Citizens (Spanish political party)

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President Albert Rivera Díaz
Secretary-General Matías Alonso Ruiz
Founded 7 June 2005 (CC)
4 March 2006 (C's)
Headquarters Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 751 A, 1º 2ª
08013 Barcelona
Youth wing Agrupación de Jóvenes de Ciudadanos – J's
Membership  (2015) Increase 25,290[1]
Ideology Liberalism[2][3]
Social democracy[4][5]
European federalism[9]
Spanish unionism
Political position Centre-left[14][15][16][17][18][19] to Centre-right[20][21][22][23][24][25]
European Parliament group Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Colours      Orange[26]
Congress of Deputies
40 / 350
2 / 266
European Parliament
2 / 54
Regional Parliaments
93 / 1,248
Local Government
1,527 / 67,611
Politics of Spain
Political parties

Citizens (Spanish: Ciudadanos [θjuðaˈðanos]; Catalan: Ciutadans [siwtəˈðans]; Basque: Hiritarrak; Galician: Cidadáns; shortened as C’s), officially Citizens – Party of the Citizenry,[27] is a liberal[2] political party in Spain which is described by itself and some observers as centre-left and non-nationalist, although others have described it as centre-right. Citizens presents itself as a party which offers a mix of social democracy and liberal-progressive positions on its platform.[28]

It was founded in Catalonia, in whose Parliament it has 25 deputies. It aims to defend the use of the Spanish language[29] and opposes Catalan nationalism. The leader of the party uses the phrase: "Catalonia is my homeland, Spain is my country and Europe is our future" to outline the party's ideology.


Ideologically, C's describes itself as a progressive,[30] secular, constitutionalist,[30] European federalist and postnationalist[31] party. In addition, Albert Rivera has said that C's defends autonomism[32]

According to its declared identity signs, C's advocates four basic lines of action:

  1. Defense of individual rights.
  2. Defense of social rights as well as the welfare state.
  3. Uphold the State of Autonomies and Europe's unity.
  4. Regeneration of democracy and of political life.


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 Catalonian 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".[33]

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, C’s 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, C’s – 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 March 2015 almost all surveys predicted further growth in the 2015 Catalan elections and opinion polls showed them to be the third largest party.

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 2014 European elections the party received 3.16% of the national vote, and elected two MEPs.[34] Both MEPs joined the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group.


The C's have outlined some policies for the 2015 general election:

  • Lowering corporation tax to 25%, in line with many other European countries.[35]
  • Lower and harmonise VAT to a rate between 16% and 19%.
  • Capping the top-rate of income tax at 40%.
  • Increase R&D spending to 3% of GDP.
  • Abolish or merge municipalities with a population less than 5,000.
  • Reducing bureaucracy and red tape.
  • More transparent party funding.
  • Crackdown on corruption.
  • Reform or abolish the Senate.[36]
  • Earned income tax credit to fight in-work poverty.
  • "Austrian Backpack" transferable unemployment compensation.[clarification needed]
  • Devolving training to the citizens from employers associations and trade unions, known to have misused formation funds.
  • Easing immigration policies to attract talent and investors.
  • Legalizing prostitution and marijuana.

Political background[edit]

Albert Rivera, president of the party

C's is mostly considered a liberal party both in economic policies[clarification needed] and social issues[citation needed], however its political discourse is mainly centered around opposition to Catalan nationalism,[37] 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 C's 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.[38] C's criticise any sort of nationalism, "including the Spanish nationalism that Mr. Ynestrillas defends".[39]

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 Catalonian public administration.[40][41] The party challenges this policy and defends equal treatment of the Spanish and Catalan languages.[41] It also opposes the current language policy within the Catalonian 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.[42]

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".[43] It proposes a review and a recalculation of the Basque Quota and the Navarrese Contribution in order to stop the Basque Country and Navarre being "net beneficiaries".[44]

Among other policies, they also support a regulation of prostitution, marijuana and euthanasia.

Election results[edit]

Congress of Deputies and Senate[edit]

Election Congress of Deputies Senate Rank Government Leader
Votes  % ±pp Seats won +/− Seats won +/−
2008 46,313 0.2% New
0 / 350
0 / 208
±0 #13 No seats Albert Rivera
2015 3,500,541 13.9% New
40 / 350
0 / 208
±0 #4 To be determined Albert Rivera

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Election Votes  % ±pp Seats won +/− Rank Candidate
2009A 22,903 0.1% New
0 / 54
±0 #11 Miguel Durán
2014 497,146 3.2% Increase3.1
2 / 54
Increase2 #8 Javier Nart

A Contested as Libertas Spain.

Local councils[edit]

Local councils
Election Votes  % ±pp Seats won +/− Rank Leader
2007 67,298 0.3% New
13 / 66,131
Increase13 #17 Albert Rivera
2011 35,060 0.2% Decrease0.1
7 / 68,230
Decrease6 #23 Albert Rivera
2015 1,467,663 6.6% Increase6.4
1,527 / 67,611
Increase1,520 #3 Albert Rivera


  1. ^ "Citizens tenfolds the number of members in two years; with 20,300 it triples UPyD" (in Spanish). Voz Pópuli. 2015-03-31. 
  2. ^ a b Wolfram Nordsieck. "SPAIN". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 10 January 2016. Ciudadanos - Partido de la Ciudadanía (C's): Liberalism 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Ramón Rallo, Juan (24 April 2015). "¿Ciudadanos liberales? (III)". Vozpópuli. Retrieved 28 May 2015. Como ya sucediera con el mercado laboral o con las políticas de crecimiento económico, la difusión del programa fiscal de Ciudadanos constata, nuevamente, que no nos hallamos ante un partido liberal, sino ante una formación socialdemócrata que aspira a conseguir una reordenación “sensata” del entramado burocrático e intervencionista actual pero sin reducirlo lo más mínimo 
  5. ^ O'Leary, Elisabeth (8 February 2015). "Spain's Podemos leads poll but may have peaked - El Pais". Reuters. Retrieved 12 April 2015. Ciudadanos (Citizens), social democrats who defend national unity and have drawn voters on the left and right disenchanted with corruption in politics, saw a 4 percentage point rise to 12.2 percent 
  6. ^ «and has a left-liberal, secularist slant» - Demsoc Europe
  7. ^ Auzias & Labourdette 2014, p. 31: «Enfin, Ciutadans (C's), avec 9 députés au parlement, s'oppose aux nationalistes et défend le modèle de l'Etat des autonomies».
  8. ^ (Spanish) Directo de los resultados de las elecciones catalanas 2012 - Público
  9. ^ Citizens – Party of the Citizenship (C’s) - Demsoc Europe
  10. ^ Castillo, Jésus (March 18, 2015). "Spain: Podemos, or how to square a circle". Flash Economics, Economic Research (Natixis) (243): 2. ISSN 2117-9387. Retrieved January 30, 2016. C's - Ciudadanos - Partido de la Ciudadanía (Citizens - Party of the Citizenry). Creation: 2006. Positioning: Republican centre 
  11. ^ López Basaguren & Escajedo San Epifanio 2013, p. 871: «This paper has presented a multistage model of voting for nationalist parties, as well as for the nonnationalist Ciutadans-Partit de la Ciutadania»
  12. ^ (Spanish) Ciutadans renuncia a las generales tras el 'no' de UPyD a concurrir en coalición - El Mundo
  13. ^ "Sabino Méndez hablara de la inmortalidad del rock'n'roll en el ciclo La Música Contada" (in Spanish). Asociación de Compositores y Autores de Música. 23 October 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 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) 
  14. ^ Delgado Ramos, David (2011). "Elecciones al Parlament 2010: fin de ciclo en Cataluña" (pdf). Revista de Derecho Político (in Spanish) (UNED) 80. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 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. 
  15. ^ Gutiérrez Díez, José Manuel (January 2014). "A case of misreckoning: the Catalonian election of 2012" (pdf). BORDA: Working Papers (University of Salamanca). Retrieved 8 August 2015. C’s (Ciudadanos). Catalan party (in practice), without reference in Spain. Centre-left 
  16. ^ Catalan vote sends mixed messages - Economist Intelligence Unit
  17. ^ Díez, Anabel (9 February 2015). "Latest poll shows support for new party Podemos leveling out". El País. Retrieved 5 May 2015. new left-wing party Podemos and the center-left non-nationalist Catalan formation Ciudadanos are faring well in the polls 
  18. ^ (Spanish) «C's Ciudadanos Centro-izquierda», Ayuntamiento de Barcelona
  19. ^ Ciutadans ja es veu amb grup parlamentari propi al nou Parlament - Directe!cat
  20. ^ Medda-Windischer & Carlà 2015, p. 178: «It should be said that not all political parties and social entities signed the Agreement: the People's Party (center-right) and Ciutadans (center-right, recently-created pro-Spanish party in the Catalan Parliament) rejected the Agreement on the basis that it had been conceived in a clearly nationalist fashion, whereas the NGO SOS-Racisme and the Trade Union Commissions Obreres considered the document not progressive enough».
  21. ^ Triviño Salazar, Juan Carlos (2014). "Immigrant Organizations and the Politicization of Cultural Diversity in the City" (pdf). European University Institute-Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. Retrieved January 2, 2016. Party: Ciutadans (C’s) (Citizens). Left/right cleavage: Centre-right 
  22. ^ Gómez Fortes, Braulio; Urquizu, Ignacio (September 23, 2015). "Political Corruption and the End of two-party system after the May 2015 Spanish Regional Elections". Regional and Federal Studies (Routledge) 25 (4): 379–389. doi:10.1080/13597566.2015.1083013. ISSN 1743-9434. Retrieved January 2, 2016. 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 
  23. ^ After Syriza: What’s next for Spain?, Eastminster
  24. ^ Protesters march against austerity measures in Madrid, The Guardian
  25. ^ Buck, Tobias (24 February 2015). "Rajoy promises jobs and growth as fringe parties gain ground". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 April 2015. On the center-right, Ciudadanos is winning backing from former supporters of the PP, suggesting the ruling party’s stranglehold on the conservative camp is drawing to an end 
  26. ^ Manual de Identidad Corporativa
  27. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "SPAIN". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 10 January 2016. Citizens - Party of the Citizenry 
  28. ^ "Albert Rivera, la cara visible de Ciutadans". laSexta. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2015. Somos un partido de tradición socialdemócrata y liberal-progresista 
  29. ^ Susan J. Henders (2 March 2010). Territoriality, Asymmetry, and Autonomy: Catalonia, Corsica, Hong Kong, and Tibet. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 267–. ISBN 978-0-230-10582-9. 
  30. ^ a b (Spanish) «C's es un partido progresista y constitucionalista», El País
  31. ^ (Spanish) «Somos postnacionalistas y no queremos luchar contra un nacionalismo con otro. Vamos sin banderas, casi desnudos, abriendo camino sin fronteras desde la Constitución», C's
  32. ^ Rivera: “Hemos visto documentos que demuestran que CiU se ha estado llevando una parte de las comisiones de obras en Cataluña”, Crónica Global
  33. ^ Manifesto signed by some intellectuals which preceded the formation of the party
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Ciudadanos". Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  36. ^ "Ciudadanos". Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Pro-Spain Ciutadans group demands Mas step down as regional premier". El País. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  38. ^ Lluís Orriols (13 August 2013). "Ciutadans, ¿un partido de izquierdas o de derechas?" (in Spanish). El País. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  39. ^ (Spanish) [2], Diario Crítico
  40. ^ "City Council of Barcelona: "Catalan will continue to be the Council's working language"". City Council of Barcelona. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  41. ^ a b "Albert Rivera, Ciutadans candidate: "An independent Catalonia would fail"" (in Spanish). 20 minutos. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  42. ^ "Ciudadanos - Modelo de estado". Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  43. ^ (Spanish) Futuro incierto en País Vasco y Navarra para Podemos, UPyD y Ciudadanos: ¿quitarán los fueros? - Vozpópuli
  44. ^ (Spanish) Ciutadans propone revisar el cupo vasco y navarro reformando la Constitución - Lainformació


External links[edit]