Convergence and Union
|Convergència i Unió|
|General Secretary||Ramon Espadaler|
|Founded||September 1978 (coalition)
December 2001 (federation)
|International affiliation||Liberal International (CDC),
Centrist Democrat International (UDC)
|European affiliation||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (CDC),
European People's Party (UDC)
|European Parliament group||ALDE (CDC)|
|Colours||Blue and Orange|
|Congress of Deputies|
|Parliament of Catalonia|
|Politics of Spain
Convergence and Union (Catalan: Convergència i Unió, CiU; IPA: [kumbərˈʒɛnsiə j uniˈo]) is a Catalan nationalist electoral alliance in Catalonia, Spain. CiU is a federation of two constituent parties, the larger Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) and its smaller counterpart, the Democratic Union of Catalonia (UDC). It is currently led by Artur Mas, who is also the current President of the Catalan Government.
CiU is a Catalan nationalist coalition. It was usually seen as a moderate nationalist party in Spain, although it has shifted to open Catalan independentism in the last years and has shown its intention to hold a referendum on Catalan independence in 2014. There is some debate as to whether the party is conservative or centrist. Liberal tendencies dominate the larger CDC, while the smaller UDC is a Christian democratic party. As for its position in the nationalist debate, it is deliberately ambiguous so as to appeal to the broadest spectrum possible, from voters who seek full independence from Spain to those who are generally satisfied with the present self-government status. In general, the CDC tends to be more supportive of Catalan sovereignty, while the UDC is considered closer to traditional Catalan autonomism and more nuanced nationalism. The electoral manifesto for the elections in 2012 states that "we want to build a wide social majority so that Catalonia can have its own State in the European frame, because Catalonia has the will to become a normal country among world's countries and nations".
In the most recent regional elections, held on 25 September 2012, CiU won 30.71% of the vote. It lost 12 seats in the Catalan Parliament, bringing them to a total of 50 deputies. While they have more than twice as many deputies than any other party, they were left 18 seats short of a majority in the 135 member body. After the election, they entered into coalition with the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC). El Periódico de Catalunya reported in August 2013 that the coalition may break apart due to fractions within the union about Catalan independence, with UDC opposing secessionism.
Policies and ideology
CiU is generally considered a Catalan nationalist party; this is also the term it uses to describe itself. Both the Spanish and Catalan media perceive it as a moderate nationalist force. However, its liberal fraction (CDC) has a relatively strong current which advocates Catalan independence from Spain and which has grown stronger after 2006. Many high ranking exponents of the Democratic Convergence define CiU as an independentist political force. The party's president Artur Mas has stated he would vote in favour of Catalan independence in a theoretical referendum of independence, but he added this would not be his official policy if elected as President of Catalonia.
On the other hand, the Christian democratic part of the coalition, the Democratic Union of Catalonia, is less favourable to the idea of an independent Catalonia. Nevertheless, several prominent members of the Democratic Union have also supported independence, especially since the late 2000s. However, the supporters of independence within the Democratic Union are a minority with much less influence than their counterparts in the Democratic Convergence.
Terms of office
At the Catalan level, CiU ruled the autonomous Catalan government during the 1980s until 2003 for 23 consecutive years led by Jordi Pujol (CDC). Pujol was succeeded in the party leadership by Artur Mas (CDC), while Unió's leader (second at the CiU level) is Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida. It then served in opposition to a tripartite centre-left government of the Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC), the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the Initiative for Catalonia Greens (ICV) until November 2010, when it regained power (but lacking an overall majority, still needing a coalition partner).
2008 General Elections
CiU supported changes to the Catalan Statute of Autonomy to further increase Catalonia's autonomy. It is currently the most voted party at regional elections in Catalonia, but in 2003 lost its absolute majority and is the main opposition party at the Catalan autonomous level, having been replaced in the government by a centre-left tripartite coalition formed in 2003 and re-formed after the 2006 Catalan regional elections, which were called due to divisions in the coalition.
2010 Catalan elections
On Sunday, 28 November 2010 (28-N) CiU regained control of the regional parliament after seven years in opposition, winning about 38 per cent of the popular vote, earning 62 seats out of the total 135. Its platform was broadly centrist, and somewhat ambiguous about independence from Spain.
In the 2010 elections the turnout was just above 60%, and the Socialists' Party of Catalonia were considered the biggest losers, holding only 28 seats of their former 37. All other parties lost support, as well, except the liberal-conservative People's Party of Catalonia, which increased its support by 1.5%, and the liberal Citizens' Party which maintained their position.
2012 Catalan elections
On Sunday, November 25, 2012 CiU maintained its control of the regional parliament by winning approximately 30 per cent of the popular vote and earning 50 seats of the total 135. This represents a drop in voter support since the 2010 election, with voter turn-out for the 2012 election at approximately 70%, or the highest since 1998. It is also the lowest percentage of the vote the coalition has scored since its formation in 1988.
Parliament of Catalonia
|Election year||# of overall votes||% of overall vote||# of overall seats won||+/-||Notes|
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