Citizens (Spanish political party)
|Secretary-General||José Manuel Villegas|
|Spokesperson in Congress||Juan Carlos Girauta|
|Founded||7 June 2005 (CC)
4 March 2006 (Cs)
|Headquarters||Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 751 A, 1º 2ª
08013 Barcelona, Catalonia
|Youth wing||Group of Young Citizens – J's|
|European affiliation||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe|
|European Parliament group||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe|
|Congress of Deputies||
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Citizens (Spanish: Ciudadanos [θjuðaˈðanos]; Catalan: Ciutadans [siwtəˈðans]; Basque: Hiritarrak; Galician: Cidadáns; shortened as Cs—C's until January 2017), officially Citizens–Party of the Citizenry, is a liberal political party in Spain originating in Catalonia that is self-described as postnationalist. Citizens was presenting itself as a centre-left party that offered a mix of social democracy and liberal-progressive positions on its platform; however, the party has also been described by segments of the Spanish media as centre-right.
It was founded in Catalonia, where it leads the opposition and in whose Parliament has 25 deputies. It is strongly opposed to Catalan nationalism. The party uses the phrase "Catalonia is my homeland, Spain is my country and Europe is our future" to outline the party's ideology.
- 1 Ideology
- 2 History
- 3 Relations with the media
- 4 European election internal dispute
- 5 Electoral performance
- 6 References
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 External links
This section's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (October 2017)
Citizens brands itself as a centre-left party in its statement of principles (ideario). Albert Rivera refused to locate Citizens on the political spectrum for a time, though. And he has recently been placing Cs in the political centre. Although some observers agree with the party's ideario by describing Cs as centre-left and others agree with Albert Rivera's last definition by describing the party as centrist, the vast majority of them have positioned Citizens on the centre-right.
Ideologically, Cs describes itself as a progressive, secular, constitutional Spanish unionist, European federalist and postnationalist political party. Ciudadanos supports the current autonomous rights granted to autonomous communities in Spain, but rejects the autonomous communities' right to self-determination outside of the Spanish state. As an originally Catalan party it specifically opposes Catalan nationalism as an outdated, authoritarian and socially divisive ideology which fuels hatred among both Catalans and Spaniards.[clarification needed] Rivera uses the phrase "Catalonia is my homeland, Spain is my country and Europe is our future" to describe the party's ideology.
The party opposes separatist movements such as the Catalan independence movement and opposes federating the autonomous communities. Even though Citizens is currently a supporter of European federalism, it ran in the 2009 European Parliament election in coalition with the far-right, Eurosceptic party Libertas. Although reconsidering the current head of state is not a priority for the party, Albert Rivera has said that Citizens is "a republican party which claims that Spanish citizens are who have to decide whether they prefer a once-modernized monarchy or a republic through a referendum in the context of a constitutional reform". According to its declared identity signs, Cs advocates four basic lines of action:
- Defense of individual rights.
- Defense of social rights as well as the welfare state.
- Uphold the State of Autonomies and Europe's unity.[clarification needed]
- Regeneration of democracy and of political life.[clarification needed]
The Cs have outlined some policies for the 2015 general election:
- Lower corporation tax to 25%
- Lower and harmonise VAT to a rate between 16% and 19%
- Cap the top-rate of income tax at 40%
- Increase R&D spending to 3% of GDP
- Abolish or merge municipalities with a population of less than 5,000
- Reduce bureaucracy and red tape
- More transparent party funding
- Crack down on corruption
- Reform or abolish the Senate.
- Instate an earned income tax credit to fight in-work poverty
- "Austrian Backpack" transferable unemployment compensation where a worker accumulates funds throughout his career which are accessible upon job loss or retirement
- Devolve training to the citizens from employers associations and trade unions
- Ease immigration policies to attract talent and investors
- Legalize marijuana
Cs is mostly considered a liberal party both in economic policies[clarification needed] and social issues, but its political discourse is mainly centered around opposition to Catalan nationalism, 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 Cs voters who had voted for centre-right parties in previous elections was similar to the number who had voted for centre-left parties, suggesting that the party's positions on general economic and social issues are not its main draw. Cs criticise any sort of nationalism, "including the Spanish nationalism that Mr. Ynestrillas defends".
One of the main issues raised by the party is the Catalan language policy, which actively promotes the use of Catalan language as the sole working language of Catalan public administration. The party challenges this policy and defends equal treatment of the Spanish and Catalan languages. It also opposes the current language policy within the Catalan educational system, in accordance with which all public schooling is delivered in Catalan. The party also supports strengthening the powers of the Spanish central institutions and curtailing the powers of regional administrations.
Other topics include a thorough reform of the electoral system with the aim of creating greater proportionality that would give less weight to single constituencies. They also support some changes in the 1978 constitution, especially regarding regional organisation. Regarding the chartered autonomous communities' tax regimes, the party respects and does not want to remove the Basque Country's and Navarre's chartered regimes because it believes that "they aren't discriminatory in and of themselves"; however, it criticises what it calls the miscalculation of the quota or contribution which is negotiated between governments and has been causing significant differences that have become outrageous". It proposes a review and a recalculation of the Basque Quota[clarification needed] and the Navarrese Contribution[clarification needed] in order to stop the Basque Country and Navarre being "net beneficiaries".
Prominent meetings of the party have been reportedly picketed by Catalan separatist groups on several occasions. Its leader Albert Rivera has received anonymous death threats urging him to quit politics. Two members of the ERC Youth were sentenced to prison for it.
Alternative views and past membership
Xavier Casals, an expert on far-right movements, has described Cs platform as populist. And another expert in far-right movements, investigative journalist ca:Jordi Borràs, characterized Cs as a "great magnet for the extreme right"—a trait, he alleged, they share with People's Party. Borràs also highlighted, in the same interview, two facts: Cs was not only the first political party that made a Parliament request to deprive immigrants of universal health care, but also the only party (along with PP) which refused to condemn the fascist coup d'état that led to the Spanish Civil War. Although Cs identifies its core ideology as progressive, its campaign videos feature notorious right-leaning socialites, journalists and television personalities such as Carlos Navarro, who is known for having voiced extremely xenophobic views as well as having displayed sexist and violent behaviour on television. More recently, another member was expelled after allegedly making xenophobic and anti-Catalan comments on Twitter.
In 2006, the newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya revealed that Rivera was a card-carrying member of the conservative People's Party (PP) between 2002 and 2006, and that he had left the PP only three months before running for election for the Citizen's Party; this was corroborated by El Mundo and El País. Despite these revelations, Rivera denied having been a full member of PP and implied that he had voted for the PSOE until recently. Past PP membership is common among Cs members. Former PSC activist Juan Carlos Girauta had joined the PP and became a prolific contributor to conservative journalism from his Libertad Digital column, before becoming a Citizens member and candidate in the 2014 European Election. During his long tenure as Libertad Digital columnist and COPE debater, Girauta expressed strong sympathies for right-wing Zionism (to the point of calling then-president Zapatero an anti-Semite) and lent credibility  to the now discredited book by Victor Farías dismissing Socialist politician Salvador Allende as a racist and a Social Darwinist, without clarifying that the quotations about genetic determinism in Allende's doctoral dissertation were themselves quotations from other authors (mostly Cesare Lombroso) or the fact that Allende was highly critical of these conclusions in his thesis, which was later published  as a rebuttal to Farías' position. Farías was later sued for this but Girauta never retracted his statements.
In 2015, a member of the Citizens electoral list for Gijón to the city council and regional elections posted pro-falangist, pro-Blue Division and pro-Hitler Youth messages on Facebook. Those same elections carried news of at least five other former card-carrying Falange and/or España 2000 members.
Ciutadans was formed in Catalonia in July 2006 in response to the call made in a manifesto by a group of well-known figures in Catalan civic society (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, promoted as an homogenous entity, has taken over the space where an undeniably diverse society lived".
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 Ciutadans, or Citizens. In their first conference of 2006, a young lawyer from Barcelona, Albert Rivera, was elected president.
In the 2006 elections for the Parliament of Catalonia, Cs won 3% of the votes and returned three MPs. Four years later, in 2010, a similar result was achieved (3.4%, 3 MPs). Mainly as a counter to the growing public support for independence in Catalonia, Cs – as one of the most outspoken opponents of this movement - has since further grown substantially in support. In the 2012 snap elections the number of votes more than doubled (7.6%, 9 MPs). All but one of these seats were in the Province of Barcelona. In the 2015 Catalan elections, Cs more than doubled its votes again (17.9%, 25 MPs), becoming the second largest fraction in the Catalan parliament.
In 2013, the party started organising 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 2015 Spanish general elections, Cs entered parliament with 13.9 % and 40 seats. Cs promised PSOE support in parliament in exchange for a number of political concessions. This pact, however, did not gain a parliamentarian majority, paving the way for a repeat election in 2016. In this elections Cs lost only 0.8%, but lost 8 seats due to Spain's electoral system. After these elections, Cs could strike a deal with the conservative PP in supporting its government in exchange for a number of political concessions. After a 10-month political deadlock, PP leader Mariano Rajoy was able to become Prime Minister thanks to Cs support and an abstention of PSOE.
The party was accepted into the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party on 4 June 2016.
Relations with the media
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 airtime to present its views on public television. They have also criticised 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.
European election internal dispute
In 2009 it was announced that Cs would run for the European Election allied with the Libertas coalition. 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 Cs.
Several intellectuals that had participated in the formation of Ciutadans later withdrew their support. Albert Boadella, for example, became one of the co-founders of the Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD) party led by former Basque Socialist politician Rosa Díez.
According to some members of Cs, the negotiations prior to this electoral pact were led personally and secretly by the party leader, Albert Rivera. This alienated the other two MPs (besides Rivera himself) and a significant part of the party from his leadership. In turn, the official stance of Cs is that the critics are using the dispute as a pretext to canvass support for the ideologically similar UPyD.
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Ciudadanos - Partido de la Ciudadanía (C's): Liberalism
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Su proyecto literario está centrado en "contar hechos susceptibles de verificación", y se mueve entre la revisión autobiográfica, o la narración de hechos como la reciente formación en Cataluña del Partido de los Ciudadanos (colectivo de carácter postnacionalista que centra su nuevo libro)
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Citizens - Party of the Citizenry
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Tercera, por el vacío de representación que existía en el espacio electoral de centro-izquierda no nacionalista
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Somos postnacionalistas y no queremos luchar contra un nacionalismo con otro. Vamos sin banderas, casi desnudos, abriendo camino sin fronteras desde la Constitución
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Somos un partido de tradición socialdemócrata y liberal-progresista
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El incremento se produjo a costa del PSC, donde en algunos de sus tradicionales «feudos» su electorado optó por votar a Ciutadans como opción «españolista» y de centro-izquierda más adecuada para no votar a su otra opción, el Partido Popular, más alejada ideológicamente de sus postulados.
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Cs (Ciudadanos). Catalan party (in practice), without reference in Spain. Centre-left
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C's - Ciudadanos - Partido de la Ciudadanía (Citizens - Party of the Citizenry). Creation: 2006. Positioning: Republican centre
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The centre-right, pro-business party Ciudadanos (Citizens) is forecast to take fourth place.
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- Ancelovici, Dufour & Nez 2016, p. 86: «The voters have been turning to either Podemos, a new radical left-wing party that grew out of the Indignados movement, or to Ciudadanos, a new center-right party that originated in Catalonia but has mobilized more broadly in recent years».
- Ferrán & Hilbink 2016, p. 144: «Ciudadanos is a center-right political party launched in Catalonia in 2006 by a group of self-styled intellectuals (who had published a “manifesto” in 2005) that extended across Spain after the Catalan elections of 2012».
- Butler 2016, p. 24: «On the centre-right of the political continuum, the Ciudadanos ('Citizens') party had less impact in the Basque Country or Navarre».
- Cohen & Muñoz 2016, p. 6: «A center-right party in Spain also emerged, which is called Ciudadanos (“Citizens”), whose base is primarily young and urban and whose focus for addressing income disparity and unemployment is by concentrating on growing the innovation economy in cities throughout the country».
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Party: Ciutadans (Cs) (Citizens). Left/right cleavage: Centre-right
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Yet the real change that makes these elections so groundbreaking has been the emergence of two change that makes these elections so groundbreaking has been the emergence of two new political forces in all the regional parliaments—one leftist party, Podemos, and one centre-right party, Ciudadanos—which have accounted for 20% of the regional vote and proved decisive in forming regional governments in the 17 autonomous communities, whether via coalition pacts, investiture agreements or legislative pacts
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- Cohen, Boyd; Muñoz, Pablo (2016), The Emergence of the Urban Entrepreneur: How the Growth of Cities and the Sharing Economy Are Driving a New Breed of Innovators, ABC-CLIO, 175, ISBN 978-1-4408-4456-0
- Príncipe, Catarina; Sunkara, Bhaskar (2016), Europe in Revolt: Mapping the New European Left, Haymarket Books, 280, ISBN 978-1-60846-658-0
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