Artadi leaves politics: "I don't feel strong enough to continue"

Barcelona mayoral candidate announces in tears she is abandoning all her responsibilities due to personal issues

3 min

Barcelona"I am not in a condition to serve my country and my city with the same energy and intensity as I have done so far". With this sentence, Elsa Artadi has said goodbye to active politics, a personal decision after which she has withdrawn from the race to become Barcelona's mayor, but also her responsibilities in Parliament and in the party. "It is not a political decision," she said in an appearance at noon from the city hall, during which she broke into tears and her voice quivered. In front of Speaker Laura Borràs and all JxCat city councillors, Artadi assured "the country, the city and this party deserves people in the front line to be at full strength". "We all reach a time to say enough is enough and this is mine. I can't do it anymore. It is the right decision and the one I can take being honest," she concluded.

Artadi highlighted what she has experienced in her years in active politics, from the economic crisis when she was at the Economy Department under Andreu Mas-Colell, the 2014 Independence vote, the 2017 Independence Referendum to repression by incarceration and exile. "My loyalty to president Carles Puigdemont and to the illegally dismissed Catalan government [in allusion to the 2017 suspension of home rule] remains intact," she expressed, at all times disassociating her decision from the current political situation. "I have served with humility and honour three presidents of my country, whom I want to publicly thank for the trust they have given me," she finished.

This is the fourth time Artadi has resigned from a position of responsibility. Barely a year ago she decided, in the midst of negotiations to form the new Catalan government, that she would not be part of it: it had been assumed that she would assume the vice-presidency and head the Economy Department. Recently, she also announced that she was stepping down as party spokesperson in favour of Josep Rius. And before that, she had already left the Department of the Presidency under Quim Torra. The argument was always the same: to focus on her candidacy for the city of Barcelona, since in the 2019 elections – the first in which she ran as a candidate for mayor, in tandem with then political prisoner Quim Forn – she did not achieve desired results, ending up fifth with only five councillors.

Personal situation

With a view to the next elections in 2023, the polls did not set her up as a front runner, but in recent months she had made an effort to focus on the city. Several sources point out that a year before the elections, however, she has not felt strong enough to continue. "I have been dedicated to work without breaks, but now I do not have the energy to continue serving citizens as they deserve," she said on Friday.

Artadi's farewell leaves a vacuum at the head of Junts in Barcelona City Council only a year before the local elections –she was elected in the primaries barely three months ago–. Now the party, in full congressional debate, will have to choose another candidate to run in the 2023 elections. Councillors Neus Munté, Ferran Mascarell, Francina Vila and Jordi Martí were in the room, and one of them could become the new candidate –both Mascarell and Munté have aspired to become mayoral candidates on several occasions– or come from the outside, some well-known figure jumping in to compete with Ada Colau

Artadi's resignation comes at a key moment for JxCat, just before the congress where the new leadership was to be elected. This week Artadi did not want to sign the manifesto by a large part of party officials supporting the candidacy of Jordi Turull as secretary general and Laura Borràs as president. Recently she has supported Borràs, who has not ruled out running for secretary general herself.