Catalan parliamentary election, 2015

Catalan parliamentary election, 2015
27 September 2015

All 135 seats in the Parliament of Catalonia
68 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Registered 5,510,853 Increase1.8%
Turnout 4,130,196 (74.9%)
Increase7.1 pp
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Artur Mas Inés Arrimadas Miquel Iceta
Party JxSí C's PSC
Leader since 15 July 2015 3 July 2015 19 July 2014
Leader's seat Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona
Last election 62 seats, 38.9%[lower-alpha 1][lower-alpha 2] 9 seats, 7.6% 20 seats, 14.4%
Seats won 62 25 16
Seat change ±0 Increase16 Decrease4
Popular vote 1,628,714 736,364 523,283
Percentage 39.6% 17.9% 12.7%
Swing Increase0.7 pp Increase10.3 pp Decrease1.7 pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Leader Lluís Rabell Xavier García Albiol Antonio Baños
Leader since 23 July 2015 28 July 2015 30 July 2015
Leader's seat Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona
Last election 13 seats, 9.9%[lower-alpha 3] 19 seats, 13.0% 3 seats, 3.5%
Seats won 11 11 10
Seat change Decrease2 Decrease8 Increase7
Popular vote 367,613 349,193 337,794
Percentage 8.9% 8.5% 8.2%
Swing Decrease1.0 pp Decrease4.5 pp Increase4.7 pp

President before election

Artur Mas
CDC (JxSí)

Elected President

Carles Puigdemont
CDC (JxSí)

The 2015 Catalan parliamentary election was held on Sunday, 27 September 2015, electing the 11th Parliament of Catalonia, the regional legislature of the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia. All 135 seats in the Parliament were up for election. This was the third regional Catalan election in only five years, after the 2010 and 2012 elections and the first one in over 37 years in which Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) and Democratic Union of Catalonia (UDC) ran separately, after the dissolution of Convergence and Union (CiU) in June 2015 over disgreements on the coalition's separatist turn.

The plan to hold a snap election in 2015 was announced on 14 January by President Artur Mas. After the non-binding 2014 independence referendum, Mas declared that the election was to be turned into an alternative vote on independence, with pro-independence parties including the independence goal in their election manifestos.[1] As part of the process, CDC, along with Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), Democrats of Catalonia (DC) and Left Movement (MES) would run together under the Together for Yes (JxSí) platform, with support from members of the pro-independence Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium and the Municipalities' Association for Independence (AMI). The alliance, however, failed to achieve its self-stated goal to attain an absolute majority on its own.

Newly-formed Podemos (Spanish for "We can"), Initiative for Catalonia Greens (ICV), United and Alternative Left (EUiA) and Equo stood together under the Catalunya Sí que es Pot (CSQP) label, a second novel electoral grouping formed for this election. The alliance was modeled after the Barcelona en Comú platform that won the 2015 Barcelona election, but it failed to garner the decisive support of the city's popular mayor Ada Colau and achieved a poor performance. Citizens (C's) benefited from its anti-independence stance and climbed to second place ahead of a declining Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC), which scored a new historical low for the third election in a row. The People's Party of Catalonia (PPC) suffered from its national counterpart decline and scored its worst result since 1992, whereas the left-wing Popular Unity Candidacy saw a strong performance which allowed it to hold the key to government formation with JxSí.

Electoral system

The 135 members of the Parliament of Catalonia are elected in four multi-member districts, corresponding to Catalonia's four provinces, using the D'Hondt method and closed-list proportional representation. As Catalonia had not passed its own electoral law by the 2015 election, the election was conducted under default rules provided in the Statute of Autonomy and under the Spanish general electoral law (Organic Law 5/1985, of the General Electoral Regime). As a result of the lack of an autonomous electoral law, seats were allocated to districts through specific laws or decrees for each election. For the 2015 election, seats were distributed as follows: Barcelona (85), Girona (17), Lleida (15) and Tarragona (18).

Voting was on the basis of universal suffrage in a secret ballot. Only lists polling above 3% of valid votes in each district (which includes blank ballots, which are counted for none of the above) were entitled to seats[2][3] (several parties which had failed to cross the 3% electoral threshold in previous elections —such as Platform for Catalonia and UPyD—announced that they were not contesting the election).[4]


Secessionist process

After the 2012 parliamentary election resulted in Convergence and Union (CiU) unexpectedly losing seats, President Mas was placed in a difficult political position, as he fell 18 seats short of the absolute majority. He was forced to sign an agreement with Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), in which the latter pledged to support the government, albeit without entering a formal coalition, in return for a faster process to obtain the independence of Catalonia.

President of Catalonia Artur Mas and Oriol Junqueras, signing the government agreement on 19 December 2012.

On 23 January 2013, the Parliament of Catalonia adopted the Declaration of Sovereignty and of the Right to Decide of the Catalan People, which stated that "The people of Catalonia have—by reason of democratic legitimacy—the character of a sovereign political and legal entity." This declaration was provisionally suspended by the Constitutional Court of Spain on 8 May 2013, and on 25 March 2014 the same court declared that it was void and unconstitutional[5] due to the fact that the Spanish Constitution of 1978 makes the Spanish people as a whole the only subject of sovereignty. At the same time, opinion polls began to show ERC topping the voters' preferences for the first time since the 1932 Catalan election, with the CiU vote declining as a result of the 2012 election backlash, but also because of Mas' management of the economic crisis and the involvement of several CiU leading figures in several corruption scandals. Among those involved was party founder Jordi Pujol, charged in a tax fraud scandal related to an undeclared inheritance in Andorra, accompanied by allegations of bribery, embezzlement, breach of trust, influence peddling, forgery of documents and money laundering crimes allegedly committed during his time as President of Catalonia.[6]

On 12 December 2013, the Government of Catalonia announced that a non-binding referendum on the independence issue would be held on 9 November 2014, for the purpose of giving independence leaders a political mandate to negotiate with the Spanish Government.[7] Mariano Rajoy's government stated shortly after its intention to block such a referendum, which it considered unconstitutional and not within the competences of the Autonomous Community.[8]

In spite of this, a not legally sanctioned referendum was held as scheduled, with over 80% voting for independence, albeit on a low turnout of around 40%. Independence parties considered the result a success. Artur Mas explained in a public act on 25 November his plan to reach independence, proposing calling an extraordinary parliamentary election—turned into an alternative vote on independence—at some point during 2015, on the condition that ERC agreed to join a common list with his party to stand together at the polls. ERC leader Oriol Junqueras agreed with most of the plan but initially refused such a joint list, threatening to break its government pact with CiU in order to force an election in early 2015.[9][10] After weeks of calibrated brinkmanship from both sides, with CDC pushing for a joint candidature to cover for its forecasted loss of support and ERC refusing to run with Artur Mas as presidential candidate, both parties finally reached an agreement, and on 14 January 2015, Mas announced that a snap parliamentary election would be held on 27 September that same year, with the intention to turn in into the true plebiscite on independence.[1]

Aside from the pact to hold an extraordinary election, the agreement also included to complete state structures as a basic element to culminate the process of "national transition" as well as negotiation of budgets.[11][12] Mas and Junqueras also apologized for the rarefied political climate between the pro-independence parties in the negotiations that had taken place during the weeks prior to the announcement.[13]

The Spanish Government, in response to the election announcement eight months ahead of the scheduled date, accused Mas of having "no interest in attending the Catalans' problems, nor it has any capacity to solve them".[14] PP, PSOE and UPyD also criticized the announcement.[15]

CiU breakup

Tension within both parties forming the CiU federation had reached an all-time high in June 2015 due to differences between the positions the Democratic Union of Catalonia (UDC) leadership and Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) leader Artur Mas took over the sovereignty process. CDC was in favour of outright independence even if it meant breaking the established Spanish legality, while UDC was against doing it without a successful negotiation with the Spanish Government. As a result, a vote was held on 14 June 2015 between UDC members, asking whether the party should commit itself to continue with the process but establishing several conditions—including not violating the legality in force through unilateral independence declarations—or starting the constituent processes at the margin of legal norms.[16][17] The first option, supported by UDC leaders and contrary to the signed agreements between CDC, ERC and sovereignty entities, was approved by UDC members with a narrow 50.9% to 46.1% choosing to stand at the side of CDC.[18] After this, CDC issued an ultimatum to UDC for the latter to decide within "two or three days" whether it committed itself to the independence plan.[19] On 17 June, after a meeting of the UDC leadership, it was announced that the party was withdrawing all three of its members from the Government of the Generalitat of Catalonia, although they agreed to maintain parliamentary stability until the end of the legislature.[20] That same day at night, the CDC National Executive Committee met and in a press conference the next day confirmed that UDC and CDC would not stand together in the 2015 regional election, and that the political project of the CiU federation was over, spelling the end of 37 years of cooperation between both parties as Convergence and Union,[21][22] a coalition which had dominated Catalan politics since the 1980s.

Party coalitions

For this election, two novel party coalitions were formed: Junts pel Sí (JxSí) and Catalunya Sí que es Pot (CSQP).

Junts pel Sí

Junts pel Sí launch event on 19 July 2015, with (from left) Raül Romeva, Carme Forcadell, Muriel Casals, Artur Mas, Oriol Junqueras

Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC), Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), Democrats of Catalonia (DC) and Left Movement (MES) agreed by mid-July 2015 to run together under the Junts pel Sí (Catalan for Together for Yes) joint separatist list, with support from the pro-independence Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium and the also separatist Municipalities' Association for Independence (AMI).[23] Artur Mas was named as the agreed presidential candidate, even though, as a result of balance of power negotiations between ERC and CDC, he was placed 4th in the electoral ticket.[24] Instead, the list was to be headed by three independent figures: Raül Romeva, former European MP for ICV who had left the party for not supporting independence; Carme Forcadell, former ANC president and Muriel Casals, Òmnium chairman. Oriol Junqueras would follow in 5th place.[25][26]

The coalition was thus scheduled to comprise the ruling centre-right CDC; its supporting centre-left partner in Parliament, ERC; Democrats of Catalonia and Left Movement, pro-independence splits from UDC and PSC, respectively; as well as members from separatist sectors of the civil society.[27] The Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP), which had also participated in the negotiations to form the unitary list, eventually refused on the grounds that "it was formed by politicians"—in reference to CDC and ERC's strong presence in the coalition's lists—and decided to run separately.[28]


After the success of Ada Colau's Barcelona en Comú platform in the 2015 Barcelona municipal election, its member parties Podemos, Initiative for Catalonia Greens (ICV) and United and Alternative Left (EUiA) entered talks for coalescing into a similar, regional-wide coalition for the September election to run as an alternative to Mas' independence plan.[29][30] By 15 July 2015, negotiations between the parties were already close to success, and it was agreed that they would stand together in the Catalunya Sí que es Pot electoral platform (Catalan for "Catalonia Yes We Can").[31][32] On 23 July, Lluís Rabell was presented as the platform's candidate for the regional premiership,[33] while ecologist party Equo announced its intention to join the coalition on 29 July.[34]

Run up to election

On 3 August 2015, President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Artur Mas, signed the election call decree 9 pm at the Palau de la Generalitat and later made an appearance before the cameras of the Catalan Corporation of Media highlighting the extraordinariness of the proposal's background, which nonetheless did not mention the word plebiscite. The President justified the extraordinary meaning of the election after having unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a legal and agreed-to referendum with the Government of Spain. Mas, however, did not mention how much support did he considered necessary for proceeding with the independence process.[35][36] Only pro-independence parties recognized the plebiscitary character of the election, with other parties arguing that—acknowledging the election's importance—it still was an election to the Parliament of Catalonia as many others had been held in the past. The PPC, PSC and C's, however, hinted on the possibility of a post-election pact to curb the independence process.[37] The Spanish Government said it would keep a close watch closely the legality of the whole election process while demanding neutrality from Mas.[38] Mariano Rajoy stated: "There won't be a plebiscitary election, as there wasn't a referendum", in relation to the 9 November 2014 vote.[39] Several parties and media questioned the legality of holding the Free Way demonstration on 11 September, as it coincided with the start date of the election campaign.

Opinion polls


Parties, leaders and slogans

Party/alliance Candidate Campaign slogan(s)
Together for Yes (JxSí) Artur Mas "The vote of your life"[40]
Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC) Miquel Iceta "For a better Catalonia in a different Spain"[41]
People's Party of Catalonia (PPC) Xavier García Albiol "United we win, stand up!"[42]
Catalonia Yes We Can (CSQP) Lluís Rabell "The Catalonia of people"[43]
Democratic Union of Catalonia ( Ramon Espadaler "The force of common sense"[44]
Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (C's) Inés Arrimadas "A new Catalonia for everyone"[45]
Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) Antonio Baños "Govern ourselves"[46]



Summary of the 27 September 2015 Catalan Parliament election results
Party Popular vote Seats
Votes % ±pp Won +/−
Together for Yes (JxSí)[lower-alpha 1][lower-alpha 2] 1,628,714 39.59 +0.71 62 ±0
Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (C's) 736,364 17.90 +10.33 25 +16
Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC–PSOE) 523,283 12.72 –1.67 16 –4
Catalonia Yes We Can (CSQP)[lower-alpha 3] 367,613 8.94 –0.96 11 –2
People's Party of Catalonia (PPC) 349,193 8.49 –4.49 11 –8
Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) 337,794 8.21 +4.73 10 +7
Democratic Union of Catalonia ([lower-alpha 2] 103,293 2.51 –3.02 0 –9
Blank ballots 21,895 0.53 –0.93
Total 4,114,244 100.00 135 ±0
Valid votes 4,114,244 99.61 +0.51
Invalid votes 15,952 0.39 –0.51
Votes cast / turnout 4,130,196 74.95 +7.19
Abstentions 1,380,657 25.05 –7.19
Registered voters 5,510,853
Source: Department of Interior and Institutional Relations
  1. 1 2 Junts pel Sí results are compared to the combined totals of CDC, ERC and DC in the 2012 election. If compared to the sum of CiU and ERC, the
    change would be a drop of 9 seats and 4.9 pp in votes.
  2. 1 2 3 Due to impossibility of direct comparison due to the dissolution of CiU, the political alliance between CDC and UDC in the 1978–2015 period, an
    unofficial comparison is calculated using the strength ratio (41:9) of both parties in Parliament after the 2012 election. Added to CDC totals are the
    4 UDC deputies elected in 2012 that joined the DC split in 2015.
  3. 1 2 Catalunya Sí que es Pot results are compared to ICV–EUiA totals in the 2012 election.
Vote share
Blank ballots
Parliamentary seats

Results by district


The election was won by JxSí, with 62 seats, but short of an absolute majority. As a result, JxSí required CUP's support. Voter turnout was an unprecedented high 74.95% of those with the right to vote.

Following the failure to choose a leader in January 2016 in which 1,515 CUP members voted for Mas and the same number voted against him,[47] the assembly was due to be dissolved on 10 January and a new election called in March.[48] Rajoy supported the new election on the grounds that it could "quash" calls for independence.[49] However, a last minute deal was struck between Together for Yes and Popular Unity Candidacy to ensure a separatist government, although without Mas as President.[50] On 12 January 2016, Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó assumed office as President of Catalonia thanks to an agreement between Together for Yes and CUP.[51][52]


  1. 1 2 "Mas announces an agreement with ERC and will call a snap election for 27 September 2015" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-01-14.
  2. "Organic Law 5/1985, of 19 June, of the General Electoral Regime".
  3. "Organic Law 6/2006, of 19 July, of Reform of the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia".
  4. "PxC won't contest the 27-S election" (in Catalan). Plataforma per Catalunya. 2015-08-05.
  5. "The Constitucional Court declares void Mas' sovereignty declaration" (in Spanish). ABC. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  6. "The judge charges Jordi Pujol for the Andorra money" (in Spanish). El Periódico de Catalunya. 2014-12-16.
  7. Catalan President Mas: "The country's good sense has made it possible to come to a consensus and agree on an inclusive, clear question, which enjoys broad support", Government of Catalonia
  8. Spain to block Catalonia independence referendum, BBC World.
  9. "Junqueras refuses a joint list but proposes a common programme" (in Spanish). El País. 2014-11-12.
  10. "Mas looks for independents in order to dilute CiU's acronym from the electoral list" (in Spanish). El País. 2014-11-24.
  11. "Culmination of state structures, another part of the agreement" (in Catalan). TV3. 2015-01-14.
  12. "Negotiation of budgets, part of the agreement between Mas an Junqueras" (in Catalan). TV3. 2015-01-14.
  13. "Mas apologizes for the political climate from previous weeks" (in Catalan). TV3. 2015-01-14.
  14. "The Spanish Government says Mas has "no interest nor ability" to solve the problems of the Catalans" (in Catalan). VilaWeb. 2015-01-14.
  15. ""Fraud tragedy ... lack of seriousness": Madrid reacts to the election announcement in Catalonia" (in Catalan). Ara. 2015-01-15.
  16. "Union will consult its members in order to define itself on the sovereignty process" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-02-21.
  17. "Union will put to vote its commitment to the sovereignty plan" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-06-14.
  18. "Duran obtains an adjusted support to condition Mas' plan" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-06-14.
  19. "Mas gives Duran three days to decide if he supports the independence" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-06-15.
  20. "Union leaves Mas' government as rejection to his independence plan" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-06-17.
  21. "CiU disintegrates: "The political project of the federation is over"" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2015-06-18.
  22. "Convergence announces the end of CiU: "The common project is over"" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-06-18.
  23. "Rull and Junqueras announce a Convergence-ERC agreement about the unitary list" (in Spanish). El Periódico de Catalunya. 2015-06-18.
  24. "The Government and ERC overrule Romeva to shield Mas" (in Spanish). El Periódico. 2015-07-24.
  25. "ERC National Council ratifies the unitary list with CDC by agreement" (in Spanish). La Vanguardia. 2015-07-15.
  26. "Raül Romeva, Forcadell and Casals will head Mas' list for the 27-S" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2015-07-15.
  27. "Mas imposes himself on ERC and will lead the 27-S pro-independence list" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2015-07-15.
  28. "David Fernández: "The latest proposal made any agreement impossible" for the unitary list" (in Spanish). La Vanguardia. 2015-07-14.
  29. "Podemos and ICV ready up a common list as an alternative to Mas for the 27-S" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-06-25.
  30. "The parties of the "Yes We Can" will form an unitary list" (in Catalan). 2015-06-25.
  31. "Podemos, ICV–EUiA and Procés will imminently close a pre-agreement for the 27-S Catalan election" (in Spanish). Público. 2015-07-15.
  32. "Catalunya Sí que es Pot, the name of the left-wing confluence for the 27-S" (in Catalan). Ara. 2015-07-15.
  33. "Activist leader Lluís Rabell will be Catalunya Sí que es Pot candidate" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-07-23.
  34. "Equo integrates itself within the left-wing coalition Catalunya Sí que es Pot" (in Spanish). El Periódico. 2015-07-29.
  35. "Artur Mas signs the election call decree for 27-S" (in Spanish). La Vanguardia. 2015-08-03.
  36. "Mas calls the 27-S without explaining how much support is needed for independence" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-08-03.
  37. "Catalan constitutionalists also face the 27-S with a plebiscite-directed strategy" (in Spanish). Noticias de Gipuzkoa. 2015-08-06.
  38. "Government demands neutrality from Mas while it attacks his candidacy" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-08-03.
  39. "Rajoy warns Mas: "There won't be a plebiscitary election, as there wasn't a referendum"" (in Spanish). Europa Press. 2015-07-31.
  40. ""The vote of your life", Together for Yes slogan" (in Catalan). El Periódico. 2015-09-08.
  41. "The PSC faces 27-S attacking Podemos for its "ambiguity" and equaling PP and C's" (in Spanish). El Confidencial. 2015-09-13.
  42. ""United we win, stand up", PP slogan for 27-S" (in Catalan). El Periódico. 2015-09-08.
  43. ""The Catalonia of people", Catalunya Sí que es Pot campaign poster" (in Spanish). Público. 2015-09-10.
  44. "Union offers "seny" to rebuild CiU's former moderate space" (in Spanish). La Vanguardia. 2015-09-11.
  45. ""A new Catalonia for everyone", C's campaign slogan for 27-S" (in Catalan). Nació Digital. 2015-08-24.
  46. "27-S election campaign starts: the most-decisive Catalan election" (in Spanish). El Economista. 2015-09-11.
  50. "Artur Mas Steps Down And Announces 11th-Hour Separatist Deal In Catalonia". The Spain Report. The Spain Report Ltd. 9 January 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  51. "Junts pel Sí i la CUP tanquen un acord per a dur endavant la legislatura". (in Catalan). 9 January 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  52. "Acord entre Junts pel Sí i la CUP amb Carles Puigdemont de president i sense Mas". (in Catalan). 9 January 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Catalan parliamentary election, 2015.
Wikinews has related news: Independence debate as Catalonia holds regional elections
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/25/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.