Democratic Union of Catalonia


The Democratic Union of Catalonia (Catalan: Unió Democràtica de Catalunya; IPA: [uniˈo ðəmuˈkɾatikə ðə kətəˈluɲə], UDC), frequently shortened as Union (Catalan: Unió; IPA: [uniˈo]), was a regionalist, Christian-democratic political party in the Catalonia region of Spain existing between 1931 and 2017.[1] Together with Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC), they formed the Convergence and Union (CiU) alliance and federation from 1978 until its dissolution in 2015, under which they would rule the government of Catalonia for almost three decades during the recent Spanish democratic period.

Democratic Union of Catalonia

Unió Democràtica de Catalunya
AbbreviationUDC, unio.cat
Founded7 November 1931 (1931-11-07)
Registered3 March 1977 (1977-03-03)
Dissolved24 March 2017 (2017-03-24)
Succeeded byUnited to Advance
HeadquartersC/ Nàpols, 35-39
08018, Barcelona
Ideology
Political positionCentre-right
National affiliation
European affiliationEuropean People's Party
International affiliationCentrist Democrat International
European Parliament groupEuropean People's Party
Colors  Blue
  White
Website
www.unio.cat

It described itself as Catalan nationalist and Christian-democratic and was a member of the European People's Party (EPP). It advocated for centrist and moderate Catalanism without explicitly renouncing independence, aiming for the constitution of a confederal state in Spain made up of sovereign entities (including Catalonia) that could become independent but rejecting unilateralism as a viable political philosophy.

After the breakup of CiU, a party split that took away half of its membership,[2] and UDC's failure in securing parliamentary representation in the 2015 Catalan and Spanish general elections, the party's mounting debts brought it to bankruptcy, leading to its dissolution on 24 March 2017.[3][4]

History


Transition to democracy

Ahead of the 1977 Spanish general election, Unió joined the Union of the Centre and Christian Democracy of Catalonia (UCiDCC) alliance together with the Catalan Centre (CC) for the Congress of Deputies,[5][6] which received the support of the Christian Democratic Team of the Spanish State (EDCEE). Both parties also joined the Democracy and Catalonia coalition for the Senate,[7][8] whereas talks for Unió to join the Democratic Front coalition formed by Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) and Democratic Left of Catalonia (EDC) failed to materialize.[9][10] Election results were disappointing: the UCiDCC secured only two seats in Congress, one for each party, and the platform's nationwide referent the EDCEE failed to gain any parliamentary representation. This led to both Unió and CC breaking their alliance and going into different parliamentary groups.[11]

After the election, an internal party crisis ensued as Unió found itself in need of seeking collaboration with other political parties to ensure its electoral viability in the future, with the question on the direction of such alliances dividing the party in two sectors: a more Catalan nationalist and progressive, centre-left one, and another more conservative one, attracted to the UCD's government halo and sympathetic to a merger with their former ally CC.[12] The internal support for each position would be revealed ahead of the 6th Unió congress in September 1977, with the pro-UCD sector being in the minority, resulting in a group of 17 members led by Josep Miró i Ardèvol splitting into the Union of the Christian Democrats of Catalonia–Jacques Maritain Club, which would merge with other parties into the Union of the Centre of Catalonia (UCC) in March 1978 to join into a joint platform with the UCD.[12] However, and despite the 6th congress resulting in a reinforcement of the party's identity as well as its more progressive turn, the internal crisis continued as Unió deputy in Congress Antón Cañellas kept advocating for a "large Catalan centre" that included the UCD.[13] This position—which only garnered the support of about 15–20% of party members—was in clear contrast with the majority position of favouring a centre-left federation of parties that included CDC while rejecting any kind of election agreement with the regional branches of national parties.[12]

In September 1978, Unió would sign an agreement with CDC to form Convergence and Union (CiU),[14][15][16] an alliance initially appealing to the Catalan centre-left that would end up becoming a big tent platform lasting for the next 37 years.[17] The CiU negotiations had seen political clashing ensue between Unió and Cañellas because of the latter's courtship of the UCD–UCC platform.[18][19][20] In the 7th Unió congress held in November 1978, Cañellas was expelled from the party, prompting him together with other party members to establish the Democratic Union–Broad Centre (UDCA), an instrumental party that would join the UCD and UCC into the newly established Centrists of Catalonia coalition.[12][21][22]

CiU breakup and dissolution

From 2013 and until 2015 tensions within the two parties forming the Convergence and Union (CiU) federation reached an all-time high over differences between the positions of the UDC leadership and Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) leader Artur Mas over the sovereignty process, as well as on the opportunity of forming a joint, pro-independence electoral list with Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC). CDC was in favour of outright independence even if it meant breaking the established Spanish legality, while UDC was against doing it without agreement with the Spanish government.[23][24]

As a result, a referendum of UDC members was held on 14 June 2015, asking whether UDC should commit itself to continue with the process but with under certain conditions, including not violating the legality in force through unilateral independence declarations or starting a constituent process at the margin of Spanish legal norms.[25][26] Such a position, supported by UDC leaders and contrary to the signed agreements between CDC, ERC and sovereignty entities, was approved by UDC members with an adjusted 50.9%.[27] After this, meetings between CiU leaders led to an ultimatum from CDC to UDC for the latter to decide within "two or three days" whether it committed itself to the independence plan.[28] This led to UDC withdrawing all three of its members from Mas's cabinet, although they agreed to maintain parliamentary stability until the end of the legislature.[29] That CDC leadership subsequently confirmed in a press conference the next day that UDC and CDC would not stand together in the 2015 Catalan regional election, and that the political project of the CiU federation was over, signalling the end of 37 years of cooperation between both parties.[30][31]

Later in July 2015, a pro-independence faction within UDC—including historical members Antoni Castellà, Núria de Gispert, Rosa Maria Carrasco Azemar and Joan Rigol—broke away from the party to found the Democrats of Catalonia (DC),[32][33] and by August the new DC party claimed to have taken away 1,600 UDC volunteers, 23 out of the 43 UDC city mayors and 118 out of UDC's 191 city councillors.[34] In the regional election held on 27 September, UDC would fall short of the 3% threshold to secure parliamentary representation, meaning the party was to be expelled from the Parliament of Catalonia for the first time since 1980.[35] The party would also fail in its attempt to maintain its presence in the Cortes Generales in the 2015 Spanish general election, with party's spokesman Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida losing his seat.[36][37]

On 24 March 2017, UDC was dissolved by its last secretary general, Ramon Espadaler, because of mounting economic debts and the lack of public funding resulting from UDC's various election defeats bringing the party to bankruptcy.[3][4] Some of its former members, including Espalader, founded a new catalanist political party called United to Advance,[38] which eventually joined an electoral alliance with the Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC) in order to contest the 2017 Catalan regional election.[39][40]

Electoral performance


Parliament of Catalonia

Parliament of Catalonia
Election Votes  % # Seats +/– Leading candidate Status in legislature
1980 Within CiU
8 / 135
Jordi Pujol Minority
1984 Within CiU
16 / 135
8 Jordi Pujol Coalition (CiU–ERC)
Majority (from Feb. 1987)
1988 Within CiU
15 / 135
1 Jordi Pujol Majority
1992 Within CiU
16 / 135
1 Jordi Pujol Majority
1995 Within CiU
14 / 135
2 Jordi Pujol Minority
1999 Within CiU
13 / 135
1 Jordi Pujol Minority
2003 Within CiU
13 / 135
0 Artur Mas Opposition
2006 Within CiU
14 / 135
1 Artur Mas Opposition
2010 Within CiU
17 / 135
3 Artur Mas Minority
2012 Within CiU
13 / 135
4 Artur Mas Minority (CDC–UDC)
Minority (CDC; from Jun. 2015)
2015 103,293 2.51% 7th
0 / 135
13 Ramon Espadaler No seats

Cortes Generales

Nationwide
Cortes Generales
Election Congress Senate Leading candidate Status in legislature
Votes  % # Seats +/– Seats +/–
1977 Within UCiDCC/DiC
1 / 350
0 / 207
Joaquín Ruiz-Giménez Opposition
1979 Within CiU
1 / 350
0
0 / 208
0 Jordi Pujol Opposition
1982 Within CiU/CatSen
3 / 350
2
1 / 208
1 Miquel Roca Opposition
1986 Within CiU
5 / 350
2
1 / 208
0 Miquel Roca Opposition
1989 Within CiU
5 / 350
0
2 / 208
1 Miquel Roca Opposition
1993 Within CiU
5 / 350
0
3 / 208
1 Miquel Roca Confidence and supply
1996 Within CiU
5 / 350
0
2 / 208
1 Joaquim Molins Confidence and supply
2000 Within CiU
4 / 350
1
2 / 208
0 Xavier Trias Opposition
2004 Within CiU
4 / 350
0
0 / 208
2 Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida Opposition
2008 Within CiU
4 / 350
0
0 / 208
0 Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida Opposition
2011 Within CiU
6 / 350
2
2 / 208
2 Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida Opposition
2015 65,388 0.26% 14th
0 / 350
6
0 / 208
2 Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida No seats
Regional breakdown
Election Catalonia
Congress Senate
Votes  % # Seats +/– Seats +/–
1977 Within UCiDCC/DiC
1 / 47
0 / 16
1979 Within CiU
1 / 47
0
0 / 16
0
1982 Within CiU/CatSen
3 / 47
2
1 / 16
1
1986 Within CiU
5 / 47
2
1 / 16
0
1989 Within CiU
5 / 46
0
2 / 16
1
1993 Within CiU
5 / 47
0
3 / 16
1
1996 Within CiU
5 / 46
0
2 / 16
1
2000 Within CiU
4 / 46
1
2 / 16
0
2004 Within CiU
4 / 47
0
0 / 16
2
2008 Within CiU
4 / 47
0
0 / 16
0
2011 Within CiU
6 / 47
2
2 / 16
2
2015 65,388 1.74% 7th
0 / 47
6
0 / 16
2

European Parliament

European Parliament
Election Total
Votes  % # Seats +/–
1987 Within CiU
1 / 60
1989 Within CiU
1 / 60
0
1994 Within CiU
1 / 64
0
1999 Within CiU
1 / 64
0
2004 Within CiU (Galeusca)
0 / 54
1
2009 Within CiU (CEU)
1 / 54
1
2014 Within CiU (CEU)
1 / 54
0

References


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