Citizens (Spanish political party)

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Citizens
Ciudadanos / Ciutadans
President Albert Rivera
Secretary-General Matías Alonso Ruiz
Founded 7 June 2005 (CC)
4 March 2006 (C's)
Headquarters Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 751 A, 1º 2ª
08013 Barcelona
Youth wing Agrupación de Jóvenes de Ciudadanos – J's
Membership  (2015) Increase 20,386[1]
Ideology Social democracy[2]
Social liberalism[3]
Secularism[4]
Autonomism[5][6]
European federalism[7]
Postnationalism[8][9][10][11][12][13][14]
Political position Centre-right[15][16][17][18][19]
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
European Parliament group Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Colours Orange and White
Regional Parliaments
18 / 1,268
Local Government
7 / 9,137
European Parliament
2 / 54
Website
www.ciudadanos-cs.org
Politics of Spain
Political parties
Elections
Politics of Catalonia
Political parties
Elections

Citizens (Spanish: Ciudadanos, official name used nationwide; Catalan: Ciutadans, used co-officially with former in Catalonia; short acronym C's) is a political party in Spain which described itself as centre-left and non-nationalist shortly after its inception. The party presents itself as being a party that offers a mix of liberalism and social democracy on its platform. It is mainly active in Catalonia, where it has nine deputies in the Parliament of Catalonia. It aims to the defend the use of Spanish[20] and opposes Catalan nationalism. The leader of the party uses the phrase: "Catalonia is my homeland, Spain is my country and the European Union is our future" to outline the party's ideology.

History[edit]

Ciutadans was formed in Catalonia in July 2006 in response to the call made in a manifesto by a group of well-known figures in Catalonian civic society (among them Albert Boadella, Félix de Azúa and Arcadi Espada), in which they called for a new political force to "address the real problems faced by the general public". In this manifesto, they also warned that "the rhetoric of hatred promulgated by official Catalan government media against everything 'Spanish' is more alarming than ever" and that "the (Catalan) nation, promoted as an homogenous entity, has taken over the space where an undeniably diverse society lived".[21]

This group of personalities, almost entirely based in Barcelona, formed a political platform called Ciutadans de Catalunya, or Citizens of Catalonia, in July 2005. They organised several round tables and conferences and by 2006 they had announced the formation of a new political party, called simply Ciutadans, or Citizens. In their first conference of 2006, a young lawyer from Barcelona, Albert Rivera, was elected president.

In the 2006 Elections for the Parliament of Catalonia, C’s won 3% of the votes and returned 3 MPs. Four years later, in 2010, a similar result was achieved (3.4%, 3 MPs). Mainly as a counter to the growing public support for independence in Catalonia, C’s – as one of the most outspoken opponents of this movement - has since further grown substantially in support. In the 2012 snap elections the number of votes more than doubled (7.6%, 9 MPs). All but one of these seats were in the Province of Barcelona. As of March 2015 almost all surveys predict a further growth in the upcoming 2015 Catalan Elections and opinion polls see even them as the third largest party.

In 2013, the party started organising in the rest of Spain with a manifesto called "La conjura de Goya" (The Confederacy of Goya) that took place in the Congress Palace of Madrid.

In the 2014 European Elections the party received 3.16% of the national vote, and elected 2 MEPs.[22] Both MEPs joined the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group.

Policies[edit]

The C's have outlined some policies for the Spanish general election, 2015. So far, these include the following.

  • Lowering corporation tax to 25%, inline with many other European countries.[23]
  • Lower and harmonise VAT to a rate between 16% and 19%.
  • Capping the top-rate of income tax at 40%.
  • Increase R&D spending to 3% of GDP.
  • Abolish or merge municipalities with a population less than 5,000.
  • Reducing bureaucracy and red tape.
  • More transparent party funding.
  • Crackdown on corruption.
  • Reform or abolish the Spanish Senate.[24]

Political Background[edit]

Albert Rivera, president of the party.

C's is mostly considered a liberal party both in economic policies[clarification needed] and social issues[citation needed], however its political discourse is mainly centered around opposition to Catalan nationalism,[25] to the extent that it has been frequently criticised for being a single issue party, a label rejected by its members. In the period 2006-2012, the number of C's voters who had voted for centre-right parties in previous elections was similar to the number who had previously voted for centre-left parties, suggesting that the party's positions on general economic and social issues are not its main draw.[26] C's criticise any sort of nationalism, "including the Spanish nationalism that Mr. Ynestrillas defends".[27]

One of the main issues raised by the party is the Catalan language policy, which actively promotes the use of Catalan language as the sole working language of Catalonian public administration.[28][29] The party challenges this policy and defends equal treatment of the Spanish and Catalan languages.[29] It also opposes the current language policy within the Catalonian educational system, in accordance with which all public schooling is delivered in Catalan. The party also supports strengthening the powers of the Spanish central institutions and curtailing the powers of regional administrations.[30]

Other topics include a thorough reform of the Spanish electoral system with the aim of creating greater proportionality that would give less weight to single constituencies. They also support some changes in the Spanish constitution, especially regarding regional organisation. Regarding the chartered autonomous communities' tax regimes, the party respects and does not want to remove the Basque Country's and Navarre's chartered regimes because it believes that "they aren't discriminatory in and of themselves"; however, it criticises what it calls the miscalculation of the quota or contribution which is negotiated between governments and has been causing significant differences that have become outrageous".[31] It proposes a review and a recalculation of the Basque Quota and the Navarrese Contribution in order to stop the Basque Country and Navarre being "net beneficiaries".[32]

Among other policies, they also support a regulation of prostitution, marijuana and euthanasia.

Support, Membership and Organisation[edit]

C's is currently only a political force at regional level. In the 2008 National Elections, it gained 0.18% of the Spanish vote: in Catalonia, its support was somewhat higher – 0.74% of votes – but significantly smaller than the percentage obtained in the 2006 and 2010 Catalan Regional Elections; (3.04%) and (3.4%) respectively.

C's draws most of its support from the Barcelona metropolitan area. In the 2010 regional elections, the party gained more than 4% in the counties (comarques) of Barcelonès, Baix Llobregat, Vallès Occidental and Tarragonès. Everywhere else, it remained under 4%, with the worst results in the provinces of Girona (1.69%) and Lleida (1.79%). Only in the Province of Barcelona did C's receive more than 3% of the vote, which is the threshold for parliamentary representation.

Controversies[edit]

C's has been identified as having a populist platform, e.g. by Catalan nationalists such as the expert on far-right movements, Xavier Casals.[33][34] In spite of its efforts to identify its core ideology as progressive, its campaign videos feature notorious right-leaning socialites, journalists and television personalities.[35] One of these is known for having voiced extremely xenophobic views[36] as well as displayed sexist and violent behaviour[37][38][39][40] on television. More recently, another member was expelled after allegedly making xenophobic and anti-Catalan comments on Twitter.[41]

On January 2014, Catalan Supreme Court of Justice (TSJC) probed C's Parliament member Jordi Cañas on account of fraud amounting to €429,203.[42] Cañas abandoned his party spokesman position [43] and announced he would resign his seat in the Parliament if he were formally indicted.[44]

During the 2006 election campaign, the party's president Albert Rivera appeared completely naked in a poster in order to attract publicity to the party.[45][46]

In 2006, the newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya revealed that Rivera was a member of the conservative People's Party (PP) between 2002 and 2006, and that he had quit PP just three months before running for election for the Citizen's Party; this was corroborated by El Mundo and El País[47][48] Despite these revelations, however, Rivera still denied having been a full member of the party [49] Past PP membership is by no means a minor affair in C's; former PSC activist Juan Carlos Girauta, who left the Socialists for a stint in PP[50] and a prolonged commitment (1000+ articles[51]) to conservative journalism from his Libertad Digital column up until his very public falling out with César Vidal, became a Citizens member and a candidate in the 2014 European Election.[52]

The party's association with Declan Ganley's Libertas platform raised some concern on account of the coalition formed by the latter with nationalist and ultra-nationalist parties in each of its local European chapters, seemingly at odds with the professed ideology of C's.[53][54][55]

Relations with the Media[edit]

The party frequently complains about an alleged boycott on the part of Catalan media, especially public television: in their opinion, the party is given too little airtime to present its views on public television.[56] They have also criticised the Catalan press for similar reasons, especially the Spanish-language Catalan newspapers La Vanguardia and El Periódico de Catalunya. On the other hand, its opponents and critics[who?] frequently point out the disproportionately high coverage of Ciutadans by the Spanish national media, especially the Madrid-based Libertad Digital, El Mundo, Telemadrid, and ABC.[citation needed]

European Election Internal Disputes[edit]

In 2009 it was announced that C's would run for the European Election allied with the Libertas coalition.

According to some members of C's, the negotiations prior to this electoral pact were led personally and secretly by the party leader, Albert Rivera. This alienated the other two MPs (besides Rivera himself) and a significant part of the party from his leadership.[57] In turn, the official stance of C's is that the critics are acting more as a fifth column of the ideologically similar Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD),[58] all resulting in a major crisis within the party.

Several intellectuals that had participated in the formation of Ciutadans later withdrew their support. Albert Boadella, for example, became one of the co-founders of the Union, Progress and Democracy party led by former Basque Socialist politician Rosa Diez.

Other[edit]

Prominent meetings of the party have been reportedly picketed by Catalan seperatist groups on several occasions.[59] Its leader Albert Rivera alleges he has received anonymous death threats urging him to quit politics.[60][61][62][63]

Election Results[edit]

Congress of Deputies[edit]

Congress of Deputies
Election Leader Size Votes  % Seats ± Position
2008 Albert Rivera 13th 46,313 0.2
0 / 350
No seats

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Election Candidate Size Votes  % Seats ±
2009 Miguel Durán 11th 22,9031 0.1
0 / 54
2014 Javier Nart 8th 497,146 3.2
2 / 54
Increase2

1 Within Libertas Spain.

Local councils[edit]

Local councils
Election Leader Size Votes  % Seats ±
2007 Albert Rivera 17th 67,298 0.3
13 / 66,131
2011 Albert Rivera 23rd 35,060 0.2
7 / 68,230
Decrease6

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Citizens tenfolds the number of members in two years; with 20,300 it triples UPyD" (in Spanish). Voz Pópuli. 2015-03-31. 
  2. ^ O'Leary, Elisabeth (8 February 2015). "Spain's Podemos leads poll but may have peaked - El Pais". Reuters. Retrieved 12 April 2015. Ciudadanos (Citizens), social democrats who defend national unity and have drawn voters on the left and right disenchanted with corruption in politics, saw a 4 percentage point rise to 12.2 percent 
  3. ^ "CATALONIA / E". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 13 April 2015. Ciutadans – Partido de la Ciudadanía (C's): social liberalism, centralism 
  4. ^ «and has a left-liberal, secularist slant» - Demsoc Europe
  5. ^ Auzias & Labourdette 2014, p. 31: «Enfin, Ciutadans (C's), avec 9 députés au parlement, s'oppose aux nationalistes et défend le modèle de l'Etat des autonomies».
  6. ^ (Spanish) Directo de los resultados de las elecciones catalanas 2012 - Público
  7. ^ Citizens – Party of the Citizenship (C’s) - Demsoc Europe
  8. ^ López Basaguren & Escajedo San Epifanio 2013, p. 871: «This paper has presented a multistage model of voting for nationalist parties, as well as for the nonnationalist Ciutadans-Partit de la Ciutadania»
  9. ^ (Spanish) Ciutadans renuncia a las generales tras el 'no' de UPyD a concurrir en coalición - El Mundo
  10. ^ (Spanish) Albert Rivera o el acoso a un no nacionalista en el Parlamento autonómico de Cataluña - Periodista Digital
  11. ^ (Spanish) Sabino Méndez hablara de la inmortalidad del rock'n'roll en el ciclo La Música Contada - Asociación de Compositores y Autores de Música
  12. ^ (Spanish) «la fundación de un nuevo partido político de carácter racional (es decir, laico y postnacionalista)» - Editorial Triacastela
  13. ^ (Spanish) Ciutadans triplica afiliación en Espana y crece un 20% en Cataluna - El Confidencial
  14. ^ (Spanish) Ciutadans estudia expandirse a otras comunidades autónomas tras las elecciones catalanas - Libertad Digital
  15. ^ Medda-Windischer & Carlà 2015, p. 178: «It should be said that not all political parties and social entities signed the Agreement: the People's Party (centre-right) and Ciutadans (centre-right, recently-created pro-Spanish party in the Catalan Parliament) rejected the Agreement on the basis that it had been conceived in a clearly nationalist fashion, whereas the NGO SOS-Racisme and the Trade Union Comissions Obreres considered the document not progressive enough».
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ After Syriza: What’s next for Spain?, Eastminster
  18. ^ Protesters march against austerity measures in Madrid, The Guardian
  19. ^ Buck, Tobias (24 February 2015). "Rajoy promises jobs and growth as fringe parties gain ground". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 April 2015. On the centre-right, Ciudadanos is winning backing from former supporters of the PP, suggesting the ruling party’s stranglehold on the conservative camp is drawing to an end 
  20. ^ Susan J. Henders (2 March 2010). Territoriality, Asymmetry, and Autonomy: Catalonia, Corsica, Hong Kong, and Tibet. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 267–. ISBN 978-0-230-10582-9. 
  21. ^ Manifesto signed by some intellectuals which preceded the formation of the party
  22. ^ http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2014/06/12/pdfs/BOE-A-2014-6233.pdf
  23. ^ http://www.ciudadanos-cs.org/nuestras-ideas/empleo-y-reactivacion-economica
  24. ^ http://www.ciudadanos-cs.org/nuestras-ideas
  25. ^ "Pro-Spain Ciutadans group demands Mas step down as regional premier". El País. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  26. ^ Lluís Orriols (13 August 2013). "Ciutadans, ¿un partido de izquierdas o de derechas?" (in Spanish). El País. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  27. ^ (Spanish) [2], Diario Crítico
  28. ^ "City Council of Barcelona: "Catalan will continue to be the Council's working language"". City Council of Barcelona. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  29. ^ a b "Albert Rivera, Ciutadans candidate: "An independent Catalonia would fail"" (in Spanish). 20 minutos. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  30. ^ "Ciudadanos - Modelo de estado". Ciudadanos-cs.org. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  31. ^ (Spanish) Futuro incierto en País Vasco y Navarra para Podemos, UPyD y Ciudadanos: ¿quitarán los fueros? - Vozpópuli
  32. ^ (Spanish) Ciutadans propone revisar el cupo vasco y navarro reformando la Constitución - Lainformación.com
  33. ^ The Catalan oasis is already the populist oasis
  34. ^ Catalonia, the populist laboratory of Spain
  35. ^ "L'exconcursant de 'Gran Hermano' Carlos 'El Yoyas' dóna suport a Ciutadans en un vídeo electoral". Ara.cat. 2012-10-29. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  36. ^ "Carlos Navarro (El Yoyas) y la inmigración (Completo) - Catalunya Opina 14/11/11 [HD 1080p". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  37. ^ "El Yoyas le pega a un invitado con un microfono.". YouTube. 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  38. ^ "Carlos el yoyas". YouTube. 2007-12-16. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  39. ^ "a ver si me habla que le voy a pegar dos yoyas.00.avi". YouTube. 2010-02-08. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  40. ^ "Abandona 'Gran Hermano' el concursante violento que motivó las quejas de partidos y asociaciones | Sociedad | EL PAÍS". Sociedad.elpais.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  41. ^ "Ciudadanos expulsa a un afiliado de Madrid por comentarios xenófobos". elpais.es. Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  42. ^ "El TSJ catalán investiga a Jordi Cañas (C's) por supuesto fraude a Hacienda". Eldiario.es. 2014-01-20. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  43. ^ "Jordi Cañas renuncia a ser portavoz parlamentario de Ciutadans mientras le investiguen | Cataluña | EL MUNDO". Elmundo.es. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  44. ^ El diputado de C's Jordi Cañas renunciará a su escaño si es acusado de fraude fiscal - lainformación.com
  45. ^ "Desnudo para presidir la Generalitat | Actualidad | EL PAÍS". Elpais.com. 2006-09-16. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  46. ^ "El partido Ciutadans de Catalunya presenta desnudo a su candidato a las autonómicas". elmundo.es. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  47. ^ "Albert Rivera estuvo afiliado en el PP hasta tres meses antes de presidir Ciutadans", El Mundo, November 21, 2006 (in Spanish)
  48. ^ ""El presidente de Ciutadans militó en el PP hasta abril de 2006" (The president of Ciutadans was a PP member until April 2006)". elpais.es. Retrieved 2006-11-23. 
  49. ^ [3]
  50. ^ [4]
  51. ^ [5]
  52. ^ [6]
  53. ^ "Albert Rivera acusa a Robles y Domingo de buscar el fracaso de Ciutadans | Barcelona". elmundo.es. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  54. ^ "Dos de los tres diputados de Ciutadans se unen para destronar a Rivera | Actualidad | EL PAÍS". Elpais.com. 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  55. ^ "Miguel Durán, cabeza de lista de la coalición Ciudadanos-Libertas". Libertad Digital. 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  56. ^ "El CAC pide que se regule la publicidad institucional | Edición impresa | EL PAÍS". Elpais.com. 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  57. ^ "Dos de los tres diputados de Ciutadans se unen para destronar a Rivera | Actualidad | EL PAÍS". Elpais.com. 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  58. ^ "Ciutadans acusa a Rosa Díez de azuzar la revuelta contra Rivera | Edición impresa | EL PAÍS". Elpais.com. 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  59. ^ Agreden al periodista Arcadi Espada en un acto de Ciutadans de Catalunya en Girona contra el Estatut | elmundo.es
  60. ^ El presidente de Ciutadans, amenazado de muerte por "luchar contra el nacionalismo" – 20minutos.es
  61. ^ Albert Rivera es amenazado de muerte para que deje la política / EL MUNDO
  62. ^ El presidente de Ciutadans denuncia haber recibido amenazas de muerte · ELPAÍS.com
  63. ^ Albert Rivera denuncia amenazas de muerte para que deje su política "contra el nacionalismo"- Lavanguardia.es – Noticias, actualidad, última hora en Cataluña y España

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]