Why Barcelona's Ada Colau Is The World's Most Badass Mayor
Is your city run by a feminist and former activist who used to get arrested by riot police?
On 24 May 2015, Ada Colau was elected mayor of Barcelona, becoming the Spanish city's first female mayor.
Her rise is part of a broader phenomenon Spanish people are calling la nueva politica - the new politics.
During the mayoral campaign, Colau had promised to tackle the city's housing crisis, and hold the banking industry accountable for its part in causing it.
Voters could see these campaign promises were sincere - because, prior to running for office, Colau had been a prominent anti-eviction activist.
Her involvement in protests led to her being arrested a number of times.
In 2013 she caused a sensation when she said of a high-ranking banker during a televised hearing on the housing crisis: “This man is a criminal, and should be treated as such."
The chair of the committee asked her to retract her “very serious offences”. She refused.
After taking office in 2015, she set about translating her radical instincts into action.
Not everyone has been supportive. Spanish politics can be deeply sexist - earlier this year a rival politician said Colau "ought to be mopping floors" instead of running the city.
And when a local councillor proposed a national día del machote - or "day of real masculinity" - she shot back with a masterful subtweet.
Moreover, she doesn't take herself too seriously. She recorded a rumba song, El Run Run, as part of her election campaign.
A former drama student, she once starred in a sitcom.
She even dressed up as a superhero to protest housing policy in 2007.
Plus she's a passionate and emotive public speaker, with a knack for saying things that connect with voters on a gut level. Like this:
So, kudos, Ada Colau. The world's politicians can learn a lot from you.
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