Convergència i Unió (CiU) are on course to win their first municipal elections in Barcelona following 32 years of councils governed by the Catalan Socialist Party, according to a survey carried out for La Vanguardia newspaper (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Carried out by Noxa Consulting last week between Monday and Wednesday, the research found that the CiU candidate, Xavier Trias, would triumph over the incumbent, Jordi Hereu, in the election taking place on Sunday, May 22nd. The official election campaign is due to start this Friday and if the survey was correct in its findings, CiU would win by a margin of 6.7 percentage points, giving them 14 or 15 seats in Barcelona city council (they currently have 12), while the Socialists would lose several of their current 14 seats to end up with between 11 and 12. However, this result means that CiU wouldn't have an absolute majority, for which 21 seats is necessary, and so would need to make agreements with one or more of the other parties with representation on the council, either formally or on a more ad hoc basis. A stable pact would only be possible with the Socialists or the Partido Popular, which is expected to increase its number of seats from the present tally of seven.
The Catalan police have carried out a large-scale offensive this morning against copper thieves in Barcelona, with at least 50 people arrested (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The Criminal Investigation division started its operation at 5.30, and was an act unprecedented in Catalunya against this kind of crime. The police focused on the Sant Martí district of the city, in the neighbourhood of Poblenou, which saw 180 officers take part as well a helicopter to watch over the area. The aim of the operation was to break up a criminal network that had been dedicated to the taking and re-sale of copper. Although so far 50 people have been arrested, it is possible that more will be seized as the operation is still underway; the majority of those captured are Romanian. Various houses and business premises in Sant Martí were targeted by the police, while half a dozen vehicles used by the accused allegedly to transport the stolen metal were requisitioned. A number of marijuana plants were also seized by the police and several streets were closed off during the operation.
More than 600,000 people visited the first weekend of the 40th edition of the Feria de Abril, taking place this year at the Parc del Fòrum (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The most popular day for visitors to try typical Andalucian food and take part in the cultural activities on offer was Saturday, according to a report from the organisers issued yesterday, and they said that it was actually one of the best-attended days of all the editions celebrated to date. Today, some of those with stalls at the feria have set up large-screen televisions to allow visitors to watch the Champions League match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid while they are at the event.