preceded byXavier Trias
Personal details
Ada Colau Ballano

(1974-03-03) 3 March 1974 (age 47)
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Political partyBarcelona en Comú
Domestic partnerAdrià Alemany Salafranca
ChildrenLuca and Gael[1]
Parent(s)Ramón Colau Rami
Agustina Ballano Bernal
Occupationactivist, writer, politician

Ada Colau Ballano (Catalan: [ˈaðə kuˈlaw]; Spanish: [ˈaða koˈlaw]; born 3 March 1974) is a Spanish[2][3] activist and politician who is the current Mayor of Barcelona.[4] On 13 June 2015 she was elected Mayor of Barcelona, the first woman to hold the office,[5] as part of the citizen municipalist platform, Barcelona En Comú. 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.

Early and personal 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.[6]

Colau has openly referred to herself as bisexual.[7] She and her male partner Adrià Alemany Salafranca have two children.[8]

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.[9] Colau supports the use of escraches, public protests outside the homes of government officials.[10] 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.[11] Colau is coauthor of the book Mortgaged Lives, based on her experiences of grassroots campaigning and direct action with the PAH.[12]

Barcelona en Comú[edit]

On 7 May 2014, Ada Colau announced her resignation as spokesperson of the PAH.[13] In June 2014[14] she founded Barcelona en Comú (formerly known as Guanyem Barcelona),[15] a citizen platform that stood in the May 2015 Barcelona municipal elections. Barcelona en Comú won a plurality in the elections (11 of 41 city council seats) and on 13 June 2015 she was sworn in as mayor with the favourable vote of an absolute majority of councillors.[16] She headed again the Barcelona en Comú list vis-à-vis the 26 May 2019 Barcelona municipal election. The list came up second, close to the ERC list headed by Ernest Maragall, with the same number of municipal councillors (10) as the later. On 15 June 2019, during the inaugural session of the new municipal council, Colau commanded a qualified majority of the plenary for the investiture vote (21 out of 41 municipal councillors; presumably with the endorsement of the 10 municipal councillors of Barcelona en Comú, along the 8 municipal councillors of the PSC and 3 out 6 individual councillors of the Barcelona pel Canvi–Ciutadans list: Manuel Valls, Celestino Corbacho and Eva Parera), thus renewing her mandate as Mayor of Barcelona.

Catalan independence and pro-Europeanism[edit]

Colau stated in 2016, "I’ve never been nationalist or pro-independence."[17] 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."[18] After the referendum of the 1-0, she embraced a central position rejecting both an UDI and the intervention in the Catalan self-government.[19][20] She considers herself in the camp "committed to advancing towards a democratic, social and freedom-loving European project".[non-primary source needed][21]


  • 2013 - Award for Human Rights, Barcelona Human Rights Film Festival[22]
  • 2013 - Award for Defenders of Social Rights, Colau Ada and Rafael Mayoral,[23] 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".[24][25]
  • 2013 - European Citizens' Prize (with the PAH)[26]
  • 2013 - United Women Prize from the Artistas Intérpretes, Sociedad de Gestión (AISGE).[27]



  • 2012 - Ada Colau and Adria Alemany, Mortgaged Lives. Foreword by Gerardo Pisarello and José Coy, English Translation by Michelle Teran ISBN 978-09-791-3777-8
  • 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.[28][29]


  • 2011 - Ada Colau, How to stop an eviction, Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (PAH), July 2011.
  • 2014 - Ada Colau, Making the democratic revolution happen, Diario Público, 5 December 2014.


  1. ^ Nace Gael, segundo hijo de Ada Colau
  2. ^ "Disillusioned Spain puts faith in new era of political activism". The Financial Times. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2018. One breed of Spanish politician is gradually making way for another. It is not exactly a matter of generational change, for the newcomers include experienced figures such as Manuela Carmena, 71, a judge emerita of the supreme court who, as a young lawyer, used to defend people persecuted by the Franco dictatorship. (...) A second example is Ada Colau, who rose to prominence as a campaigner for homeowners threatened with eviction, and who upset the apple cart to win election in May as mayor of Barcelona. Her counterpart in Valencia is Mònica Oltra, leader of a leftist movement known as Coalició Compromís, which blends a firm stand against corruption with environmentalism and Valencian regionalism.
  3. ^ "Spain: Millions stage International Women's Day strike". Deutsche Welle. 8 March 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2018. High-profile Spanish politicians also showed their solidarity. Barcelona's city hall, led by Mayor Ada Colau, hung up a purple banner that read "Barcelona city hall supports the feminist strike."
  4. ^ Colau reelegida alcaldesa en una tensa investidura con los votos de PSC y Valls
  5. ^ Amy Goodman, "From Occupying Banks to City Hall: Meet Barcelona’s New Mayor Ada Colau", Democracy Now, June 5, 2015.
  6. ^ "Biography: Ada Colau". Ada Colau. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  7. ^ Accini, José (20 January 2019). "Colau se reivindica de nuevo como la primera alcaldesa bisexual". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  8. ^ Sierra, Lluís (4 July 2015). "Ada Colau y Adrià Alemany: El poder en familia". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  9. ^ Daley, Susanne (20 December 2013). "Leading the Charge Against Spain's Mortgage Crisis". Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Cifuentes riza el rizo y vincula a la Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca con ETA". Público. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  12. ^ Colau, Ada. "Mortgaged Lives". Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  13. ^ Blanchar, Clara (7 May 2014), Ada Colau deja de ser portavoz de la PAH, El País, retrieved 26 June 2014
  14. ^ França, João (26 June 2014). "Guanyem Barcelona buscará conquistar el Ayuntamiento desde los movimientos sociales". Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  15. ^ "Let's Win Back Barcelona". Guanyem Barcelona. Archived from the original on 17 October 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  16. ^ Burridge, Tom (25 May 2015). "Spain enters a new political era". BBC News. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  17. ^ "ADA COLAU". POLITICO. 2016-12-07. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  18. ^ Torres, Diego (2017-09-14). "Barcelona's mayor to allow voting in referendum". POLITICO. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  19. ^ "Barcelona mayor Ada Colau warns against Catalonia's secession from Spain | DW | 10.10.2017". DW.COM. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  20. ^ "Barcelona's mayor: "Votes for CatComú won't go towards 'yes' to independence"". In English. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  21. ^ Colau, Ada (2017-09-27). "Europe must act to protect the rights and freedoms of Catalans | Ada Colau". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  22. ^ (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
  23. ^ Entrevista a Rafael Mayoral, El desahucio es un problema colectivo, El País, 6 July 2011
  24. ^ Defensores de Derechos Sociales, Ada Colau y Rafael Mayoral en representación de la PAH (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca), Periodismo Humano Archived 2015-12-22 at the Wayback Machine, 3 May 2013
  25. ^ Ada Colau y la PAH galardonadas por los Premios Defensores de Derechos otorgados por 'Periodismo Humano', Europa Press, 3 May 2013
  26. ^ "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.
  27. ^ Pilar Bardem entrega a Ada Colau el premio de los actores ‘Mujeres en Unión’,, 5 June 2013
  28. ^ Ada Colau, cuatro años de pelea por el derecho a una vivienda digna, La Marea, 20 April 2013
  29. ^ Y Colau también estará en Sant Jordi, 19/4/2013, cat

External links[edit]