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Ada Colau
Ada Colau Ballano picture
Colau in 2022
118th Mayor of Barcelona
In office
13 June 2015 – 17 June 2023
Deputy Jaume Collboni
Preceded by Xavier Trias
Succeeded by Jaume Collboni
Member of the Barcelona City Council
Assumed office
13 June 2015
Personal details
Ada Colau Ballano

(1974-03-03) 3 March 1974 (age 49)
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Political party Barcelona en Comú (since 2014)
Catalunya en Comú (since 2016)
Other political
Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (since 2009)
Domestic partner Adrián Alemany Salafranca
Children 2
Residence Barcelona
Occupation activist, writer, politician

Ada Colau Ballano (Catalan: [áðə kuláw] Spanish: [ˈaða koˈlaw]; born 3 March 1974) is a Spanish activist and politician who was Mayor of Barcelona between 2015 and 2023. On 13 June 2015 she was elected Mayor of Barcelona, the first woman to hold the office, 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

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.

Colau has openly referred to herself as bisexual. She and her partner Adrià Alemany Salafranca have two children.

Platform for People Affected by Mortgages

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. Colau supports the use of escraches, public protests outside the homes of government officials.

In March, Madrid Government delegate Cristina Cifuentes of the People's Party accused Colau of supporting the Basque radical nationalist party Bildu. Colau is coauthor of the book Mortgaged Lives, based on her experiences of grassroots campaigning and direct action with the PAH.

Barcelona en Comú and Mayor of Barcelona

On 7 May 2014, Ada Colau announced her resignation as spokesperson of the PAH. In June 2014 she founded Barcelona en Comú (formerly known as Guanyem Barcelona), 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. 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 latter. 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. However, her party lost the majority on the 28 May 2023 Barcelona municipal election.

Catalan independence and pro-Europeanism

Colau stated in 2016, "I’ve never been nationalist or pro-independence." 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. After the referendum of the 1-O, she embraced a central position rejecting both an UDI and the intervention in the Catalan self-government. She considers herself in the camp "committed to advancing towards a democratic, social and freedom-loving European project".


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

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ada Colau para niños

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