Galician Nationalist Bloc

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Galician Nationalist Bloc
Bloque Nacionalista Galego
Spokesperson Xavier Vence
Founded 1982 (1982)
Headquarters Santiago de Compostela
Newspaper Benegá ao día
Student wing Galician Student League and Comités
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
Congress of Deputies
2 / 350
Spanish Senate
2 / 264
European Parliament
1 / 54
Galician Parliament
7 / 75
Mayors in Galicia
30 / 314
Town Councillors in Galicia
468 / 3,766
Politics of Galicia
Political parties

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 advocates 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 Confederación Intersindical Galega (Galician Unions Confederacy, CIG), with the student unions Liga Estudantil Galega (Galician Student League)[23] and Committees (Comités),[24] the agrarian unions Sindicato Labrego Galego (Galician Peasant Union, SLG) and FRUGA and with environmentalist, feminist and Galician language defender organizations.

From 2005 to 2009, BNG was part of a coalition government alongside the Socialist Party of Galicia, in which its leader, Anxo Quintana, was the vice-president of the Galician regional government.


The BNG is composed by a majority of grassroots independent members and a number of political parties. Traditionally, the largest party and main ideological influence has been the Unión do Povo Galego (UPG) (Galician People's Union). In origin, the UPG, and consequently the BNG, were strongly left-winged, and even supported the idea of Galician independence. Yet, from 1990 BNG has gradually abandoned the secessionist discourse and claims for self-determination are rarely produced, especially since the moderate nationalist party Unidade Galega (Galician Unity) joined the coalition. According to its former leader, Anxo Quintana, BNG is not an "independentist" party,[25] yet some individuals and organizations within it may express a sympathy for the idea.,[26][27] in fact the hegemonic party (UPG) supports independence since 2011.[28][29] Since the National Assembly of Amio (2012) the whole front has adopted the idea of independence and the creation of a Galician republic.[30][31] The same year the Bloc adopted a critical position against the European Union.[32]

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 of the UPG.[33][34] Encontro Irmandiño[35] abandoned the bloc and formed along with Fronte Obreira Galega, the FPG, Movemento pola Base and other collectives Anova-Nationalist Brotherhood.[36] Anova obtained 4 seats in the 2012 Galician election within the coalition AGE. Anova is a pro-independence,[37][38] anticapitalist,[39] anti-globalization, republican and anti-imperialist organization.[40] Other groups that split were the more moderate social-democratic and autonomist Máis Galiza, Nationalist Left and the PNG-PG. They formed Compromiso por Galicia (CxG). CxG is a social-democratic and autonomist organization.[41] CxG didn't obtained deputies in the 2012 Galician election.

Electoral evolution[edit]

BNG began its electoral history in a quite 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, achieved 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 Socialist Party of Galicia (PSdG) in total votes. Yet, it was in 2005 when BNG could force a coalition government despite losing four seats and slipping to the third place. Anxo Quintana became then the vice-president of Galicia[42] and BNG could directly appoint a number of conselleiros (ministers) for some departments of the government. 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 bad results for the BNG (12 seats), forced the left-wing coalition out of government, being replaced by the PPdeG.[43]

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 Parliament. 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 on the number of seats achieved, 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 ERC, 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 by local, regional and national assemblies, where members can vote and be voted to become 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 reaction to that two new organizations claiming for "transparency and internal democracy" have formed within the BNG. Namely these are: 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 MEP Camilo Nogueira). Furthermore, Anxo Quintana's leadership has been questioned after the bad results following 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
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  11. ^ a b Principals of the BNG.
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  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.
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  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", but not simply a nation
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  25. ^ Press release, commenting on Quintana's rejection of the secessionist option
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  27. ^ Picture: members of Movemento pola Base displaying a banner with the motto "Independence and Socialism"
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ Point 3: National sovereignty
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  31. ^ Sovereignty should materialize through the exercise of self-determination, to create a galician democratic, secular and republican state: the Republic of Galiza
  32. ^ Point 1
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  42. ^ Official site of the Office of the Vice President of Galicia
  43. ^ Results of the 2009 Galician elections
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  46. ^ Galician Movement for Socialism: Principles and goals


  • 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

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See also[edit]