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Social activist promises to fight evictions, poverty, corruption as new mayor of Barcelona

  • The leader of leftist coalition Barcelona Together, Ada Colau, gestures after her party's success in the elections in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, May 24, 2015. New parties won strong support in Spain's local elections Sunday as voters turned their back on the country's traditional political heavyweights, an exit poll indicated. There was also an upset in Barcelona, where a popular anti-eviction campaigner backed by We Can was poised to unseat the region's long dominant and conservative Convergence and Union party. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    The leader of leftist coalition Barcelona Together, Ada Colau, gestures after her party's success in the elections in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, May 24, 2015. New parties won strong support in Spain's local elections Sunday as voters turned their back on the country's traditional political heavyweights, an exit poll indicated. There was also an upset in Barcelona, where a popular anti-eviction campaigner backed by We Can was poised to unseat the region's long dominant and conservative Convergence and Union party. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Seguidores de la coalición izquierdista Barrcelona en Comú, liderada por Ada Colau, celebran la victoria de su partido tras los comicios locales en Barcelona, España, el domingo 24 de mayo de 2015. Los nuevos partidos ganaron apoyos en las elecciones locales y regionales españolas del domingo, cuando los votantes dieron la espalda a los partidos tradicionales, según sondeos de salida.  En Barcelona, la activista antidesahucios respaldada por Podemos se posicionó para acabar con el tradicional dominio en la ciudad de Convergencia i Unio. (AP Foto/Emilio Morenatti)

    Seguidores de la coalición izquierdista Barrcelona en Comú, liderada por Ada Colau, celebran la victoria de su partido tras los comicios locales en Barcelona, España, el domingo 24 de mayo de 2015. Los nuevos partidos ganaron apoyos en las elecciones locales y regionales españolas del domingo, cuando los votantes dieron la espalda a los partidos tradicionales, según sondeos de salida. En Barcelona, la activista antidesahucios respaldada por Podemos se posicionó para acabar con el tradicional dominio en la ciudad de Convergencia i Unio. (AP Foto/Emilio Morenatti)  (The Associated Press)

Leading Spanish social activist Ada Colau says the fight against evictions, poverty and corruption will be her priority as new mayor of the country's second city, Barcelona.

Colau, 41, said Monday she intends to halt evictions of people who can't afford to pay their mortgages or rent and demand that banks free up the thousands of empty houses they possess.

Backed by the new far-left We Can party that has shaken up Spanish politics, Colau beat the candidate of the Catalonia region's long-dominant conservative Convergence and Union party in Sunday's local elections in Spain.

Formerly the head of Spain's active anti-eviction movement, Colau said her victory demonstrated the desire for change in Spain after years of economic crisis and political corruption scandals. The governing Popular Party's support dropped significantly.