Galician Nationalist Bloc

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Galician Nationalist Bloc
Bloque Nacionalista Galego
Spokesperson Ana Pontón
Founded 1982 (1982)
Merger of Galician People's Union
Galician National-Popular Assembly
Galician Socialist Party
Headquarters Santiago de Compostela
Newspaper Benegá ao día
Student wing Erguer-Estudantes da Galiza
Youth wing Galiza Nova and Isca!
Ideology Galician nationalism
Left-wing nationalism
Galician independence[1][2][3][3][4][5][6][7]
Political position Left-wing[21]
European affiliation European Free Alliance
European Parliament group The Greens–European Free Alliance
Trade union affiliation Confederación Intersindical Galega (CIG)
Colors      Sky blue
European Parliament
1 / 54
Galician Parliament
6 / 75
Provincial deputations
12 / 108
Mayors in Galicia
30 / 314
Town Councillors in Galicia
468 / 3,766

The Galician Nationalist Bloc (Galician: Bloque Nacionalista Galego, BNG [beˈneˈɣa]) is a political coalition of left-wing Galician nationalist parties. It is self-defined as a "patriotic front".

Formed in 1982, under the guidance of historical leader Xosé Manuel Beiras, the BNG calls for further devolution of powers to the Parliament of Galicia and the official and unambiguous[22] recognition of Galicia as a nation. The BNG also promotes affirmative action for the Galician language. The current leader – president of the National Council and national spokesperson – is Xavier Vence.

The BNG has strong ties with the Galician Trade Union Confederation (Confederación Intersindical Galega, CIG), with the student union Erguer-Estudantes da Galiza (Wake Up - Students of Galiza), the agrarian unions Galician Peasant Union (Sindicato Labrego Galego, SLG) and Galician Rural Federation (FRUGA), and with environmentalist, feminist and Galician language organizations.

From 2005 to 2009, BNG was part of a coalition government along with the Socialists' Party of Galicia, in which its leader, Anxo Quintana, served as the vice-president of the Galician regional government.


The BNG is composed of a majority of grassroots independent members and a number of political parties. Traditionally, the largest party and main ideological influence has been the Galician People's Union (Unión do Povo Galego, UPG). In origin, the UPG, and consequently the BNG, were strongly left-wing and even supported the idea of Galician independence. However, since 1990 BNG has gradually abandoned the secessionist discourse and claims for self-determination are rarely produced, especially since the moderate nationalist party Galician Unity (Unidade Galega) joined the coalition. According to its former leader, Anxo Quintana, BNG is not an "independentist" party,[23] although some individuals and organizations within it may express sympathy for the idea.[24][25] In fact, the hegemonic party (UPG) has supported independence since 2011.[26][27] Since the National Assembly of Amio (2012), the whole front has adopted the idea of independence and the creation of a Galician republic.[28][29] The same year, the Bloc adopted a position critical of the European Union.[30]

Generally speaking, the BNG can be considered a nationalist, pro-independence, left-wing and pro-Europe of the peoples organization.

2012 Split[edit]

In 2012 several parties and individuals abandoned the front, dissatisfied with its political line and the control exercised by the UPG.[31][32] Encontro Irmandiño abandoned the bloc[33] and joined with Galician Workers Front (Fronte Obreira Galega), the Galician People's Front (FPG), Movemento pola Base and other collectives to form Anova-Nationalist Brotherhood.[34] Anova obtained four seats in the 2012 Galician election as part of the Galician Left Alternative coalition. Anova is a pro-independence,[35][36] anticapitalist,[37] anti-globalization, republican and anti-imperialist organization.[38] Other groups that split were the more moderate social-democratic and autonomist Máis Galiza, Nationalist Left and the Galician Nationalist Party-Galicianist Party (PNG-PG). They formed Commitment to Galicia (CxG), a social-democratic and autonomist organization.[39] No CxG deputies were elected at the 2012 Galician election.

Electoral evolution[edit]

BNG began its electoral history in a modest way. However, it quickly progressed from a single seat in the Galician Parliament to its best results in 1997 when, under the leadership of Xosé Manuel Beiras, it won almost 25 per cent of the total vote and 18 seats (out of 75) at the Parliament.

After the 2001 Galician elections, the BNG still was the second-largest political group in the Galician Parliament with 17 seats, slightly ahead of the Socialists' Party of Galicia (PSdG) in total votes. Yet it was not until 2005 that BNG could force a coalition government, despite losing four seats and slipping to the third place. The BNG vice-president Anxo Quintana became then the vice-president of Galicia,[40] and BNG could directly appoint a number of conselleiros (ministers) for some government departments. Prior to that, the other major Galician party, the conservative People's Party (PPdeG), had remained in control of the overall majority and therefore of the Galician government. In the 2009 elections, a sharp reduction in votes for the PSdG, together with poor results for the BNG (12 seats), forced the left-wing coalition out of government to the benefit of the PPdeG.[41]

Meanwhile, the BNG won 208,688 votes (11.37 per cent of the Galician vote, 0.8 of the Spanish total) in the 2004 Spanish general election, gaining two of the 350 seats in the Spanish Congress of Deputies. Results in the 2008 Spanish general election were slightly improved (+0.7% in Galicia), although resulting in the same number of seats. Results in local elections have traditionally been good, with a constant increase in the number of seats won, allowing BNG to govern or to, at least, take part in the government coalitions of most Galician large urban centres.

BNG lost its single Member of the European Parliament, Camilo Nogueira, in the 2004 European Parliament election. However, BNG's interests are still represented thanks to an alliance established with the Basque Nationalist Party and the Catalan Convergence and Union. BNG maintains regular contact with its European group, the European Greens–European Free Alliance, through a permanent representative in the chamber.

The party also has a designated seat at the Spanish Senate, out of the three allowed for Galician representatives.

Elections to the Galician Parliament[edit]

Year Votes (in thousands) Percentage Deputies
1985 52 1
1989 105 8 5
1993 269 18.3 13
1997 395 24.8 18
2001 346 22.4 17
2005 311 18.8 13
2009 268 17 12
2012 145 10 7

Elections to the Spanish Parliament[edit]

Year Votes (in thousands) Percentage Deputies
1986 27 2.11 0
1989 47 3.59 0
1993 126 8.01 0
1996 220 12.85 2
2000 306 18.62 3
2004 208 11.37 2
2008 212 12.07 2
2011 183 11.25 2

Elections to the European Parliament[edit]

Year Votes (in thousands) Percentage Deputies
1987 45 3.7 0
1989 38 4.17 0
1994 32 11.4 0
1999 335 21.98 1
2004 (*) 141 12.32 2
2009 (*) 102 9.40 1
  • The 2004 candidature was a joint candidature with Catalan and Basque parties, hence the disparity between number of votes and number of seats achieved. Those 2 MEP, were members of the Basque Nationalist Party and of Convergencia i Unió (Catalan nationalist). Neither of them are members of the BNG.
  • The 2009 candidature was a joint candidature with Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, Aralar and other parties. The only MEP is rotative.

Local elections[edit]

Year Votes (in thousands) Percentage Councillors
1983 49 0
1987 61 4.53 139
1991 107 7.71 241
1995 208 13.15 428
1999 290 18.54 586
2003 325 19.41 595
2007 315 19.15 661
2011 262 16.52 590
2015 190 12.9 468

Internal organization[edit]

Anxo Quintana speaking at the 2006 National Assembly

BNG regulates itself through local, regional and national assemblies in which members can vote for and be elected as regional delegates and thereafter members of the National Council. However, the internal functioning of the party has come into criticism in recent years. As a result, several new organizations calling for "transparency and internal democracy" have formed within the BNG, namely the Encontro Irmandinho (led by former BNG president Xosé Manuel Beiras), Movemento Pola Base (formed by grassroots members and backed by the youth section Galiza Nova), and A Alternativa (supported by former Member of the European Parliament Camilo Nogueira). Furthermore, Anxo Quintana's leadership has been called into question after the poor results of the Galician 2009 elections.

Joint affiliation with other political groups outside the BNG is not allowed. The political groups currently recognised by the BNG (via a lengthy ratification process) are:

Coat of Arms of Galicia (Spain).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Historical parties and currents:


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b Principals of the BNG.
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Xavier Vence Deza, Crise e fracaso da Unión Europea neoliberal. Unha alternativa soberanista e democrática, Galiza Sempre, 2013.
  18. ^ Several authors (all militants or close to the BNG), A UE como problema. Reflexións desde Galiza, BNG, 2013.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko; Matti Mälkiä (2007). Encyclopedia of Digital Government. Idea Group Inc (IGI). pp. 394–. ISBN 978-1-59140-790-4. 
  22. ^ In reference to the fact that the Statute of Autonomy of Galicia of 1981 states that Galicia is a "historical nationality", rather than simply a nation.
  23. ^ Press release, commenting on Quintana's rejection of the secessionist option
  24. ^
  25. ^ Picture: members of Movemento pola Base displaying a banner with the motto "Independence and Socialism"
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ Point 3: National sovereignty
  28. ^
  29. ^ Sovereignty should materialize through the exercise of self-determination, to create a Galician democratic, secular and republican state: the Republic of Galiza
  30. ^ Point 1
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  40. ^ Official site of the Office of the Vice President of Galicia
  41. ^ Results of the 2009 Galician elections
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^ Galician Movement for Socialism: Principles and goals
  45. ^ Compromiso por Galicia llega a Ourense con Táboas y Cuiña. La Región. 2012.


  • Barreiro, H. et al. (2002): "A Galicia política e o nacionalismo do BNG", in Tempos Novos, no. 59, p. 24–33
  • Beramendi, J.G. (2003): "Fin de ciclo no BNG? : Beiras desafía a hexemonía da UPG", in Tempos novos, p. 48–50
  • BNG (2004): Documento de bases para a elaboración dun novo Estatuto para Galiza
  • Fernández Baz, M.A. (2003): A formación do nacionalismo galego contemporáneo (1963–1984), Laiovento
  • Rodríguez, F. (1999): "Fundación da UPG na frente nacionalista BNG", in Terra e tempo, no. 12, p. 43–45

External links[edit]

See also[edit]