Republican Left of Catalonia

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Republican Left of Catalonia

Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya
PresidentOriol Junqueras
Secretary-GeneralMarta Rovira
Founded19 March 1931
HeadquartersC/Calàbria, 166
08015 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Youth wingYoung Republican Left of Catalonia
Membership (2016)8,048 [1]
IdeologyCatalan nationalism[2][3]
Catalan independence[4][5][6][7][8][9]
Left-wing nationalism[10][11][12]
Social democracy[15][3][16]
Political positionCentre-left[17][18][19][20] to
National affiliationAhora Repúblicas
Regional affiliationRepublican Left of Catalonia–Catalonia Yes
Republican Left of Catalonia–Sovereigntists
European affiliationEuropean Free Alliance
European Parliament groupGreens–European Free Alliance
Colours     Orange
Congress of Deputies (Catalan seats)
15 / 47
Spanish Senate (Catalan seats)
12 / 23
European Parliament
2 / 54
Parliament of Catalonia
31 / 135
Parliament of the Balearic Islands
01 / 59
Mayors in Catalonia[23]
359 / 947
Town councillors in Catalonia
3,107 / 9,077
Town councillors in the Balearic Islands
16 / 925

The Republican Left of Catalonia (Catalan: Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, ERC; IPA: [əsˈkɛrə rəpubːliˈkanə ðə kətəˈluɲə]) is a pro-Catalan independence, social-democratic political party in the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia.[24] It is also the main sponsor of the independence movement from France and Spain in the territories known as Catalan Countries. Occitan Republican Left, formed in 2008, acts as the Aranese section of the party.

Its current president is Oriol Junqueras and its secretary-general is Marta Rovira. The party is a member of the European Free Alliance.


Republic and autonomy (1931–1936)[edit]

Pere Mestres i Albet [ca] (1901–1975), professor, one of the founders of ERC, Minister of Interior of the Government of Catalonia (October, 1933 – December, 1933) and Public Works and Health (1933–1936)

After the fall of Primo de Rivera (1930), the Catalan left made great efforts to create a united front under the leadership of left-wing independentist leader Francesc Macià. The Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia, ERC) was founded in March 1931 as the union of the independentist Estat Català (Catalan State), led by Francesc Macià, the Catalan Republican Party, led by Lluís Companys and the L'Opinió Group of Joan Lluhí i Vallescà. The party had done extremely well in the municipal elections of 12 April 1931. Two days later, on 14 April, few hours before the proclamation of the Spanish Republic in Madrid, Macià declared in Barcelona that Catalonia would become an sovereign republic within the Iberian Federation. This was not exactly what had been agreed in the Pact of San Sebastián, so three days later they negotiated with the Madrid government that Macià would become president of the Generalitat of Catalonia, an autonomous Catalan government within the new Spanish Republic.[25]

In September 1932, the Spanish Republican Cortes approved the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia which, among other provisions, granted a Catalan Parliament with full legislative powers, and it was elected on 20 November 1932. The Republican Left of Catalonia, in coalition with the Socialist Union of Catalonia and other minor left-wing parties, won a large majority of seats (67 of 85), while the previously hegemonic Regionalist League, representing a more conservative view of Catalan nationalism, came in second place but far behind ERC (17 from 85).[26] From this strong position, the ERC sought to improve the living conditions of the popular classes and the petite bourgeoisie, approving laws in areas such as in culture, health, education and civil law, and the Crop Contracts Law, which protected tenant farmers and granted access to the land they were cultivating, but it was contested by the Regionalist League and provoking a legal dispute with the Spanish government.

On 6 October 1934, Lluís Companys, who had been elected by the Parliament of Catalonia as the new President of the Generalitat after the death of Francesc Macià in December 1933, following the entry of right-wing ministers of the Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right (CEDA) into the Government of the Spanish Republic, unlawfully declared a Catalan State within a Spanish Federal Republic. CEDA was considered close to fascism and, therefore, it was feared that this was the first step towards suppresings the autonomy and taking complete power in Spain. The proclamation was quickly suppressed by the Spanish army, and the Catalan Government was arrested.[27] The party leaders (including Companys itself) and the Catalan Government were sentenced by the Spanish Republic and jailed, and the Statute of Autonomy was suspended until February 1936.

Civil War, Francoism and clandestinity (1936–1976)[edit]

In 1936, at the dawn of the Spanish Civil War, ERC decided to become part of the Popular Front to contest that year's election, which it won. Esquerra became the leading force of the Popular Front in Catalonia and during the war tried to maintain the unity of the Front in the face of growing tensions between the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) and the pro-soviet Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSUC).

The party was declared illegal (along with all other participants in the Popular Front) by Francisco Franco after he came to power in 1939. The former president of the Catalan Generalitat, Lluís Companys, was arrested by German agents[citation needed] in collaboration with Vichy France, returned to Spain and executed on 15 October 1940.[28]

Since 1939, despite the weak situation of the party, almost disbanded after the Francoist occupation of Catalonia, ERC went underground and tried to organize anti-fascist resistance around Manuel Juliachs and Jaume Serra. In 1945, the ERC Congress, held in Toulouse since many ERC members lived in exile in France, appointed former Minister Josep Tarradellas as Secretary General, a position he left in 1954 when he was elected President of the Generalitat of Catalonia in exile, replacing Josep Irla. The office of General Secretary of ERC then passed to Joan Sauret. At the end of World War II, in view of a possible overthrow of Francoist Dictatorship with the intervention of the Allied forces, the direction of ERC in exile sent to Catalonia Pere Puig and Joan Rodríguez-Papasseit. During those years ERC was present at the Council of Catalan Democracy and the Council of Democratic Forces. In 1952 Heribert Barrera returned to the interior and assumes the direction of the party de facto. On 11 September 1964, the National Day of Catalonia, ERC and other groups organized the first anti-Franco demonstration since the end of the war. ERC participated successively in any initiative that confronts the Dictatorship.

Transition to democracy and the years of decline (1976–1987)[edit]

Public act of Left of Catalonia–Democratic Electoral Front (1977)

After the death of General Franco (1975), ERC celebrated in July 1976 the 8th National Congress, in which Barrera is confirmed as leader. In the election to Constituent Cortes of 1977, ERC went into coalition, as it was not yet legalized because of its status as a Republican party. ERC had requested registration in the register of political parties on March 14 of that year, but the Ministry of Interior - a month after the elections - responded: "The name proposed by the entity, referring to a political system incompatible with the one that is legally valid in Spain, can represent an assumption of inadmissibility ". The party tried a coalition with Left Front or with Democratic Convergence, although finally it allied with the Party of Labour of Spain. The name of the electoral coalition was Left of Catalonia–Democratic Electoral Front (Esquerra de Catalunya-Front Electoral Democràtic). The coalition win a seat (Barrera). Some of the electoral promises were the Statute of Autonomy or a referendum about the Monarchy.

In October 1977, President Josep Tarradellas (which he was itself a founder of the party in 1931) returned to Catalonia and the Generalitat was restored. A new text of the Statute was draft, which ERC opposes because it does not guarantee a minimum self-government. However, in the referendum for its approval, in 1979, ERC defended the "Yes", as it was the only alternative in order to regain the autonomy. In the first election to the restored Parliament of Catalonia, in 1980, ERC obtained 14 seats -of a total of 135-, which bring Barrera to the Presidency of the Parliament of Catalonia. In 1984, however, ERC only obtained 5 deputies, and began a brief period of decline, overshadowed by the hegemony of the center-right Catalan nationalist coalition Convergència i Unió, led by Jordi Pujol. This tendency continues during the next years. In 1986, it lost the parliamentary presence in the Spanish Cortes.

Political principles and representation[edit]

Seal of the Generalitat of Catalonia.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Its basic political principles are defined in the Statement of Ideology approved at the 19th National Congress in 1993.[citation needed] This is organised into the three areas that give the organisation its name: Esquerra (commitment to the Left's agenda in the political debate), República (commitment to the Republican form of government vs. Spain's current constitutional monarchy) and Catalunya (Catalan independentism, which, as understood by ERC, comprises the Catalan Countries).[citation needed]

The party is also federated with parties in the Balearic Islands and in Northern Catalonia in France, as well as with Republican Left of the Valencian Country in the Valencian Community. Except for their Balearic counterpart, none of the latter currently have any parliamentary representation in their respective territories, though they do have 8 municipal councillors in the Balearic Islands[29] and 6 councillors in the Valencian Community.[29]

The Republican Left of Catalonia is the oldest political party in Catalan politics that has supported the idea of an independent Catalan nation for the entirety of its existence. From the inception of The Republican Left of Catalonia in 1931, they have always been in favor of a state independent from Spain.[30]

Despite having been one of the main forces behind the movement for amendment, the party eventually opposed the 2006 changes to the Catalan Statute of Autonomy to increase Catalonia's autonomy. It did so on the grounds that it did not do enough to increase Catalan independence. This caused a government crisis with its partners (specially with the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya, PSC) which led to an early election in 2006.[citation needed]

Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya has 21 seats in the Catalan Parliament, suffering a dramatic setback after the 2010 Catalan parliamentary election and an equally dramatic gain in 2012, and one seat in the Balearic Parliament. Until 2010, it was one of the three coalition members of the tripartite left-wing Catalan Government, together with Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC) and Initiative for Catalonia Greens (ICV). The coalition was often uneasy due to tensions related to the new Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia. The snap election on 25 November 2012 saw ERC rise to a total of 21 seats in the Catalan Parliament.

Out of Catalonia, it has fifteen seats (sixth largest group by seats) in the Spanish Parliament and two seats in the European Parliament.


  1. Francesc Macià (1931–1933)
  2. Lluís Companys (1933–1935)
  3. Carles Pi i Sunyer (1933–1935)
  4. Lluís Companys (1936–1940)
  5. Heribert Barrera (1993–1995)
  6. Jaume Campabadal (1995–1996)
  7. Jordi Carbonell (1996–2004)
  8. Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira (2004–2008)
  9. Joan Puigcercós (2008–2011)
  10. Oriol Junqueras (2011–present)

General Secretaries[edit]

  1. Joan Lluís Pujol i Font (March 1931 – April 1931)
  2. Josep Tarradellas (April 1931 – March 1932)
  3. Joan Tauler (March 1932 – 1938)
  4. Josep Tarradellas (1938 – 1957)
  5. Joan Sauret (1957–1976)
  6. Heribert Barrera (1976–1987)
  7. Joan Hortalà (1987–1989)
  8. Àngel Colom Colom (1989–1996)
  9. Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira (1996–2004)
  10. Joan Puigcercós (2004–2008)
  11. Joan Ridao i Martín (2008–2011)
  12. Marta Rovira i Vergés (2011–present)

Electoral performance[edit]

Parliament of Catalonia[edit]

Parliament of Catalonia
Election Vote % Score Seats +/– Leader Status
1932 224,800 47.1 1st
56 / 85
Francesc Macià Government
1980 240,871 8.9 5th
14 / 135
Heribert Barrera Opposition
1984 126,943 4.4 5th
5 / 135
Red Arrow Down.svg9 Heribert Barrera Government (1984–1987)
Opposition (1987–1988)
1988 111,647 4.1 5th
6 / 135
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg1 Joan Hortalà Opposition
1992 210,366 8.0 3rd
11 / 135
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg5 Àngel Colom Opposition
1995 305,867 9.5 5th
13 / 135
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg2 Àngel Colom Opposition
1999 271,173 8.7 4th
12 / 135
Red Arrow Down.svg1 Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira Opposition
2003 544,324 16.4 3rd
23 / 135
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg11 Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira Government (2003–2006)
Opposition (2006)
2006 416,355 14.0 3rd
21 / 135
Red Arrow Down.svg2 Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira Government
2010 219,173 7.0 5th
10 / 135
Red Arrow Down.svg11 Joan Puigcercós Opposition
2012 w. ERC–Cat Sí
19 / 135
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg9 Oriol Junqueras Opposition
2015 w. Junts pel Sí
20 / 135
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg1 Oriol Junqueras Government
2017 w. ERC–Cat Sí
29 / 135
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg9 Oriol Junqueras Government

Parliament of the Balearic Islands[edit]

Parliament of the Balearic Islands
Election Vote % Score Seats +/– Status
1995 2,082 0.6 7th
0 / 59
No seats
1999 1,106 0.3 8th
0 / 59
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 No seats
2003 1,667 0.4 9th
0 / 59
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 No seats
2007 w. Bloc for Majorca
1 / 59
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg1 Government
2011 5,325 1.3 8th
0 / 59
Red Arrow Down.svg1 No seats
2015 766 0.2 17th
0 / 59
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 No seats

Cortes Generales[edit]

Cortes Generales
Election Congress Senate Status
Vote % Score %[a] Score Seats +/– Seats +/–
1977 w. EC–FED
1 / 47
1 / 16
1979 123,452 0.7 13th 4.2 5th
1 / 47
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0
2 / 16
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg1 Opposition
1982 138,118 0.7 9th 4.0 5th
1 / 47
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0
2 / 16
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 Opposition
1986 84,628 0.4 12th 2.7 6th
0 / 47
Red Arrow Down.svg1
0 / 16
Red Arrow Down.svg2 No seats
1989 84,756 0.4 16th 2.7 6th
0 / 46
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0
0 / 16
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 No seats
1993 186,784 0.8 9th 5.1 5th
1 / 47
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg1
0 / 16
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 Opposition
1996 162,545 0.7 9th 4.2 5th
1 / 46
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0
0 / 16
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 Opposition
2000 190,292 0.8 9th 5.6 4th
1 / 46
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0
1 / 16
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg1 Opposition
2004 638,902 2.5 5th 15.9 3rd
8 / 47
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg7
3 / 16
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg2 Opposition
2008 291,532 1.2 7th 7.8 4th
3 / 47
Red Arrow Down.svg5
3 / 16
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 Opposition
2011 w. ERC–Cat Sí
3 / 47
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0
0 / 16
Red Arrow Down.svg3 Opposition
2015 w. ERC–Cat Sí
9 / 47
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg6
6 / 16
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg6 Opposition
2016 w. ERC–Cat Sí
9 / 47
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0
10 / 16
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg4 Opposition
2019 w. ERC–Sobiranistes
14 / 48
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg5
11 / 16
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg1 Opposition

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Election Catalonia Balearic Islands
Vote % Score Vote % Score
1987 112,107 3.7 6th 533 0.2 16th
1989 78,408 3.3 6th N/A
1994 141,285 5.5 5th 2,350 0.8 8th
1999 174,374 6.1 4th N/A
2004 249,757 11.8 4th 7,498 2.9 5th
2009 181,213 9.2 4th 7,651 3.0 4th
2014 595,493 23.7 1st 19,602 7.3 5th
2019 733,401 21.2 3rd 20,530 4.9 6th

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In Catalonia.


  1. ^ Robert Tugas: ERC, un partit que creix en vots però no en militants. Ara, 13/03/2016.
  2. ^ Guibernau, Montserrat (2004), Catalan Nationalism: Francoism, transition and democracy, Routledge, p. 82
  3. ^ a b Hargreaves, John (2000), Freedom for Catalonia?: Catalan Nationalism, Spanish Identity and the Barcelona Olympic Games, Cambridge University Press, p. 84
  4. ^ Buffery, Helena; Marcer, Elisenda (2011), Historical Dictionary of the Catalans, Scarecrow Press, p. 198
  5. ^ Paluzie, Elisenda (2010), "The costs and benefits of staying together: the Catalan case in Spain", The Political Economy of Inter-Regional Fiscal Flows: Measurement, Determinants and Effects on Country Stability, Edward Elgar Publishing, p. 367
  6. ^ Hooghe, Liesbet; Marks, Gary; Schakel, Arjan H. (2010), The Rise of Regional Authority: A Comparative Study of 42 Democracies, Routledge, p. 194
  7. ^ Schrijver, Frans (2006), Regionalism After Regionalisation: Spain, France and the United Kingdom, Vossiuspers, Amsterdam University Press, p. 112
  8. ^ McLaren, Lauren M. (2008), Constructing Democracy in Southern Europe: A Comparative Analysis of Italy, Spain, and Turkey, Routledge, p. 184
  9. ^ Roller, Elisa (2004), "Conflict and Cooperation in EU Policy-Making: The Case of Catalonia", The EU and Territorial Politics Within Member States: Conflict Or Co-Operation?, Brill, p. 80
  10. ^ Alonso, Sonia (2012), Challenging the State: Devolution and the Battle for Partisan Credibility, Oxford University Press, p. 77
  11. ^ Ramiro, Luis; Morales, Laura (2007), "European integration and Spanish parties: Elite empowerment amidst limited adaptation", The Europeanization of National Political Parties: Power and organizational adaptation, Routledge, p. 146
  12. ^ Moreno, Luis; Colino, César (2010), "Kingdom of Spain", Diversity and Unity in Federal Countries, McGill-Queen's University Press, p. 299
  13. ^ "ERC diferencia el seu republicanisme del del PDC". El Món. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  14. ^ "PONÈNCIA POLÍTICA 27è Congrés Nacional" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  15. ^ Guibernau, Montserrat (2004), Catalan Nationalism: Francoism, transition and democracy, Routledge, p. 82
  16. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "Spain". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  17. ^ Catalan trial turns into pro-independence show of force. Politico. Author - Diego Torres. Published 2 February 2017. Updated 9 February 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  18. ^ Catalan separatists projected to win snap election. Al Jazeera. Published 21 December 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  19. ^ "Spain election: Socialists win amid far-right breakthrough". BBC News. 29 April 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  20. ^ Stothard, Michael (11 December 2017). "Catalan separatist focuses on fairer society over independence". Financial Times. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  21. ^ Jaume Ribas Vilanova. "En un país normal, una socialdemocràcia normal". LaColumna.cat.
  22. ^ jaume. "Junqueras dice que CiU y PSC son "la vieja política" rendida al poder". El Periódico.
  23. ^ Esquerra aconsegueix 359 alcaldies amb Lleida i Tarragona al capdavant. ERC.cat, 2019
  24. ^ Jaume Renyer Alimbau, ERC: temps de transició. Per una esquerra forta, renovadora i plural (Barcelona: Cossetània, 2008).
  25. ^ "The Battle for Spain" Beevor (2006) p.25
  26. ^ * 1932 Parliament of Catalonia election in Historia Electoral
  27. ^ Finestres, Jordi; López, Manel (2014). Entre la revolució i l'estelada (in Catalan). Barcelona: Sàpiens. pp. 31–32. ISSN 1695-2014.
  28. ^ Preston, Paul (2012). The Spanish Holocaust. Harper Press, London p.493
  29. ^ a b Dades electorals detallades de les Eleccions Locals 2011, arxiu històric electora, accessed 28 November 2012
  30. ^ Harris, Simon (2014). Catalonia is Not Spain: A Historical Perspective. S.I. 4 cats book. pp. 197–200.

External links[edit]