Citizens (Spanish political party)

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Citizens – Party of the Citizenry
Ciudadanos – Partido de la Ciudadanía
Ciutadans – Partit de la Ciutadania
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
Ideology Social liberalism[1]
European federalism[4]
Spanish unionism[1]
Political position Centre to Centre-left[12]
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
European Parliament group Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Colours Orange and White
Parliament of Catalonia
9 / 135
Local Government
7 / 9,137
European Parliament
2 / 54
Politics of Spain
Political parties
Politics of Catalonia
Political parties

The Citizens – Party of the Citizenry (Spanish: Ciudadanos – Partido de la Ciudadanía, official name used nationwide; Catalan: Ciutadans – Partit de la Ciutadania, used co-officially with former in Catalonia; short acronym C's) is a political party in Spain which describes itself as centre-left and non-nationalist. 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[13] and opposed to 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.


Ciutadans was formed in Catalonia in July 2006 in response to the call made in a manifesto by a group of Catalan personalities (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, postulated as an homogenous entity, has taken occupation of the space where an undeniably diverse society lives".[14]

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 the first congress of 2006, a young lawyer from Barcelona, Albert Rivera, was elected its president.

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

In 2013, the party started its activity also 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.[15] Both MEPs joined the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group.

Program and ideological background[edit]

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,[16] 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.[17] C's criticize any sort of nationalism, "including the Spanish nationalism that defends the Lord Ynestrillas" as well as patriotism.[18]

One of the main issues raised by the party is the Catalan language policy, which actively promotes the use of Catalan language as the only working language of the Catalonian public administration.[19][20] The party challenges this policy and defends equal treatment of Spanish and Catalan languages.[20] It also opposes the language policy within the Catalan school system, according to which all public education is carried out in Catalan. The party also supports strengthening the powers of the Spanish central institutions and curtailing the powers of regional administrations.[21]

Other topics include a thorough reform of the Spanish electoral system in the sense of a greater proportionality that would give less weight to single constituencies. They also support some changes in the Spanish constitution, especially regarding the regional organisation. Among other policies, they propose the complete abolition of the fiscal autonomy for the Basque Country.[21]

They also support a regulation of prostitution, marijuana and euthanasia.

Support, membership and organisation[edit]

C's is a political force only at the regional level. In the national elections of 2008, it gained 0.18% of the Spanish votes: in Catalonia, its support was somewhat higher – 0.74% of votes – but significantly smaller compared to the percentages obtained in the Catalan regional elections of 2006 (3.04%) and 2010 (3.4%).

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.


C's has been identified as having a populist platform, e.g. by Catalan nationalists like far-right movements expert Xavier Casals.[22][23] In spite of its efforts to identify its core ideology as progressive, its campaign videos feature notorious right-leaning socialites, journalists and television personalities.[24]

On January 2014, Catalan Supreme Court of Justice (TSJC) probed C's Parliament member Jordi Cañas on account of a fraud of 429.203 euros.[25] Cañas abandoned his party spokesman position [26] and announced he would to abandon his seat in the Parliament if he were formally indicted.[27]

During the election campaign of 2006, the party's president Albert Rivera appeared completely naked in a poster in order to attract publicity to the party.[28][29]

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 elections with the Citizen's Party[30] In spite of the evidence,[specify] however, Rivera denied having been a full member of the party, and only admitted having participated in some of the actions of the youth section of the party.[citation needed]

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.[31][32][33]

Relations to 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 time to present its views on public television.[34] They have also criticized 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 fact has alienated the other two MPs (besides Rivera himself) and a significant part of the party from his leadership.[35] 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),[36] all resulting in a major crisis within the party.

Several intellectuals that had participated in the formation of Ciutadans, later withdrew their support from C's. 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.


Prominent meetings of the party have been reportedly picketed by Catalan independentist groups on several occasions.[37] Its leader Albert Rivera alleges he has received anonymous death threats urging him to quit politics.[38][39][40][41]

Election results[edit]

Congress of Deputies[edit]

Congress of Deputies
Date Votes Seats Position Size Notes
#  % ± pp # ±
2008 46,313 0.2%
0 / 350

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Date Votes Seats Size
#  % ± pp # ±
2009 22,9031 0.1%
0 / 54
2014 497,146 3.2% Increase3.1
2 / 54
Increase2 8th

1 Within Libertas Spain.

Local councils[edit]

Local councils
Date Votes Seats Size
#  % ± pp # ±
2007 67,298 0.3%
13 / 66,131
2011 35,060 0.2% Decrease0.1
7 / 68,230
Decrease6 23rd

Parliament of Catalonia[edit]

Parliament of Catalonia
Date Votes Seats Position Size Notes
#  % ± pp # ±
2006 89,840 3.0%
3 / 135
Opposition 6th
2010 106,154 3.4% Increase0.4
3 / 135
±0 Opposition 6th
2012 275,007 7.6% Increase4.2
9 / 135
Increase9 Opposition 6th

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  2. ^ «and has a left-liberal, secularist slant» - Demsoc Europe
  3. ^ (Spanish) Directo de los resultados de las elecciones catalanas 2012 - Público
  4. ^ Citizens – Party of the Citizenship (C’s) - Demsoc Europe
  5. ^ 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»
  6. ^ (Spanish) Ciutadans renuncia a las generales tras el 'no' de UPyD a concurrir en coalición - El Mundo
  7. ^ (Spanish) Albert Rivera o el acoso a un no nacionalista en el Parlamento autonómico de Cataluña - Periodista Digital
  8. ^ (Spanish) Sabino Méndez hablara de la inmortalidad del rock'n'roll en el ciclo La Música Contada - Asociación de Compositores y Autores de Música
  9. ^ (Spanish) «la fundación de un nuevo partido político de carácter racional (es decir, laico y postnacionalista)» - Editorial Triacastela
  10. ^ (Spanish) Ciutadans triplica afiliación en Espana y crece un 20% en Cataluna - El Confidencial
  11. ^ (Spanish) Ciutadans estudia expandirse a otras comunidades autónomas tras las elecciones catalanas - Libertad Digital
  12. ^ Catalan vote sends mixed messages - Economist Intelligence Unit
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ Manifesto signed by some intellectuals which preceded the formation of the party
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Pro-Spain Ciutadans group demands Mas step down as regional premier". El País. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  17. ^ Lluís Orriols (13 August 2013). "Ciutadans, ¿un partido de izquierdas o de derechas?" (in Spanish). El País. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  18. ^ (Spanish) [1], Diario Crítico
  19. ^ "City Council of Barcelona: "Catalan will continue to be the Council's working language"". City Council of Barcelona. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "Albert Rivera, Ciutadans candidate: "An independent Catalonia would fail"" (in Spanish). 20 minutos. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  21. ^ a b "Ciudadanos - Modelo de estado". Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  22. ^ The Catalan oasis is already the populist oasis
  23. ^ Catalonia, the populist laboratory of Spain
  24. ^ "L'exconcursant de 'Gran Hermano' Carlos 'El Yoyas' dóna suport a Ciutadans en un vídeo electoral". 2012-10-29. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  25. ^ "El TSJ catalán investiga a Jordi Cañas (C's) por supuesto fraude a Hacienda". 2014-01-20. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  26. ^ "Jordi Cañas renuncia a ser portavoz parlamentario de Ciutadans mientras le investiguen | Cataluña | EL MUNDO". Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  27. ^ El diputado de C's Jordi Cañas renunciará a su escaño si es acusado de fraude fiscal - lainformació
  28. ^ "Desnudo para presidir la Generalitat | Actualidad | EL PAÍS". 2006-09-16. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  29. ^ "El partido Ciutadans de Catalunya presenta desnudo a su candidato a las autonómicas". Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  30. ^ "Albert Rivera estuvo afiliado en el PP hasta tres meses antes de presidir Ciutadans", El Mundo, November 21, 2006 (in Spanish)
  31. ^ "Albert Rivera acusa a Robles y Domingo de buscar el fracaso de Ciutadans | Barcelona". Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  32. ^ "Dos de los tres diputados de Ciutadans se unen para destronar a Rivera | Actualidad | EL PAÍS". 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  33. ^ "Miguel Durán, cabeza de lista de la coalición Ciudadanos-Libertas". Libertad Digital. 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  34. ^ "El CAC pide que se regule la publicidad institucional | Edición impresa | EL PAÍS". 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  35. ^ "Dos de los tres diputados de Ciutadans se unen para destronar a Rivera | Actualidad | EL PAÍS". 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  36. ^ "Ciutadans acusa a Rosa Díez de azuzar la revuelta contra Rivera | Edición impresa | EL PAÍS". 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  37. ^ Agreden al periodista Arcadi Espada en un acto de Ciutadans de Catalunya en Girona contra el Estatut |
  38. ^ El presidente de Ciutadans, amenazado de muerte por "luchar contra el nacionalismo" –
  39. ^ Albert Rivera es amenazado de muerte para que deje la política / EL MUNDO
  40. ^ El presidente de Ciutadans denuncia haber recibido amenazas de muerte · ELPAÍ
  41. ^ Albert Rivera denuncia amenazas de muerte para que deje su política "contra el nacionalismo"- – Noticias, actualidad, última hora en Cataluña y España


External links[edit]