Citizens

Citizens – Party of the Citizenry
Ciudadanos - Partido de la Ciudadanía
President Albert Rivera
Secretary-General Matías Alonso Ruiz
Founded June 7, 2005
(CC)
March 4, 2006
(C's)
Headquarters Plaça Urquinaona, 6 10º A
08010 Barcelona
Ideology Anti-nationalism, Liberalism, Social liberalism
International affiliation None
European affiliation Libertas[1]
European Parliament Group Currently no MEPs
Official colours Orange and White
Parliament of Catalonia
3 / 135
Politics of Spain
Political parties
Elections

The Citizens – Party of the Citizenry (Spanish: Ciudadanos – Partido de la Ciudadanía, official name used nationwide; Catalan: Ciutadans – Partit de la Ciutadania, used co-officially with former in Catalonia; short acronym C's) is a Spanish political party which describes itself as centre-left and non-nationalist[2]. It is mostly active in Catalonia, where it is the smallest parliamentary party with three MPs in the Catalan Parliament.

Contents

History

Ciutadans was formed in Catalonia in July 2006 in response to the call made in a manifesto by a group of Catalan intellectuals critical of Catalan nationalism (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, postulated as an homogenous entity, has taken occupation of the space where an undeniably diverse society lives".[3]

This group of intellectuals, almost entirely based in Barcelona, formed a political platform called Ciutadans de Catalunya, or Citizens of Catalonia, in July 2005. They organized several round tables and conferences and by 2006 they announced the formation of a new political party, called simply Ciutadans, or Citizens. In the first congress of 2006, a young lawyer from Barcelona, Albert Rivera, was elected its president.

In the Catalan elections of 2006, the party gained 3.04% of the vote and won three seats in the Catalan Parliament, all of them elected in the Province of Barcelona.

Program and ideological background

C's is mostly considered a liberal party, both in economic policies and social issues. However, the party's program is mostly centered around the opposition to Catalan nationalism, to the extent that it has been frequently reproached of being a single issue party, a label refused by its members.

One of the main issues raised by the party is the Catalan language policy, which actively promotes the use of Catalan language. The party challenges this policy and defends an equal treatment of Spanish and Catalan. It also opposes the language policy within the Catalan school system, according to which all public education is carried out in Catalan.

The party also supports strengthening the powers of the Spanish central institutions and curtailing the powers of regional administrations.[4]

Other topics include a thorough reform of the Spanish electoral system in the sense of a greater proportionality that would give less weight to single constituencies. They also support some changes in the Spanish constitution, especially regarding the regional organization. Among other, they propose the complete abolition of the fiscal autonomy for the Basque Country.[5] They also support a regulation of prostitution, marijuana and euthanasia.

Support, membership and organization

C's is a political force only at the regional level. In the national elections of 2008, it gained only 0.18% of the Spanish votes: in Catalonia, its support was somewhat higher - 0.74% of votes - but significantly smaller compared to the percentages obtained in the Catalan regional elections of 2006 (3.04%) and 2010 (3.4%).

C's draws most of its support from the Barcelona metropolitan area. In the 2010 regional elections, the party gained more than 4% in the counties (comarques) of Barcelonès, Baix Llobregat, Vallès Occidental and Tarragonès. Everywhere else, it remained under 4%, with the worst results in the circumscription of Girona (1,69%) and Lleida (1,79%). Only in the circumscription of Barcelona, C's received more than 3% of the vote, which is the threshold for parliamentary representation.

Controversies

During the election campaign of 2006, the party's president Albert Rivera appeared completely naked in a poster in order to attract publicity to the party.[6][7]

In 2006, the newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya revealed that Rivera was a member of the Conservative People's Party (PP) between 2002 and 2006, and that he jumped off PP just three months before running for elections with the Citizen's Party[8] However, Rivera denied being a full member of the party, and only admitted of having participated in some of the actions of the youth section of the party.

Relations to the media

The party frequently complains about alleged boycott on the side of Catalan media, especially the public television: according to their opinion, the party is given too little time to present its views on public television.[9] They have also criticized 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 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 disputes

In 2009 it was announced that C's would run for the European election allied with the eurosceptic Libertas coalition. Other partners in the Libertas ticket include parties deemed by some as far-right or ultra-Catholic, something which would seem to contradict the declared social-liberal and secular stances of C's.

According to some members of C's, the negotiations prior to this electoral pact were led personally and secretly by the party leader, Albert Rivera. This fact has alienated the other two MPs (besides Rivera himself) and a significant part of the party from his leadership[10]. In turn, the official stance of C's is that the critics are acting more as a fifth column of the ideologically close Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD)[11], all resulting in a major crisis within the party.

Several intellectuals that had participated in the formation of Ciutadans, later withdrew their support from C's. Albert Boadella, for example, became one of the co-founders of the Union, Progress and Democracy party led by former Basque Socialist politician Rosa Diez.

Other

Although the party was created in Catalonia as "a response to Catalan nationalism"[citation needed], additional branches have sprung up in the rest of Spain, although without much success.

Prominent meetings of the party have been reportedly picketed by Catalan independentist groups on several occasions[12] while its leader Albert Rivera has received anonymous death threats urging him to quit politics.[13][14][15][16].


See also

Languages of Catalonia

Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD)

External links

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Manifesto signed by some intellectuals which preceded the formation of the party
  4. ^ http://www.ciudadanos-cs.org/jsp/publico/diloconnosotros/modelo_estado.do
  5. ^ http://www.ciudadanos-cs.org/jsp/publico/diloconnosotros/modelo_estado.do
  6. ^ http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/Desnudo/presidir/Generalitat/elpporesp/20060916elpepunac_4/Tes
  7. ^ http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2006/09/16/espana/1158417149.html
  8. ^ "Albert Rivera estuvo afiliado en el PP hasta tres meses antes de presidir Ciutadans", El Mundo, November 21, 2006 (in Spanish)
  9. ^ [3]
  10. ^ [4]
  11. ^ [5]
  12. ^ Agreden al periodista Arcadi Espada en un acto de Ciutadans de Catalunya en Girona contra el Estatut | elmundo.es
  13. ^ El presidente de Ciutadans, amenazado de muerte por "luchar contra el nacionalismo" - 20minutos.es
  14. ^ Albert Rivera es amenazado de muerte para que deje la política / EL MUNDO
  15. ^ El presidente de Ciutadans denuncia haber recibido amenazas de muerte · ELPAÍS.com
  16. ^ Albert Rivera denuncia amenazas de muerte para que deje su política "contra el nacionalismo"- Lavanguardia.es - Noticias, actualidad, última hora en Cataluña y España

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