Citizens (Spanish political party)

Citizens (Spanish: Ciudadanos [θjuðaˈðanos] listen ; Catalan: Ciutadans [siwtəˈðans]; Basque: Hiritarrak; Galician: Cidadáns; shortened as CsC's until January 2017), officially Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (Ciudadanos–Partido de la Ciudadanía),[19] is a centre[13][14] to centre-right[10][20][21] political party in Spain.

Originating in Catalonia in 2006, the party received over 25% of votes and 36 deputies in the December 2017 Catalan regional election, making it the largest single party in the Parliament of Catalonia. Nevertheless, it has never taken power so their actual political stance remains a source of controversy between supporters and adversaries beyond their strong opposition to Catalan nationalism,[22][23][24] of which there is no disputation. The party used the phrase "Catalonia is my homeland, Spain is my country and Europe is our future" to outline the party's ideology, which the party self-describes as postnationalist.[25][26] In spite of that, it has deemed by a variety of sources (including a peer-reviewed article[10]) to profess a populist Spanish nationalist ideology.[27][28] Citizens used to present itself as a centre-left party that offered a mix of social-democratic and liberal-progressive positions on its platform;[29] however, the party has more recently been described by media[30][31] and CIS[32] (a Spanish public research institute) as right-oriented.

Citizens

Ciudadanos
AbbreviationC’s
PresidentAlbert Rivera
Secretary-GeneralJosé Manuel Villegas
SpokespersonInés Arrimadas
Spokesperson in CongressJuan Carlos Girauta
Founded7 June 2005 (CC)
4 March 2006 (Cs) in Catalonia
HeadquartersGran Via de les Corts Catalanes 751 A, 1º 2ª
08013 Barcelona, Catalonia
Youth wingGroup of Young Citizens – J's
Membership (2016)Decrease 30,867[1]
IdeologyLiberalism[2][3]
Secularism[4]
Populism[5][6]
Pro-Europeanism[7]
Postnationalism[8][9]
Spanish nationalism[10]
Conservative liberalism[11][12]
Political positionCentre[13][14] to
centre-right[15][16][17]
European affiliationAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
European Parliament groupAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Colours     Orange[18]
Congress of Deputies
32 / 350
Senate
6 / 265
European Parliament
2 / 54
Regional Parliaments
117 / 1,248
Local Government
1,527 / 67,611
Website
www.ciudadanos-cs.org

History

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, Francesc de Carreras 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, 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. As PP's Mariano Rajoy refused the mandate to form a government, Cs promised the second-largest party PSOE support in parliament in exchange for a number of political concessions. This pact, however, would have needed the support of Podemos and finally 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.

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 party was accepted into the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party on 4 June 2016.[35]

Ideology

At first, Citizens branded 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 agreed with the party's ideario by describing Cs as centre-left[36][37][38][39][40][41] and others agree with Albert Rivera's last definition by describing the party as centrist,[42][43][44][45][46][47][48] the vast majority of them have positioned Citizens on the centre-right.[49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58][59] In a 2014 interview, Congress spokesman Juan Carlos Girauta explicitly stated that he did not perceive any significant differences between Citizens, the centrist Union, Progress and Democracy and the far-right-wing, Spanish nationalist party Vox.[60]

Official stance

Ideologically, Cs describes itself as a progressive,[61] secular, constitutional, European federalist and postnationalist political party.[26] Ciudadanos rejects the autonomous communities' right to self-determination outside of the Spanish state. As an originally Catalan party it specifically opposes Catalan nationalism, due to viewing it as an outdated, authoritarian and socially divisive ideology which fuels hatred among both Catalans and Spaniards.[22][23][24] 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[62][63] and opposes federating the autonomous communities. Even though Citizens is currently a supporter of European federalism,[64] it ran in the 2009 European Parliament election in coalition with the pan-European, Eurosceptic party Libertas.[65] 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".[66][67][68] According to its declared identity signs, Cs advocates four basic lines of action:

  1. Defence of individual rights.
  2. Defence 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.

Main tenets

Albert Rivera - 02
Albert Rivera, president of the party

Cs displays a political discourse mainly centered around opposition to Catalan nationalism,[69] 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.[70] Cs criticise any sort of nationalism, "including the Spanish nationalism that Mr. Ynestrillas defends".[71]

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.[72][73] The party challenges this policy and defends equal treatment of the Spanish and Catalan languages.[73] 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.[74]

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".[75] It proposes a review and a recalculation of the Basque and Navarrese Economic Agreements in order to stop the Basque Country and Navarre being "net beneficiaries".[76]

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

Prominent meetings of the party have been reportedly picketed by Catalan separatist groups on several occasions.[77] 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.[78][79][80][81][82] Members of Ciudadanos have repeatedly taken part in violent attacks on Catalan targets[83][84][85][86], and far-right and ultranationalist groups are usually present in their demonstrations.[87][88] In one instance, a Telemadrid cameraman was assaulted, allegedly because he was mistaken for a member of Catalan broadcaster TV3. [89][90][91]

Policies

Seu ciutadans carrer Balmes 2015
Citizens Headquarters in Barcelona, Spain.

The Cs outlined some policies for the 2015 general election:

  • Lower corporation tax to 25%[92]
  • Lower and harmonise VAT to a rate between 16% and 19%
  • Cap the top-rate of income tax at 40%
  • Increase research and development 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.[93]
  • Instate an earned income tax credit to fight in-work poverty
  • "Austrian Backpack"[93] transferable unemployment compensation where a worker accumulates funds throughout their 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

Spanish nationalism

Although the party defines itself as postnationalist, it has been deemed by a variety of sources (including peer-reviewed expert texts)[10] to profess a populist Spanish nationalist ideology.[27][28] In a party conference held on May 20, 2018 to present its platform España Ciudadana, Albert Rivera said in a hall filled with flags of Spain:

I do not see reds and blues, I see Spaniards. I do not see, as they say, urban people and rural people, I see Spaniards. I do not see young or old, I see Spaniards. I do not see workers and entrepreneurs, I see Spaniards. I do not see believers or agnostics, I see Spaniards. [...] So, compatriots, with Citizens, let's go for that Spain, let's feel proud of being Spaniards again.[94][95]

Controversy

Alternative views and past membership

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.[96][97] Despite these revelations, Rivera denied having been a full member of PP and implied that he had voted for the PSOE until recently.[98] Past PP membership is common among Cs members. Former PSC activist Juan Carlos Girauta had joined the PP[99] and became a prolific contributor to conservative journalism from his Libertad Digital column,[100] before becoming a Citizens member and candidate in the 2014 European Election.[101] 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)[102] and lent credibility [103][104] to the now discredited book by Victor Farías[105] 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 [106] as a rebuttal to Farías' position. Farías was later sued for this[107] 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.[108] Those same elections carried news of at least five other former card-carrying Falange and/or España 2000 members.[109]

An altercation took place in Canet de Mar on May 21, 2018 between pro-independence local residents, who had planted yellow crosses on the beach to honor imprisoned and fugitive politicians, and anti-independence individuals who decided to remove said crosses. The altercation left at least three people wounded, including an 82-year-old man and a local CUP councilor who explicitly accused Citizens and Falange militants from across the whole region to be among the provocateurs. Citizens Member of Parliament Carlos Carrizosa dismissed the claim that either "councillors or party activists" from the party were involved in the incidents.[110][111][112] Four days later, and despite admonishments and warnings by President of the Parliament Roger Torrent, Carrizosa himself removed a yellow ribbon from the seats reserved for absent Cabinet ministers, forcing the President to suspend the entire session.[113]

Relations with the media

During the 2006 Catalan election campaign, the party's president Albert Rivera appeared completely naked in a poster in order to attract publicity to the party.[114][115] In the beginning, the party frequently complained about an alleged boycott on the part of Catalan media: in their opinion, the party was given too little airtime to present its views on the Catalan public television.[116]

2009 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.[117][118][119]

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.[120] 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.[121]

2019 European election

Albert Rivera has chosen his economic head to lead the bet of Citizens in the European elections of 2019. Luis Garicano, responsible for Economy of the party, will be the candidate for the elections to the European Parliament of May 2019. [122]

Funding

A credit was requested for party funding in 2015 to Banco Popular Español, up to 2017 an IBEX 35 member.[123]

In 2017 the Court of Audit found irregularities in the accounting books of several political groups, Citizens among them. In respect of Citizens the irregularities included illegal expenses for advertising on local television in 2015.[124][125]

Cs member Jorge Soler appeared in December 2017 on the TV3 debate Preguntes freqüents, during which journalist Beatriz Talegón addressed him about the 2.1 million euros spent by Cs in the 21-D Catalan election campaign—higher than the budget spent by any other party on that election. Talegón inquired about the sources of this funding. Soler replied that this ample budget could be ascribed to the "austerity" of their party. [126]

Electoral performance

Cortes Generales

Congress of Deputies
Election Seats Vote % Status Leader
2008
0 / 350
46,313 (#13) 0.18 N/A Albert Rivera
2015
40 / 350
3,514,528 (#4) 13.94 Opposition Albert Rivera
2016
32 / 350
3,141,570 (#4) 13.06 Opposition Albert Rivera

Senate

Senate
Election Seats Leader
2008
0 / 208
Albert Rivera
2015
0 / 208
Albert Rivera
2016
0 / 208
Albert Rivera

European Parliament

European Parliament
Election Seats Vote %
2009
0 / 54
with Libertas
2014
2 / 54
497,146 (#8) 3.16

Regional parliaments

Election Seats Vote % Status
Catalonia 2006
3 / 135
89,840 (#6) 3.03 Opposition
2010
3 / 135
106,154 (#6) 3.39 Opposition
2012
9 / 135
275,007 (#6) 7.57 Opposition
2015
25 / 135
736,364 (#2) 17.90 Opposition
2017
36 / 135
1,109,732 (#1) 25.35 Opposition

References

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Bibliography

External links

Media related to Ciudadanos-Partido de la Ciudadanía at Wikimedia Commons

Albert Rivera

Albert Rivera Díaz, formerly named Alberto Carlos Rivera Díaz (born 15 November 1979) is a Spanish lawyer and politician, who has been the leader of Citizens since July 2006. He is a member of the Congress of Deputies and a former member of the Parliament of Catalonia.

C's

C's may refer to:

The Boston Celtics, American basketball franchise

Citizens (Spanish political party)

Carlos Carrizosa Torres

Carlos Carrizosa Torres (born 22 March 1964) is Spanish Catalan politician and lawyer, member of Parliament of Catalonia where is the spokesperson of the party Citizens-Party of the Citizenship.

He studied Law in the University of Barcelona and is a member of the Lawyer Association of Barcelona. He is currently working as a lawyer.

He became a member of the Steering Committee of the party in 2011, having been a member before between 2007 and 2009. He was elected member of parliament in the 2012 Catalan Parliament Election.

Carolina Punset

Carolina Punset (born 5 January 1971) is a Spanish politician, lawyer and forensic handwriting expert. Punset has a post-graduate certificate in international development cooperation and non-governmental organisations.

Aside from her work as a lawyer and forensic handwriting expert, Carolina Punset has also developed her professional expertise in the field of non-governmental organisations such as ‘Proyecto Hombre’ (reintegration of drug addicts into society), Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders, the City of Joy Foundation in India, and others.

In 2007 she headed a local Green party in Altea, Alicante called ‘Ciudadanos Independientes por Altea’ [Independent Citizens for Altea] or CIPAL. She was Altea Town Councillor for urban planning, agriculture, health and public participation (Altea Town Council).In September 2013 she joined the political association ‘Movimiento Ciudadanos’, which is the association which gave rise to the national spread of the political party ‘Ciudadanos’. In the 2014 European elections, Carolina Punset won the primary elections and third place on the party lists. In February 2016 she succeeded Juan Carlos Girauta, who is now Ciudadanos’ spokesperson in the lower house of the Spanish Parliament; as Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

Prior to that, Carolina Punset was a Member of the Valencian Regional Parliament and autonomous community spokesperson for ‘Ciudadanos’, a post she had held since the municipal and autonomous community elections in May 2015, having won the party’s primary.

Carolina Punset is a member of the National Executive of ‘Ciudadanos’, responsible for the environmental agenda.

In 2012, she stood as an independent Europe Écologie Les Verts candidate in the 5th constituency (French citizens resident in Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Monaco) in France’s legislative elections.

She is the author of a book published in 2013: ‘No importa de dónde vienes, sino adónde vas’ [Where you are going matters, not where you come from], in which she laid out her basic ideology as an ecologist.

On 20 October 2018 she announced she was leaving 'Ciudadanos', criticising the leadership and citing a shift in the direction of the party.

Citizens Party

Citizens Party or Citizens' Party may refer to:

Citizens (Spanish political party)

Citizens Party (Hong Kong)

Citizens' Party (Iceland)

Citizens' Party (Finland)

Citizens Party, a short-lived party label used in 1888 in Milwaukee (see Thomas H. Brown)

Citizens' Party (Singapore)

Citizens Party (United States), a short lived political party organized by Barry Commoner in 1980

Citizens Party of the United States, founded in 2010

Nationalist Citizens' Party of the Philippines

White Citizens Parties, local Jim Crow era parties in the Southern United States

Domingo Lorenzo Rodríguez

Domingo Lorenzo Rodríguez is a Spanish politician. He was elected to the Congress of Deputies in the December 20, 2015 general election, standing as a Ciudadanos (C's) candidate in Castellón province.On July 22, 2015 he was named alternate senator.Rodríguez holds a master's degree in Law. He formed part of the Regional Police Brigade of Madrid.

Ignacio Aguado

Ignacio Jesús Aguado Crespo (born 23 February 1983) is a Spanish lawyer and politician from CitizenS (Cs), serving as the party's spokesman in the Assembly of Madrid.

Ignacio Prendes

José Ignacio Prendes Prendes (born 22 February 1965 in Gijón) is a Spanish politician and member of Congress of the Deputies with the Citizens-Party of the Citizenry party (C's).

He studied law at Oviedo University. In 1998, he obtained a master's degree in law and taxation in Madrid. After that, he started his own practice in Gijón, focussing in real estate law.

For a time he was a member of the Citizens-Party of the Citizenry political party. Later, he joined Plataforma Pro which was created to offer an alternative to the established parties. Out of Plataforma Pro emerged the new UPyD party, of which he has been a member since its foundation. He is currently a member of the Direction Council of the party, as coordinator of Institutional Action. In the 2012 Asturian election he headed the UPyD candidate list for the central Asturias constituency. His party received 3.75% of the vote in Asturias as a whole and 4.3% of the vote in his constituency.

On 2015, he came back to C's after being expelled from UPyD. He was elected firstly as member of the General Junta of the Principality of Asturias in the Regional election and later as Deputy in the General election.

Inés Arrimadas

Inés Arrimadas García (Spanish: [iˈnes ariˈmaðas]; born 3 July 1981) is a Spanish lawyer, politician and the leader of Citizens in Catalonia. Before entering in politics she worked as a consultant.

Arrimadas was born and raised in Jerez de la Frontera.

She became a member of the party in 2011 and she first started being the spokesperson of the youth section. She became a member of parliament after the 2012 election. She became the Leader of the Opposition in the Catalan Parliament in 2015.

Javier Nart

Javier Nart (born 19 August 1947) is a journalist and politician. He is a member of the European Parliament for Citizens.

Juan Carlos Girauta

Juan Carlos Girauta (born 12 March 1961) is a Spanish politician, who, from July 2014 until January 2016 served as a Member of the European Parliament, representing Spain for the Citizens political party.A former PSC member, Girauta later 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. For years he lent support to the conspiracy theory about the authorship of the 11-M Madrid train bombings in 2004. 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.

Juan Marín (Spanish politician)

Juan Antonio Marín Lozano; born 31 December 1962) is a Spanish politician who is the leader of the Citizens (Cs) party branch in Andalusia. He has been the party's candidate for regional President in the 2015 and 2018 regional elections.

Matías Alonso Ruiz

Matías Alonso Ruiz (born 8 April 1952 in La Línea de la Concepción) is a Spanish politician, secretary general of Citizens-Party of the citizens. He is also a regional depute of Catalonia.

Podemos Region of Murcia

Podemos Region of Murcia is a branch of Podemos in the Region of Murcia, Spain.After primaries process ended on 14 February 2015, the first Citizen Regional Council was elected. Óscar Urralburu Arza was elected the secretary general.In the 2015 Murcian parliamentary election, Murcia Podemos won six seats, forming a parliamentary group in Regional Assembly of Murcia.

For the first time, no party has an absolute majority and the People's Party (Spain) now depend on Citizens (Spanish political party) to form a government despite a prior agreement with Podemos and other parties in which C's agreed not to support the PP.

Toni Cantó

Antonio Cantó García del Moral, known as Toni Cantó (born Valencia, 14 January 1965) is a Spanish actor, Citizens party politician and former UPyD politician, who represented Valencia Province in the Congress of Deputies from 2011 to April 2015 and again from December 2015 to the present.

Vicente Ten

Vicente Ten Oliver (born 19 April 1966) is a Spanish politician. He was elected in the 2015 general election to the Congress of Deputies for the electoral district of Valencia for the Citizens party.In July 2015 Ten was elected as the number one the list for the Citizens party for the electoral district of Valencia. He received 455 votes while his opponent, Vicente Raga, received 366.

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