United Left (Spain)

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United Left
General Coordinator Cayo Lara Moya
Founded April 1986 (1986-04)
Merger of Communist Party of Spain
Communist Youth Union of Spain
Republican Left (part)
Revolutionary Workers' Party
Open Left
Electoral fusion with:
Initiative for Catalonia Greens
Membership 71,578
Ideology Communism[1][2]
Democratic socialism
Political position Left-wing[1]
European affiliation Party of the European Left
European Parliament group European United Left–Nordic Green Left
Colours ‹See Tfm›     Dark red
‹See Tfm›     Green
Congress of Deputies
11 / 350
Spanish Senate
2 / 266
European Parliament
4 / 54
Regional Parliaments
54 / 1,268
Local Government (2011)
2,248 / 68,230
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 left-wing political organisations.[3]

IU was originally founded as an electoral coalition of seven parties, but currently the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) is the only integrated member of the IU at the national level.[3] Despite that, IU brings together other regional parties, political organizations, and independents.[3]

Congress seats from 1977 (as PCE) to 2011


Julio Anguita, general coordinator of United Left from 1989 to 1999.

Following the electoral failure of the PCE in 1982 (from 10% to 4%), PCE leaders believed that the PCE alone could no longer effectively challenge the electoral hegemony of the PSOE on the left.[3] With this premise, the PCE began developing closer relations with other left-wing groups, with the vision of forming a broad left coalition.[3] IU slowly improved its results, reaching 9% in 1989 (1,800,000 votes) and nearly 11% in 1996 (2,600,000 votes).

In contrast to the PCE prior to the formation of IU, which pursued a more moderate political course, the new IU adopted a more radical strategy and ideology of confrontation against the PSOE.[2][3] IU generally opposed cooperating with the PSOE, and identified it as a "right-wing party", no different from the PP.[2][3]

After achieving poor results in the 1999 local and European elections, IU decided to adopt a more conciliatory attitude towards the PSOE, and agreed to sign an electoral pact with the PSOE for the upcoming general election in 2000.[3] They also adopted a universal policy in favor of cooperating with the PSOE at local level.[3]

Following the election of Cayo Lara as leader in 2008, however, the party has shifted back towards a more confrontational attitude towards the PSOE.[citation needed]

IU currently has around 70,000 members.[4]

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)
  • Catalonia: None[5]
  • 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)


Name Period Notes
Gerardo Iglesias 1986
Julio Anguita 1986–99
Francisco Frutos 1999-2001
Gaspar Llamazares 2001–08
Cayo Lara 2008–present

Election results[edit]

IU has its strongest base of support in Andalusia, Madrid, and Asturias, tracing the communist base of the PCE.[3] However, the IU has also gained electoral support in regions the PCE never did, such as Castile and León, and the Basque Country.[3]

Congress of Deputies[edit]

Congress of Deputies
Election Leader Size Votes  % Seats ± Position
1986 Gerardo Iglesias 5th 935,504 4.6
7 / 350
Minor opposition
1989 Julio Anguita 3rd 1,858,588 9.1
17 / 350
Increase10 Minor opposition
1993 Julio Anguita 3rd 2,253,722 9.6
18 / 350
Increase1 Minor opposition
1996 Julio Anguita 3rd 2,639,774 10.5
21 / 350
Increase3 Minor opposition
2000 Francisco Frutos 3rd 1,263,043 5.5
8 / 350
Decrease13 Minor opposition
2004 Gaspar Llamazares 3rd 1,284,081 5.0
5 / 350
Decrease3 Minor opposition
2008 Gaspar Llamazares 3rd 969,946 3.8
2 / 350
Decrease3 Minor opposition
2011 Cayo Lara 3rd 1,686,040 6.9
11 / 350
Increase9 Minor opposition

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Election Candidate Size Votes  % Seats ±
1987 Fernando Pérez Royo 4th 1,011,830 5.3
3 / 60
1989 Fernando Pérez Royo 4th 961,742 6.1
4 / 60
1994 Alonso Puerta 3rd 2,497,671 13.4
9 / 64
1999 Alonso Puerta 3rd 1,221,566 5.8
4 / 64
2004 Willy Meyer 4th 643,136 4.2
2 / 54
2009 Willy Meyer 4th 588,248 3.7
2 / 54
2014 Willy Meyer 3rd 1,575,3081 10.0
4 / 54

1 Within Plural Left.

Local councils[edit]

Local councils
Election Leader Size Votes  % Seats ±
1987 Gerardo Iglesias 4th 1,399,364 7.2
2,315 / 65,577
1991 Julio Anguita 3rd 1,579,097 8.4
2,614 / 66,308
1995 Julio Anguita 3rd 2,589,780 11.7
3,493 / 65,869
1999 Julio Anguita 3rd 1,387,900 6.5
2,295 / 65,201
2003 Gaspar Llamazares 3rd 1,394,871 6.1
2,198 / 65,510
2007 Gaspar Llamazares 3rd 1,217,030 5.5
2,034 / 66,131
2011 Cayo Lara 3rd 1,437,061 6.4
2,249 / 68,230


  1. ^ a b c d "European Social Survey 2012 - Appendix 3 (in English)" (PDF). European Science Foundation. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Topaloff, L (2012) Political Parties and Euroscepticism, pp192-193
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Electoral incentives and organisational limits. The evolution of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) and the United Left (IU) (in English)" (PDF). Institute of Political and Social Sciences. 2002. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Entre coalición y partido, la evolución de modelo organizativo en IU, Luis Ramiro
  5. ^ 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.

External links[edit]