Xavier Trias is to be the next mayor of Barcelona, giving his Convergència i Unió (CiU) party its first city council since the transition to democracy at the end of the Seventies (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The victory sees the end of 32 years of dominance of the Barcelona council by the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC). The new distribution of seats sees CiU gain three to give it a total of 15, while the PSC in turn lost three to end up with 11. To shouts of "mayor, mayor, mayor" ("alcalde, alcalde, alcalde"), Trias last night declared himself to be very moved by the win: "It's something that we dreamed of, we knew that we wouldn't stop until we achieved it," he told supporters and party members in a speech at the Hotel Majestic. Trias also gave his thanks to his fellow candidates in the battle for the mayorship who had already called him to congratulate him on his success, the incumbent Jordi Hereu and Partido Popular representative Alberto Fernández Diaz, who saw his party increase its number of seats by one to a total of eight. Although he didn't get an absolute majority (21 seats), Trias has already confirmed that he will try to run the council without an official agreement with any of the other parties; he will now carry out a round of talks with each of them.
In the municipal and autonomous community elections that took place in the rest of the Spain, the Partido Popular had even more success than was expected, leaving the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) severely weakened by the polls (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The leaders of the PSOE knew that they faced a difficult task but hoped that voters wouldn't punish local candidates for discontent with the national party due to the financial crisis and the way that is has been handled by prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and his government; however, this hope was in vain and the party lost the votes of its core supporters either because they stayed at home or switched their allegiances to another party. Across Spain, the percentage of no votes was unprecedented, representing 2.54 percent of votes cast, while the PSOE received its worst-ever results, 10 points behind the PP who had an advantage over the Socialists of two million votes. This makes their success comparable with the absolute majority obtained by José Maria Aznar in the 2000 general elections. While the PP improved its standing in many places that it already held from the 2007 elections, it also captured important treasures from the PSOE, such as the autonomous government of Castilla La-Mancha, taken by the secretary-general of the PP, Dolores de Cospedal, and the government of Extremadura, although there is the possibility of the PSOE governing there with the Izquierda Unida party. Other significant losses, apart from the Barcelona council, include the council of Seville while in Aragón, the party will have to see if it can make the necessary agreements to keep power of the autonomous government.
With mobile phone costs becoming increasingly important thanks to the impact of the financial crisis, the large Spanish operators have been losing ground over the past three years to smaller, so-called 'low-cost' companies (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Telefónica-Movistar and Vodafone are the main companies negatively affected by this change in the market, while those benefitting include virtual mobile operators (OMV) and Yoigo. Since March 2008, Telefónica has lost over four percent of its market share, although it remains the dominant mobile company in Spain with 41.3 percent of users. In the same period, Vodafone has lost 2.4 percent of its customers. In turn, Yoigo's share has increased by 3.4 percent and OMV companies collectively by 3.8 percent. "Economical costs explain one part of this movement, but there are also other reasons that justify the moves by clients," explained Jesús Martín-Tello, from the communications department of the consulting company Everis. "Clarity regarding the different payment plans, the quality and speed of customer care and adaptation to their needs are other aspects that are required by clients," he added.