1.- We all know that Barcelona is a great City, but very few of us can pinpoint its population or its limits. We can speak of Barcelona as a municipality or as a metropolis. They are both true. The two are different.
2.- As a municipality, Barcelona has little more than 100 km2 and a little more than 1,600,000 inhabitants and is governed by a municipal corporation that is chosen by the closed-list election system and according to the Honduran rule.
3.- The municipal government’s election system does not seem to arouse much interest among Barcelona residents since only 66% voted in the last elections (2019). This allows the current mayor to govern with only 20.7% of the votes and the support of the PSC, which added 18.4%
4.- Thus conceived, Barcelona would be one of the 500 cities with more than 1 million inhabitants, but it would lack the entity to compete with the network of macrocities that make up the global world. Is that the real Barcelona?
5.- The truth is that in addition to the Barcelona municipality, there is another Barcelona, the Metropolitan Barcelona with an extension of 600 km2 and a population of 3.2 million inhabitants. When we talk about Barcelona, we almost always refer to that Barcelona, which of course does not deny the first, but rather magnifies it.
6.- This Metropolitan Barcelona is made up of 36 municipalities and has its own administration which was initially called the Barcelona Metropolitan Corporation until its dissolution in 1987 and which, after its restoration in 2010, has been renamed the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.
7.- Very few inhabitants of that Metropolitan Barcelona are capable of drawing its territorial limit or indicating what the powers of the metropolitan administration are. In 1986, shortly before its dissolution, only 6% of the population knew about the CMB.
8.- The situation has not changed after the reestablishment of the AMB according to a study by the UB carried out between 2013 and 2016. The AMB continues to be the “unknown administration”.
9.- However, the same study shows that, when the functions to be carried out by the AMB and the services it provides in the area of water, waste or transport are explained, the evaluation that the citizen gives it is very high, reaching a 7, 4 out of 10.
10.- Curiously, the least known administration turns out to be, when explaining what it does, the best valued. Is there a reason for this paradox?
11.- Without a doubt the answer is yes. There is a double reason. The system of election of its governing bodies explains its ignorance. Its high technical level explains its high valuation.
12.- The maximum governing body of the AMB is the Metropolitan Council currently made up of a total of 80 members, of whom 36 are the mayors of the municipalities that constitute its territory, and the rest are indirectly elected by the municipal corporations. The Metropolitan Council elected by this indirect route designates its President who, until now, has always been the Mayor of Barcelona.
13.- The indirect election makes it impossible for the inhabitants of Metropolis Barcelona to know their metropolitan councilors and that few know who presides over the AMB. Other systems are, however, possible and are used in European metropolitan cities. They could also take effect between us.
14.- Reconfiguring our metropolitan administration could be done by recovering the Consell de Cent as a management body at the metropolitan level. In this way, an organ that was rector of Barcelona at the time when it opened up to the Mediterranean and began a period of economic and social growth would once again have a presence.
15.- Maintaining the mayors of the 36 municipalities that make up the territory of the AMB as ex officio members of the Consell de Cent, another 64 councilors would still have to be elected.
They could be chosen by a direct election system. One for every 50 thousand inhabitants and, to achieve greater proximity between electors and elected, the election could be made by districts choosing your representative directly.
16.- Naturally, for this, the area of each electoral district should be determined without having to follow the boundaries of the municipal terms, taking as a basis the “metropolitan neighborhoods” wherever possible and grouping municipalities where this is essential to reach 50,000 voters. .
17.- Choosing your representative directly allows you to contact a specific person when you need them and not an anonymous administration or a political party that is, in fact, the one who designates metropolitan councilors with the current system.
18.- This direct election system of the Metropolitan Council, with the electoral system that BDF proposes or with a different one, is notably extended throughout Europe using multiple denominations as appropriate to the political culture of each country.
19.- The directly elected Metropolitan Councils are located in the three city-states, “landers” in German terminology, which are Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen, but also in Vienna, since Austria is also a federal republic.
The cities of Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Sevastopol are also federal entities.
20.- However, these directly elected Councils are not present only in countries with a federal structure. The Metropolitan Regions are also regulated in France (Lyon and Aix-Marseille), in Italy (Palermo, among others) and in Portugal (Lisbon and Porto).
London and Liverpool are also metropolitan entities according to the special English regulation and Brussels between Flanders and Wallonia.