The future mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, will be sworn in to his new post today, although only with the votes of his own party, Convergència i Unió (CiU), while all the other parties will support their own mayoral candidates (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Trias will be voted in thanks to his votes and those of his 14 councillors, even though the court case between CiU and the Partido Popular (PP) over one of those councillors is still pending, as the PP, whose municipal group is headed by Alberto Fernández, claims that one of the CiU council seats should be given to them, having challenged the original result due to a query over the closeness of some votes between the two parties. A judge had originally awarded victory to the PP over the issue, but this was later reversed and is still being contested in both the Constitutional and Higher Catalan Courts. The current mayor, Jordi Hereu of the Catalan Socialist Party will now become the leader of the opposition, as the party has 11 council seats; the PP has eight (pending the result of the court cases); Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds, led by Ricard Gomà, has five; and the final two council seats will be filled by Esquerra Republicana's Jordi Portabella and Joan Laporta of Democràcia Catalana.
Following yesterday's eviction of the last people camping out in Plaça Catalunya, which signified the end of the 15-M protest camp in the square and saw a ratio of four police officers (both Mossos and Guardia Urbana) to every person being evicted, work will now be undertaken to clean and repair damage done to the plaça during the month and a half of the camp, which the Ajuntament reckons will cost close to €250,000 (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The outgoing councillor in charge of security, Assumpta Escarp, said that this amount includes: the cost of an extensive cleaning operation of the square (€30,000), redoing the flowerbeds (€107,138), repairs to lighting (€4,680) and the fountains (€3,000), as well as repairing the 'street furniture' (such as benches) and restoring the shiny patina that covers the mosaic in the square (€88,000). There will also be restoration work to be done on the statues, which are designated as historical and artistic heritage, at a cost estimated at €14,276. The president of the Generalitat, Artur Mas, yesterday suggested that those who had taken part in the protest camps, set up on May 15th, reflect on the costs of the damage, saying that, in his opinion, protesting doesn't signify a minority occupying a public space; he also said that "society had the right not to have to pay for these costs." Yesterday morning, the director general of the police for the Generalitat, Manel Prat, explained that when the eviction took place, there were 163 people camped out in the square, of 19 different nationalities. Prat highlighted the fact that this group had little to do with the 15-M protests and that amongst those who were moved on were many homeless people and persons suffering addictions.
The vice-president of the Generalitat, Joana Ortega, has said that there won't be a further reduction in the salaries of civil servants (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Ortega made the announcement yesterday in the Catalan parliament during the debate on this year's Generalitat budgets. "The present context obliges us to freeze salaries, but they won't be reduced," commented Ortega and criticised what she called "rumours without foundation" that had been spreading about the issue. In July last year, workers of the Generalitat saw their salaries cut by five percent, on average, with the Catalan government following the direction of the Spanish government in cutting civil servants' pay; the move affected workers in schools, the health sector and public companies. Between 220,000 and 240,000 people were affected and it was a decision regarded with indignation by trade unions. Some organisations brought court cases against the cuts, but it was held up by the Constitutional Court on June 14th this year. Ortega also said that the government would keep in place the existing bonus scheme ('complements'), such as that for productivity, with which the values of effort and dedication are rewarded, according to the vice-president. However, she said that it was necessary to undertake a "brave reflection" on the issue of tying civil servants' salaries to their productivity.