Catalan regional election, 2003

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Catalan regional election, 2003
← 1999 16 November 2003 2006 →

All 135 seats in the Parliament of Catalonia
68 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Registered 5,307,837 Green Arrow Up Darker.svg0.3%
Turnout 3,319,276 (62.5%)
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg3.3 pp
  First party Second party Third party
  Artur Mas 2009 (cropped).jpg Pasqual Maragall 2004 (cropped).jpg Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira - 001 cropped.jpg
Leader Artur Mas Pasqual Maragall Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira
Leader since 7 January 2002[1] 6 March 1999 25 November 1996
Leader's seat Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona
Last election 56 seats, 37.7% 50 seats, 36.9% 12 seats, 8.7%
Seats won 46 42 23
Seat change Red Arrow Down.svg10 Red Arrow Down.svg8 Green Arrow Up Darker.svg11
Popular vote 1,024,425 1,031,454 544,324
Percentage 30.9% 31.2% 16.4%
Swing Red Arrow Down.svg6.8 pp Red Arrow Down.svg5.7 pp Green Arrow Up Darker.svg7.7 pp

  Fourth party Fifth party
  Josep Piqué 2008 (cropped).jpg Joan Saura 2005 (cropped).jpg
Leader Josep Piqué Joan Saura
Leader since 4 September 2003 26 November 2000
Leader's seat Barcelona Barcelona
Last election 12 seats, 9.5% 5 seats, 4.9%
Seats won 15 9
Seat change Green Arrow Up Darker.svg3 Green Arrow Up Darker.svg6
Popular vote 393,499 241,163
Percentage 11.9% 7.3%
Swing Green Arrow Up Darker.svg2.4 pp Green Arrow Up Darker.svg2.4 pp

Constituency results map for the Parliament of Catalonia

President before election

Jordi Pujol

Elected President

Pasqual Maragall

The 2003 Catalan regional election was held on Sunday, 16 November 2003, to elect the 7th Parliament of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia. All 135 seats in the Parliament were up for election.

This election marked a change for all Catalan political parties due to Catalan President Jordi Pujol's decision not to seek a seventh term in office and to retire from active politics. The election results were a great disappointment for Pasqual Maragall's Socialists' Party of Catalonia, which again saw Convergence and Union winning a plurality of seats despite them winning the most votes by a margin of just 0.3%. Opinion polls earlier in the year had predicted a much larger victory for Maragall, but his lead over CiU had begun to narrow as the election grew nearer. ERC was the perceived true victor of the election, doubling its 1999 figures and scoring the best results in its recent history, both in terms of seats (23 of 135) and votes (16.4%), up from 11 seats and 8.7%.

As Pujol's successor Artur Mas did not won a majority large enough to renew his party pact with the People's Party of Catalonia, which had kept Pujol in power since 1995, an alliance between the Socialists' Party of Catalonia, Republican Left of Catalonia and Initiative for Catalonia Greens–United and Alternative Left resulted in the Catalan tripartite government. Ironically, despite losing 10 seats and 150,000 votes respect to the 1999 election, Maragall became the first center-left President of Catalonia, ending with 23 years of Convergence and Union government.

Electoral system[edit]

No electoral law was in force at the time, with election rules for the Parliament regulated under the electoral system for the Congress of Deputies and special provisions within the regional Statute of Autonomy. The Parliament of Catalonia was elected using the D'Hondt method and a closed list proportional representation. Under a regional law, the Parliament was entitled to a minimum of 100 members and a maximum of 150, which provisional rules in the Statute set to 135. All seats were allocated to four multi-member districts—each corresponding to a province, with allocation awarding 85 seats to Barcelona, 17 to Girona, 15 to Lleida and 18 to Tarragona—. A threshold of 3% of valid votes—which included blank ballots—was applied in each constituency, with parties not reaching the threshold not taken into consideration for seat distribution.

Voting was on the basis of universal suffrage, with all residents over eighteen and in the full enjoyment of all political rights entitled to vote. Concurrently, residents meeting the previous criteria and not involved in any cause of ineligibility were eligible for the Parliament. Groups of electors were required to obtain the signatures of at least 1% of registered electors in a particular district in order to be able to field candidates.

The President had the ability to dissolve the chamber at any given time and call a snap election; otherwise, elected deputies served for four year terms, starting from election day. Additionally, the Parliament was to be automatically dissolved in the event of unsuccessful investiture attempts failing to elect a President within a two month-period from the first ballot, triggering a snap election likewise.[2][3][4]


The retirement of Jordi Pujol as CiU candidate paved the way for Artur Mas, then Chief Counsellor (Conseller en cap, akin to a Vice-president; he was known colloquially as the Dauphin), as the culmination of a long successory process.

In 1999, because of the PSC growth, Convergence and Union had lost the vote share for the first time, but had won the most seats due to the disproportionate allocation of seats in Girona, Lleida and Tarragona respect to Barcelona. Thanks to the support of the PPC, Pujol had been able to be re-elected to a sixth term in office. In spite of this, and despite Pujol's approval ratings remaining high, rumours about his possible retirement and a desire for change had resulted in CiU trailing the PSC in opinion polls for the entire legislature, with a lead nearly into the double digits by mid-to-late 2002. From mid-2003, however, the Socialist lead had begun to narrow to the point that speculation arose about a possible reenactment of the 1999 results.

ERC was in almost constant growth since the 1988 election, and had become a political force able to break through the dominant two-party system in Catalonia.

Initiative for Catalonia Greens and United and Alternative Left had run separately in the previous election, but ran together in a party coalition for this election.


Opinion polls[edit]


Poll results are listed in the table below in reverse chronological order, showing the most recent first, and using the date the survey's fieldwork was done, as opposed to the date of publication. If such date is unknown, the date of publication is given instead. The highest percentage figure in each polling survey is displayed in bold, and the background shaded in the leading party's colour. In the instance that there is a tie, then no figure is shaded. The lead column on the right shows the percentage-point difference between the two parties with the highest figures. When a specific poll does not show a data figure for a party, the party's cell corresponding to that poll is shown empty.

Seat projections[edit]

Opinion polls showing seat projections are displayed in the table below. The highest seat figures in each polling survey have their background shaded in the leading party's colour. In the instance that there is a tie, then no figure is shaded. 68 seats were required for an absolute majority in the Parliament of Catalonia.



Summary of the 16 November 2003 Parliament of Catalonia election results
Party Popular vote Seats
Votes  % ±pp Won +/−
Socialists' Party of Catalonia–Citizens for Change (PSC–CpC)1 1,031,454 31.16 –5.75 42 –8
Convergence and Union (CiU) 1,024,425 30.94 –6.76 46 –10
Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) 544,324 16.44 +7.77 23 +11
People's Party (PP) 393,499 11.89 +2.38 15 +3
Initiative for Catalonia Greens–United and Alternative Left (ICV–EUiA)1 2 241,163 7.28 +2.41 9 +4
Blank ballots 30,212 0.91 –0.02
Total 3,310,483 100.00 135 ±0
Valid votes 3,310,483 99.74 –0.01
Invalid votes 8,793 0.26 +0.01
Votes cast / turnout 3,319,276 62.54 +3.34
Abstentions 1,988,561 37.46 –3.34
Registered voters 5,307,837
Source(s): Department for Interior and Institutional Relations of Catalonia,
Popular vote
Blank ballots

Distribution by constituency[edit]

Constituency PSC CiU ERC PP ICV–EUiA
 % S  % S  % S  % S  % S
Barcelona 33.2 29 28.8 25 15.2 13 12.6 11 8.0 7
Girona 23.7 4 38.7 7 21.9 4 8.1 1 5.3 1
Lleida 22.5 4 41.4 7 19.9 3 9.7 1 4.4
Tarragona 28.2 5 33.8 7 19.0 3 11.8 2 5.2 1
Total 31.2 42 30.9 46 16.4 23 11.9 15 7.3 9


Investiture vote[edit]

First round: 16 December 2003
Absolute majority (68/135) required
Candidate: Pasqual Maragall
Choice Vote
Parties Votes
YesYYes PSC (42), ERC (23), ICV–EUiA (9)
74 / 135
No CiU (46), PP (15)
61 / 135
0 / 135


  1. ^ a b c d e f This poll provides data ranges, approximations and/or various electoral scenario hypotheses calculated using similar weighting parameters. In order to simplify, the average of these data is given.


  1. ^ "CiU hace oficial la candidatura de Mas para la presidencia de la Generalitat". El País. 8 January 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia of 1979, Organic Law No. 4 of December 18, 1979 Official State Gazette (in Spanish). Retrieved on 14 March 2017.
  3. ^ Law on the Parliament, President and Executive Council of the Generalitat, Law No. 3 of March 25, 1982 Official State Gazette (in Spanish). Retrieved on 14 March 2017.
  4. ^ General Electoral System Organic Law of 1985, Organic Law No. 5 of June 19, 1985 Official State Gazette (in Spanish). Retrieved on 28 December 2016.