Position change in regionalist parties and multilevel politics: the case of Convergencia i Unió

GT 3.8 Cambio organizativo y democracia interna en los partidos políticos españoles

Astrid Barrio López (Universitat de València)
Sesión 1
Día: viernes,20 de septiembre de 2013
Hora: 09:00 a 11:30
Lugar: E11SEM02

The September 11, 2012, a mass demonstration in Barcelona for the National Day of
Catalonia, under the theme "Catalonia, a new state in Europe”, organized by the Catalan
National Assembly (an association supporting the independence of Catalonia)
eventually lead to a call for an early regional election. Only two years before,
Convergència i Unió (CiU), the main Catalan political party, had regained the regional
government and had come very close to an absolute majority (November 2010), and one
year later the Partido Popular (PP) did the same in the national government. However,
the big majority obtained by the later in the November 2011 general election prevented
CiU to have any decisive role in the Spanish parliament. Finally, in the 2012 November
regional election, CiU electoral platform proposed to call a referendum on Catalonia
independence and launched a set of measures aiming to gain secession.

CiU's invocation of the right to self-determination is not new. Since the 90s, it has been
claimed in all the party conferences, especially in CDC (Convergència Democràtica de
Catalunya, the major partner of CiU), and was explicitly included in the 2010 electoral
platform. Nevertheless, this question monopolized the electoral debate in the 2012
election, and later on it has captured the Catalan political agenda, specially after the
parliamentary agreement between CiU and ERC (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya,
the main Catalan secessionist party), containing a commitment to call a referendum
during the current parliamentary term. Hence, ERC pushes to organize this referedum in
2014, in order to coincide with the tercentenary of the defeat of 1714, which marked the
end of medieval privileges of Catalonia and the beginning of Spanish national
hegemony. Interestingly, the novelty lies not only in the transformation of an
ideological principle and a policy proposal but also in the on-going implementation of a
set of public policies to lead the way to the secession of Catalonia from Spain.

This paper aims to demonstrate that CiU has changed its policy position in the centerperiphery
cleavage and has evolved from being a moderate nationalist party to be a
secessionist party. We argue that this policy change is due in part to the multilevel
nature of the Spanish political system. The interest of the case study is that it may
contribute to the knowledge of policy change in nationalist parties. It also helps to test
the influence of institutional variables in policy change, largely ignored by the literature
so far.

Palabras clave: partidos, alianzas, nacionalismo