United Left (Spain)

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United Left
Izquierda Unida
General Coordinator Cayo Lara Moya
Founded April 1986
Merger of Communist Party of Spain
Communist Youth Union of Spain
Collective for the Unity of Workers - Andalusian Left Bloc
Republican Left (part)
Revolutionary Workers' Party
Open Left
Electoral fusion with:
Initiative for Catalonia Greens
Chunta Aragonesista
Headquarters C/ Olimpo 35, Madrid
Membership 71,578
Ideology Democratic socialism[1]
Participatory democracy
Soft euroscepticism[4]
Political position Left-wing
European affiliation Party of the European Left
European Parliament group European United Left–Nordic Green Left
Colours Red
Local Government
2,248 / 68,221
Regional Parliaments
59 / 1,214
Congress of Deputies
11 / 350
Spanish Senate
2 / 264
European Parliament
1 / 54
Politics of Spain
Political parties

United Left (Spanish: Izquierda Unida [iθˈkjerða uˈniða], IU) is a political coalition that was organized in 1986 bringing together several political organisations opposed to Spain joining NATO. It was formed by a number of groups of leftists, greens, socialists and left-wing republicans, but was dominated by the Communist Party of Spain (PCE). The left-wing Carlist Party and Humanist Party were also founding members of the coalition but they parted ways in 1987.

Congress seats from 1977 (as PCE) to 2011


After the electoral fall of the PCE in 1982 (from 10% to 4%), IU slowly improved its results, reaching 9% in 1993 (1,800,000 votes) and nearly 11% in 1996 (2,600,000 votes). From 1999 it went into decline, with its support slipping to 5% in 2000. In that election it signed a pact with the Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE).

From 1986 to 1999, its leader was the general secretary of the PCE, Julio Anguita, followed by Francisco Frutos. From 2001 to 2008 it was Gaspar Llamazares, who resigned following poor election results in 2008. From 2008 onwards it has been led by Cayo Lara. IU has its strongest base of support in Andalusia, Madrid, and Asturias, tracing the communist base of the PCE.

Following the tradition of the Spanish left since the formation of the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSUC) in 1936 (when communists and socialists joined forces in Catalunya), IU doesn't have any organization of its own in Catalonia. Until 1998 the referent of IU in Catalonia was Initiative for Catalonia (Iniciativa per Catalunya, now known as IC-V). But IC eventually broke relations with IU. A split in PSUC followed and a new Catalonian alliance, United and Alternative Left (Esquerra Unida i Alternativa, EUiA) was formed as the new Catalonian referent of IU.

Julio Anguita, general coordinator of United Left from 1989 to 1999.
Paco Frutos campaigning in 2005 for IU at a PCE meeting (a Chilean flag and a Communist Party of Chile flag are visible).

IU contested the 2008 general election in coalition with IC-V. The coalition got 963,040 votes (3.8%) and two MPs (one of them by IC-V), its worst ever result. The provincial district distribution and the D'Hondt method, which regulates the allocation of seats in the Spanish Congress, favour the main lists in each electoral district. Since IU lists usually finish in third place or lower in each district, their share of seats in the Congress has usually been lower than their share of votes.

IU officially has around 70,000 members,[5] and nearly 2,700 councillors.[6]

The 2011 local and regional elections saw IU halt their long term decline with their first gains since 1996.[7] In total IU increased their vote share by nearly 1% from 5.48% in 2007 to 6.33% in 2011, with the group gaining nearly 200 councillors and 12 members of regional assemblies.[7] They suffered setbacks in Córdoba, which they had governed since the 1970s (with the exception of a four-year period in the 1990s) as the People's Party gained control of the council.[7] In the Asturian regional elections, although IU gained a seat, a right wing administration replaced the previous PSOE-IU coalition.[7] In the 2011 general election, the coalition made major gains, obtaining 6.92% of the vote and 11 seats, their best result since 1996. It has shared government with the Socialist Party in Andalusia since 2012.

Federations of IU[edit]

  • Andalusia: Izquierda Unida Los Verdes - Convocatoría por Andalucía (United Left/The Greens - Assembly for Andalusia)
  • Aragon: Izquierda Unida Aragón (United Left of Aragon)
  • Asturias: Izquierda Xunida d'Asturies (United Left of Asturias)
  • Balearic Islands: Esquerra Unida de les Illes Balears (United Left of Balearic Islands)
  • Canary Islands: Izquierda Unida Canaria (Canarian United Left)
  • Cantabria: Izquierda Unida de Cantabria (Cantabrian United Left)
  • Castilla-La Mancha: Izquierda Unida - Izquierda de Castilla-La Mancha (United Left - Castilla-La Mancha Left)
  • Castilla y León: Izquierda Unida de Castilla y León (United Left of Castilla and León)
  • Ceuta: Izquierda Unida de Ceuta (United Left of Ceuta)
  • Euskadi: Izquierda Unida - Los Verdes: Ezker Anitza (United Left - The Greens: Plural Left)
  • Extremadura: Izquierda Unida - Federación de Extremadura (United Left - Extremadura Federation)
  • Galicia: Esquerda Unida-Izquierda Unida (United Left of Galicia)
  • La Rioja: Izquierda Unida - La Rioja (United Left-La Rioja)
  • Madrid: Izquierda Unida de la Comunidad de Madrid (United Left of the Community of Madrid)
  • Melilla: Izquierda Unida - Federación de Melilla (United Left - Melilla Federation)
  • Murcia: Izquierda Unida - Región de Murcia (United Left - Region of Murcia)
  • Navarra: Izquierda Unida de Navarra - Nafarroako Ezker Batua (United Left of Navarra)
  • Valencian Community: Esquerra Unida del País Valencià (United Left of the Valencian Country)

Electoral results[edit]

Congress of Deputies[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
1986 935,504 4.6
7 / 350
Increase 3
1989 1,858,588[8] 9.1
17 / 350
Increase 10 includes 3 seats won by Initiative for Catalonia
1993 2,253,722 9.6
18 / 350
Increase 1 includes 3 seats won by Initiative for Catalonia
1996 2,639,774 10.5
21 / 350
Increase 3 includes 3 seats won by Initiative for Catalonia
2000 1,263,043 5.5
8 / 350
Decrease 13
2004 1,324,370 5.1
5 / 350
Decrease 3 includes 2 seats won by Initiative for Catalonia Greens
2008 969,946 3.8
2 / 350
Decrease 3 includes 1 seat won by Initiative for Catalonia Greens
2011 1,685,991 6.9
11 / 350
Increase 9 includes 2 seats won by Initiative for Catalonia Greens, 1 seat won in alliance with Chunta Aragonesista

Regional parliaments[edit]

Corts Valencianes[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
1987 142,570 7.5 (#5)
6 / 89
1991 151,242 7.6 (#4)
6 / 89
Steady 0
1995 273,030 11.7 (#3)
10 / 89
Increase 4
1999 137,212 6.2 (#3)
5 / 89
Decrease 5
2003 154,494 6.4 (#3)
6 / 89
Increase 1
2007 194,359 8.1 (#3)
3 / 99
Decrease 3 Part of Compromise for the Valencian Country
2011 144,201 5.8 (#4)
5 / 99
Increase 2


External links[edit]