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.