Popular Unity Candidacy

The Popular Unity Candidacy (Catalan: Candidatura d'Unitat Popular, CUP) is a left-wing pro-Catalan independence[2] political party active primarily in Catalonia, where it has political representation, but also in other autonomous communities in Spain it considers to belong to the Catalan Countries. The CUP traditionally has focused on municipal politics, and is made up of a series of autonomous candidatures that run in local elections. Its presence is strongest in Catalonia proper.

In 2012, the CUP decided for the first time to run for Catalan parliamentary elections, gaining 3 MPs out of 135. In the 2015 elections they obtained 10 MPs.

Popular Unity Candidacy

Candidatura d'Unitat Popular
SpokespersonCarles Riera
HeadquartersCarrer Casp 180; Barcelona
IdeologyCatalan independence[2]
Direct democracy[4]
Political positionLeft-wing to far-left
Regional affiliationPopular Unity Candidacy–Constituent Call
Trade union affiliationCoordinadora Obrera Sindical (COS)
Colors     Yellow
Local Government in Catalonia
382 / 9,077
Local Government in the Valencian Country
3 / 5,742
Parliament of Catalonia
4 / 135


CUP's antimonarchist concentration advertisement
(In Catalan: For the republic of the Catalan Countries) CUP poster for an anti-monarchist rally

The CUP is made up of autonomous local assemblies representing towns or neighbourhoods. These assemblies may have some ideological differences, but their common ground is independence for the Catalan Countries and clear left-wing politics, often in the form of anti-capitalism, socialism, and eco-socialism.

The different local candidatures are coordinated through the Municipal Assembly of the Independentist Left (AMEI in Catalan) where the details regarding their party platform are discussed. On both the local and national level, decisions are made in assembly according to the principles of deliberative democracy.

The highly decentralised nature of this party stems from a belief in municipalism. The CUP consider municipal government "the only institutions within the reach of the general populace".[12] The importance given to municipal assemblies is also meant to avoid the hierarchical organisation of most traditional political parties.


The CUP website describes the entity as "an assembly-based political organisation spread throughout the Catalan Countries that works for a country that's independent, socialist, environmentally sustainable and free from the domination of the patriarchy".[13]

"National liberation"

The CUP defends the unity of the Catalan-speaking areas, or Catalan Countries, which they believe should be allowed to constitute an independent republic, according to the principles of self-determination. The CUP is also strongly in favor of the Catalan language, which should be the "preferential and common language" of the areas where it is traditionally spoken. Still, the 2012 CUP program refers to the advantages of multilingualism and encourages debate on the status that an independent Catalonia would grant to French and Spanish.[14]

Political system

Event against European Union, 2014 (Harmonia del Palomar, Catalonia)
A CUP political event in 2014

The CUP criticise the current political system in place in Spain and France, and defend an alternative brand of participative democracy. It has proposed, for example, that the general public be allowed to vote on important issues in referenda, and have suggested the creation of representative recall (Catalan: Iniciativa Popular Revocatòria), which would allow the general public to remove elected officials from office before their term expires.[14] As part of its belief in municipalism, it also has defended the creation of an Assembly of Councillors (Catalan: Assemblea de Regidors i Regidores Electes), made up of municipal councillors, as a national representative body.[14]


The CUP broadly refers to its economic model as socialist. Its political programme calls for a "planned economy based on solidarity, aimed towards fulfilling the needs of the people", and defends the nationalisation of public utilities as well as transport and communication networks. It also calls for a nationalisation of all banks receiving government bailouts and considers the public debt "illegitimate".[14]


The CUP call for an end to nuclear energy, with the use of sustainable energy in its stead. It also calls for a ban on GMOs and the creation of an "ecological economy".[14]

Civil rights

The CUP believe in full civic rights for all inhabitants of the Catalan Countries, including migrants. It also calls for voting rights for everyone over 16 years of age as well as an end to discrimination against women and LGBT people.[14]


Chart showing the number of council seats won by the CUP running alone (blue) and in coalition (red)

Since 2003, the presence of the CUP in Catalan municipal politics has increased steadily.

2003 municipal elections

In 2003, the CUP ran alone in 10 municipalities in Catalonia, winning four council seats in three towns. In 8 more municipalities, the CUP ran as part of local coalitions.

2007 municipal elections

From 20072011, the CUP held a total of 26 council seats in 17 different municipalities in Catalonia;[15] these were obtained either under the CUP name alone or in coalition with local political parties. In the 2007 municipal elections, the CUP obtained 18,000 votes, or about 0.65% of the votes cast.[16]

2011 municipal elections

In the 2011 municipal elections, the CUP ran in 80 of Catalonia's 947 municipalities,[17] winning about 62,000 votes (2.16% of those cast),[18] and coming in as the sixth largest party in terms of vote share.[19] As a result, the CUP won a total of 104 municipal council seats; four towns had CUP mayors. Also, it held 11 seats on different comarca councils.

2012 Catalan parliamentary elections

David Fernàndez a l'acte central de la CUP al Barcelona Teatre Musical
David Fernández was a member of the Catalan Parliament for the CUP in the 2012–2015 legislature

In 2012, after snap elections were declared by Catalan president Artur Mas, different local branches of the CUP organised assemblies open to the general public in order to debate whether the CUP should run. On 13 October, the general assembly of the CUP met in Molins de Rei and decided, with 77% in favour, to run for the first time in the Catalan parliamentary elections. For this purpose, the CUP decided use the name Candidatura d'Unitat Popular – Alternativa d'Esquerres (Popular Unity Candidacy – Left-Wing Alternative) in order to include independent candidates who chose to run on CUP lists.[20] David Fernàndez, a journalist from Gràcia,[21] was chosen to head the list for Barcelona.

The CUP promised that, if elected, its candidates only would serve one term, earn no more than €1,600 a month, and base their decisions on the opinions expressed by local assemblies. it also promised not to request any loans from banks, so as to avoid being influenced by "financial groups and economic élites".[12]

The CUP was able to win representation in the Catalan Parliament with three seats, and 126,219 votes. The three CUP seats went to the party's spokesman David Fernàndez, Georgina Rieradevall (number two on the list later on replaced by Isabel Vallet), and Quim Arrufat (number three on the list).[22] These results are historic for the CUP, but its spokesman emphasises that it must keep on working and fighting in the streets for a better future.[23]

2015 municipal elections

In the 2015 municipal elections, the CUP presented candidatures in 163 different municipalities, more than double the number of candidatures presented in the previous elections. In Catalonia, the CUP obtained 221,746 votes in all (7.12% percent of those cast). This was more than three times what it had won in 2011, earning 372 council seats, an absolute majority on nine town councils, and a relative majority in four more.[24] CUP mayors were chosen in 14 municipalities, whereas previously the CUP only held three mayorships. For the first time, the CUP won the government of the capital of a comarca, Berga.[25]

Coalitions including the CUP won important victories in other municipalities; in Badalona, Catalonia's third most populous city, a coalition including the CUP came in second and won the mayorship with the help of other left-wing parties.[26] The CUP managed to win representation in most major cities in Catalonia, including Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, L'Hospitalet and Terrassa.[27] In the Valencian Community, the CUP ran in four municipalities, and won seats on the municipal councils of two, Pedreguer and Burjassot.[28]

2015 Catalan parliamentary elections

Antonio Baños 02
Candidate Antonio Baños at a campaign meeting
Anna Gabriel al Palau de la Generalitat (10 de febrer de 2016)
Anna Gabriel, spokeswoman for the CUP in the Parliament of Catalonia 2016–2017
CUP results by municipality in the 2015 elections.

In the 2015 Parliamentary elections, the CUP formed a coalition called Candidatura d'Unitat Popular – Crida Constituent (Popular Unity Candidacy - Constituent Call). Antonio Baños, a journalist and writer from the Nou Barris neighbourhood of Barcelona, was chosen to head the list.

The party won 336,375 votes, almost tripling its previous results, and was awarded 10 seats in the Catalan Parliament. That placed it in the position of kingmaker, with enough seats to form a pro-independence alliance with Together for Yes, which obtained 62 seats.[29] After three months of negotiations in which the CUP rejected the presidency of incumbent Artur Mas, the CUP and Together for Yes reached an agreement by which Carles Puigdemont, mayor of Girona, became president of Catalonia.[30] Nevertheless, while eight CUP MPs voted in favor of Puigdemont's presidency, two abstained to "express their differences" with Together for Yes.[31] As part of this agreement, two CUP MPs are to work closely with Together for Yes in order to ensure a pro-independence majority in the Parliament of Catalonia.[32]

Electoral performance

Parliament of Catalonia

Date Votes Seats Status Size Notes
# % ±pp # ±
2012 126,435 3.5% Opposition 7th
2015 337,794 8.2% +4.7 Green Arrow Up Darker.svg7 Opposition * government support
2017 195,246 4.5% −3.7 Red Arrow Down.svg6 Opposition *


  1. ^ May 2014
  2. ^ a b c Nordsieck, Wolfram (2017). "Catalonia/Spain". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20121108062657/http://www.unitatpopular.cat/programa. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Arrufat: «Les CUP treballem per construir, des de baix, els Països Catalans». dBalears | 19 juliol 2015.
  6. ^ David Fernàndez: ‘Per a la CUP els Països Catalans són indestriables’ David Fernàndez: ‘Per a la CUP els Països Catalans són indestriables’ La Veu del País Valencià. Dimecres, 7 de maig de 2014 a les 17:00h.
  7. ^ La CUP no vol formar part d’“aquesta” Unió Europea. El País, ANA GONZÁLEZ LISTE Barcelona 18 SET 2015 - 00:00 CEST
  8. ^ La CUP defensa la sortida de la Unió Europea i de l’OTAN. e-noticies. 8 de Setembre de 2015. 17:27h.
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-01-26. Retrieved 2015-04-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ The results of Colomers (5 councillors) don't appear in the official data.
  11. ^ La CUP obté els primers regidors al País Valencià.
  12. ^ a b https://web.archive.org/web/20121114233648/http://www.unitatpopular.cat/programa/principis-d-accio-politica. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-01-02. Retrieved 2012-11-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ a b c d e f "CUP - Alternativa d'Esquerres - Programa Polític". issuu. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  15. ^ "VilaWeb - El Punt". www.vilaweb.cat. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  16. ^ "Resultados Electorales en Cataluña: Elecciones Municipales 2007". EL PAÍS (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  17. ^ "Els resultats de la CUP els apropen a l'escó al Parlament". El Punt Avui (in Catalan). Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  18. ^ "Resultados provisionales - Elecciones Municipales 2011 - Catalunya".
  19. ^ Spanish Government (2011-05-23). "Local Elections Official Results". Government of Spain. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  20. ^ "La CUP decideix presentar-se a les eleccions al Parlament". VilaWeb.cat (in Catalan). Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  21. ^ "estirant del fil... | [No escrivim èglogues] · [Bloc intermitent]". blocs.mesvilaweb.cat (in Catalan). Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  22. ^ "Candidats i candidates de la CUP-AE circumscripció de Barcelona". Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  23. ^ "David Fernàndez (CUP): 'La democràcia no es defensa al parlament, sinó al carrer'" (in Catalan). VilaWeb. 2012-11-26. Retrieved 2014-10-25.
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-26. Retrieved 2015-05-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "El mapa dels alcaldes de Catalunya". Ara. 2015-06-15. Retrieved 2015-06-20.
  26. ^ "La CUP entra al Cinturó Roig, territori que l'Estat veu "ètnicament propi"" (in Catalan). Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  27. ^ "Resultats Eleccions Municipals 2015". www.naciodigital.cat (in Catalan). Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  28. ^ "La CUP obté els primers regidors al País Valencià". VilaWeb.cat (in Catalan). Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  29. ^ "Resultats Eleccions al Parlament de Catalunya 2015". Nació Digital. 2015-09-28.
  30. ^ "Junts pel Sí i la CUP investeixen Puigdemont per avançar cap a la independència". Nació Digital. 2016-01-10.
  31. ^ "Vuit dels diputats de la CUP votaran a favor de la investidura de Puigdemont". Vilaweb. 2016-01-10.
  32. ^ "Artur Mas dimiteix per desblocar l'acord i avançar cap a la independència. Carles Puigdemont serà el nou president". Vilaweb. 2016-01-10.

External links

Anna Gabriel i Sabaté

Anna Gabriel i Sabaté (born 1975 in Sallent, Catalonia) is a social pedagogue, law adjunct professor and politician. She was a member of Catalan Parliament between 2015 and 2017, representing the pro-Catalan independence and anti-capitalist party Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP).

Antonio Baños Boncompain

Antonio Baños Boncompain (born 1967 in Barcelona, Catalonia) is a catalan musician, journalist and writer. In the Catalan parliamentary election of 2015 led Popular Unity Candidacy - Constituent Call, a pro-independence left-wing electoral list.As a musician he's been a member of the band Los Carradine since 1989 and has released two records: Sospechoso tren de vida (2006) and Academia rocanrol (2016).

He is national secretary of the ANC and speaker of Súmate.

Carles Riera i Albert

Carles Riera i Albert (born 1960) is a Catalan sociologist and politician.During the 1980s he was a member and spokesman for the Call to Solidarity in Defense of Catalan Language, Culture and Nation, in the 90s he was a member of the secretariat of the People's Unity Assembly and currently is a member of Endavant. In the Catalan elections held on 27 September 2015, he formed part of the Popular Unity Candidacy–Constituent Call coalition which won 10 seats in the 135-member Parliament of Catalonia. He led the Popular Unity Candidacy party in the 2017 Catalan elections, in which won 4 seats.

Compostela Aberta

Compostela Aberta (English: Open Compostela) is a grassroots movement and political coalition in the city of Santiago de Compostela that runs a left-wing "popular unity" candidacy to the municipal elections of May 2015.

Martiño Noriega, a member of Anova-Nationalist Brotherhood (Anova) was elected as the candidate. The candidacy is supported by EU, Anova-Nationalist Brotherhood, Equo, Podemos, Espazo Ecosocialista Galego and independents. It's one of the many "popular unity" candidacies formed by left-wing political parties in Galicia and Spain to the Spanish local elections, 2015; like Marea Atlántica, Ahora Madrid, Barcelona en Comú, Marea de Vigo or Málaga Ahora.


Corròp (in Aranese: group of people associated with a common objective) is a political party in the Val d'Aran founded in 2015. The party defends Occitan and Aranese self-determination, socialism in an anticapitalist sense, direct democracy and ecologism. Corròp also supports an autonomous Aran Valley in an independent Catalonia as the best short-term solution to the Aranese issue and the Catalan independence debate in the valley, considering that the independence of Catalonia is good for both Aran and the whole Occitania.The majority of the members of Corròp come from the Aranese section of Libertat!, an Occitan left-wing independentism movement. The party's main referent in Catalonia is the Popular Unity Candidacy, which included a member of Corròp as its candidate in the Catalan elections of 2015. Nevertheless, Corròp also included Occitan Republican Left and Initiative for Catalonia Greens.

Jordi Bilbeny

Jordi Alsina i Bilbeny (born 14 October 1961) is a Catalan pseudohistorian best known for his theory that Christopher Columbus was a Catalan.

Bilbeny has a degree in Catalan Philology by the Autonomous University of Barcelona and has been a professor of Catalan language classes for adults at the Islamic Cultural Council of Catalonia and at the Women's Penitentiary of Barcelona (Wad-Ras), among other places. He launched the "Symposium on the Catalan discovery of America" in 2001. Bilbeny is a member of the "Arenysian Movement for Self-Determination", a local independentist movement, and of the Arenys de Munt's Popular Unity Candidacy, and was one of the organizers of the 2009 Catalan independence referendum in Arenys de Munt, for which he composed the anthem. He is a leading member of the Institut Nova Història, a research organisation which claims that Columbus, Miguel Cervantes, and the author of Lazarillo de Tormes were Catalan.

Junts pel Sí

Junts pel Sí (IPA: [ˈʒuns pəl ˈsi]; English: Together for Yes; JxSí) was a Catalan political alliance and parliamentary group focused on achieving the independence of Catalonia from Spain. First standing in the 2015 Catalan regional election, it was composed of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC), the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), Democrats of Catalonia (DC) and the Left Movement (MES). The Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) had been invited to participate in the alliance, but refused to do so and ran on its own instead.

The coalition was led by Raül Romeva, PhD in international relations and former eco-socialist MEP; Carme Forcadell, a linguist and former president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC); Muriel Casals, economist and former president of Òmnium Cultural; President of the Generalitat of Catalonia and CDC leader Artur Mas and ERC leader Oriol Junqueras.

It formed a minority government since the 2015 election with confidence and supply support from the CUP, it was responsible for organising the 2017 Catalan independence referendum. On 4 November 2017, ERC chose not to rejoin JxSí ahead of the 2017 Catalan regional election.

Junts per Catalunya

Junts per Catalunya (English: Together for Catalonia, JuntsxCat) is a Catalan political platform centered around former President of the Generalitat of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont and formed by the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT), successor of the now defunct Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, and independents to contest the 2017 Catalan regional election. The PDeCAT would provide the core of the platform, but it was to be structured as Puigdemont's personal list composed of figures from the civil society instead of a party list.This came upon Puigdemont's rejection to lead a PDeCAT-only list into the 21 December election, instead favouring a "country list" after both Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) rejected a new Junts pel Sí coalition.

La Forja

La Forja - Jovent Revolucionari (The Forge - Revolutionary Youth) is a left-wing Catalan independentist youth organization that acts in all the Catalan Countries. La Forja is part of the Popular Unity Candidacy–Constituent Call (CUP-CC) coalition and has very close ties with the political party Poble Lliure.

List of political parties in Catalonia

This article lists political parties in Catalonia represented in Parliament.

Marea de Vigo

Marea de Vigo (Tide of Vigo in Galician language) is a citizen movement and political alliance set up in the city of Vigo that runs a left-wing "popular unity" candidacy to the municipal elections of May 2015.Rubén Pérez Correa, a member of the United Left (EU) was elected as the candidate. The candidacy is supported by EU, Anova-Nationalist Brotherhood, independents and some members of Podemos. It's one of the many "popular unity" candidacies formed by left-wing political parties in Galicia and Spain to the Spanish local elections, 2015; like Marea Atlántica, Ahora Madrid, Barcelona en Comú, Zaragoza en Común or Málaga Ahora.

Marea de Vigo was the 3rd most voted list in the Vigo local elections of 2015 (16,227 votes, 11.5%), gaining 3 seats in the city council.

Poble Lliure

Poble Lliure (English: Free People) is a Catalan socialist and independentist political organisation, which forms part of the Independentist Catalan Left. Poble Lliure was founded in November 2014 from historical militants of the Movement for Defence of the Land (MDT) and independents linked to social movements. In the Catalan elections of 2015 Maria Corrales, a member of Poble Lliure, was elected to Parliament of Catalonia in the lists of the Popular Unity Candidacy - Constituent Call.Poble Lliure supports the Popular Unity Candidates and the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC).

Popular Unity

Popular Unity may refer to:

Popular Unity (Greece) (Greek: Λαϊκή Ενότητα, Laïkí Enótita), a left-wing Greek parliamentary group founded in 2015

Popular Unity (Chile) (Spanish: Unidad Popular), a left-wing political alliance in Chile that supported Salvador Allende in 1970

Popular Unity (Italy), a short-lived social democratic party in 1950s Italy

Popular Unity Candidacy (Catalan: Candidatura d'Unitat Popular), a left-wing and pro-Catalan independence political party founded in 1986

Popular Unity (Spain) (Spanish: Unidad Popular), a left-wing Spain political party founded in 2015

Popular Unity (Montenegro) (Montenegrin; Narodna Sloga) a short-lived political alliance in Montenegro, founded in 1996

Popular Unity Candidacy–Constituent Call

Popular Unity Candidacy–Constituent Call (Catalan: Candidatura d'Unitat Popular–Crida Constituent, CUP–CC) is a pro-Catalan independence left-wing coalition, formed in 2015 to contest the Catalan regional election scheduled for 27 September that year.It is supported by Popular Unity Candidacy, Col·lectiu Drassanes, Constituents per la Ruptura, Internationalist Struggle, In Struggle, Corrent Roig, The Greens–Green Alternative, Endavant, Poble Lliure, Arran, Sindicat d'Estudiants dels Països Catalans, Coordinadora Obrera Sindical and local parties Alternativa d'Esquerres de Cornellà, Alternativa d'Esquerres del Prat, Compromís per Ripollet and Alternativa Ciutadana de Rubí. The coalition was led into the 2015 election by Antonio Baños, journalist and writer, and Anna Gabriel, community worker and professor. Its 2015 candidacy also included Julià de Jòdar, historian and writer; Manuel Delgado, art historian and anthropologist; Sergi López, actor and Oleguer Presas, economist and former footballer.

On 12 November 2017, alliance members voted in favour of contesting the 2017 Catalan regional election.

Results breakdown of the 2004 European Parliament election in Spain

This is the results breakdown of the European Parliament election held in Spain on 13 June 2004. The following tables show detailed results in each of the country's 17 autonomous communities and in the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla.

Results breakdown of the 2007 Spanish local elections (Catalonia)

This is the results breakdown of the local elections held in Catalonia on 27 May 2007. The following tables show detailed results in the autonomous community's most populous municipalities, sorted alphabetically.

Results breakdown of the 2011 Spanish local elections (Catalonia)

This is the results breakdown of the local elections held in Catalonia on 22 May 2011. The following tables show detailed results in the autonomous community's most populous municipalities, sorted alphabetically.

Results breakdown of the 2015 Spanish local elections (Catalonia)

This is the results breakdown of the local elections held in Catalonia on 24 May 2015. The following tables show detailed results in the autonomous community's most populous municipalities, sorted alphabetically.

Yes Campaign

Yes Campaign (Catalan: Campanya del Sí) is a Catalan campaign made up of different organisations and individuals campaigning in favor for a Yes vote in the Catalan independence referendum, 2017. It was launched on 3 August 2017.The campaign is promoted by the Catalan National Assembly and includes Òmnium Cultural, Association of Municipalities for Independence, Catalan European Democratic Party, Republican Left of Catalonia, Popular Unity Candidacy, Democrats of Catalonia, Left Movement and Catalan Solidarity for Independence.

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