Parliament of Catalonia

Coordinates: 41°23′17″N 2°11′20″E / 41.38806°N 2.18889°E / 41.38806; 2.18889
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Parliament of Catalonia

Parlament de Catalunya (Catalan)
Parlamento de Cataluña (Spanish)
Parlament de Catalonha (Occitan)
13th / 14th Parliament
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
History
Founded1932 (1932)
Disbanded1939–1979 (exiled)
Preceded byCatalan Courts (pre-1714)
Leadership
Anna Erra, Junts
since 9 June 2023
Alba Vergés, ERC
since 15 June 2021
Assumpta Escarp, PSC
since 5 October 2021
Ferran Pedret, PSC
since 12 March 2021
Pere Aragonès, ERC
since 24 May 2021
Salvador Illa, PSC
since 21 May 2021
Structure
Seats135
Political groups
Government (33)
  •   ERC (33)

Supported by (9)

Opposition (93)

Elections
Party-list proportional representation
Last election
14 February 2021
Next election
2025 or earlier
Meeting place
Palau del Parlament de Catalunya in Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona
Palau del Parlament de Catalunya, Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona
Website
www.parlament.cat

The Parliament of Catalonia (Catalan: Parlament de Catalunya, IPA: [pəɾləˈmen kətəˈluɲə]; Spanish: Parlamento de Cataluña; Occitan: Parlament de Catalonha) is the unicameral legislature of the autonomous community of Catalonia. The Parliament is currently made up of 135 members, known as deputies (diputats/deputats/diputados), who are elected for four-year terms or after extraordinary dissolution, chosen by universal suffrage in lists of four constituencies, corresponding to the Catalan provinces. The Parliament building is located in Ciutadella Park, Barcelona.

Established in 1932, after the grant of self-government to Catalonia by the Second Spanish Republic, it went to exile in 1939 as a consequence of the Nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War. It was reestablished in 1979 during the transition to democracy. The most recent general election to the Parliament was held on 14 February 2021.

Historical background[edit]

Catalan Courts[edit]

The first representative and legislative bodies in Catalonia were the Comital Court (Catalan: Cort Comtal) of Barcelona, modelling after the Frankish curia regis, and the Peace and Truce of God Assemblies (Assemblees de Pau i Treva), of which the earliest record dates from 1027. The last ones were originally ad hoc, local meetings convened by the clergy (Oliba, Bishop of Vic, who died in 1046, was a notable instigator) but progressively became subsumed into the court of the Counts of Barcelona. The first Catalan legal code, the Usatges de Barcelona, was promulgated by Count Ramon Berenguer I based on the decisions of these assemblies.

Although the counts of Barcelona, had greatly extended the territory under their control, their financial and military power was quite limited, due to the impact of the Feudal revolution during the regency of countess Ermesinde of Carcassonne (1018-1044). Their personal resources were particularly insufficient in periods of economic crisis or military expansion, of which they were many from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. The need to secure troops and revenue led to the steady expansion of the Count's Court (Royal Court after the dynastic union of Barcelona and the Kingdom of Aragon, creating the Crown of Aragon) and a formalisation of its procedures. It came to be referred to as the Cort General de Catalunya or Corts catalanes (General Court of Catalonia or Catalan Courts), and was endowed with formal procedures, effectively written constitutions, by King Peter III of Aragon in 1283, making this institution the policymaking and legislative body of the Principality of Catalonia.

The Corts Catalanes were summoned and presided by the king as count of Barcelona,[1] being composed of Three Estates (Tres Braços), representing the clergy, the feudal nobles and the citizens of Royal towns such as Barcelona or Girona. Inhabitants of feudal towns (such as Cardona) were not represented, except by their overlords. The main function of the Corts was legislative, either in approving laws proposed by the monarch (Constitucions) or at their own initiative (capítols de cort). Although the Catalan Courts met at irregular intervals, it also formally approved the acts of the between the King and their sessions (known as pragmàtiques) and, from 1359, established a permanent delegation to oversee the Crown (the Deputation of the General, forerunner of the Generalitat de Catalunya). The Catalan Courts, as well as the other institutions of the Principality and the administrative use of Catalan language, were abolished by the Nueva Planta decrees in 1716 after the House of Bourbon, supported by the Crown of Castille, defeated the Habsburg pretender to throne, which was backed by the remnants of the Crown of Aragon in the War of the Spanish Succession.

Modern history[edit]

First proposals of a Catalan assembly[edit]

There were attempts from late 19th century to restore an autonomous system of representation for Catalonia. The Manresa Bases (1892) proposed the creation of new Catalan Courts, partly modeled on the original ones. On the other hand, republican federalists and left-wing Catalan nationalists made their own proposals of a liberal and democratic Catalan assembly. The first achievement of Catalan nationalism (led at that time by the Regionalist League), the Commonwealth of Catalonia (1914–25), was an institution composed by the provincial councils (diputaciones) of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona, which included a general assembly made up by representatives from the four provinces, but lacking legislative powers. In 1919, the Commonwealth prepared a project of Statute of Autonomy for Catalonia which included a bicameral parliament, however, the bill wasn't implemented.[2] The assembly and the Commonwealth itself were disbanded and outlawed by Miguel Primo de Rivera's dictatorship in 1925.[3]

Republic and Generalitat[edit]

Following a brief proclamation of the Catalan Republic on 14 April 1931 and the provisional establishment of the Generalitat as a Catalan government within the new Spanish Republic, the first Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia was approved by the Spanish Parliament in September 1932, recognizing Catalan self-government and establishing a separate Parliament of Catalonia as the legislative body of the Generalitat, being elected on 20 November 1932. This first legislature was control by the Republican Left of Catalonia (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, ERC), which won the absolute majority of seats, while the conservative Regionalist League, almost hegemonic in Catalonia during the reign of Alfonso XIII, reached the second place but far from the Republican Left.[4] Lluís Companys was appointed the first speaker of the Parliament. The Parliament appointed the ERC leader, Francesc Macià, as president of the Generalitat and, right after the election, the institution began to pass progressive legislation in different areas, such as health, culture and civil law, however, the institution was suspended between 1934 and 1936 when the Government of Catalonia attempted to create a Catalan State within a Spanish Federal Republic after, among other reasons, the rightward turn of the Republican government by its inclusion of CEDA ministers, self-proclaimed anti-Marxist and anti-democratic totalitarian traditionalists close to the European fascists, and the rejection by the Republican Court of Constitutional Guarantees (Constitutional Court of that time) of the emancipatory Crop Contracts Law land reform bill passed by the Parliament of Catalonia. The unilateral declaration of sovereignty lasted 10 hours.

The Parliament and the government were restored in February 1936 after the victory of Popular Front in the Spanish election, and abolished by the dictator Francisco Franco at the beginning of the occupation of Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War. The Parliament of Catalonia, like the rest of the institutions of the Generalitat, went to exile in 1939.[5]

Re-establishment[edit]

After the death of Franco in 1975 and the subsequent first years of Spanish transition to democracy, claims by most of Catalan society and political spectrum, from communists to liberals, to restore self-government grew. The Generalitat came back from exile in 1977. In 1979, the new Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia recognized the restoration of the Parliament. The first legislature of the current Parliament of Catalonia was elected on 20 March 1980, 48 years after the first election in 1932.[6] Convergència i Unió (CiU) a center-right Catalan nationalist electoral coalition won the plurality of seats, reaching 48 of 135 seats, and thus giving the presidency of the Generalitat to its leader Jordi Pujol, a position he would hold until 2003. That began a period of hegemony of CiU, which won the election of 1984 with an absolute majority (72 of 135).[7]

Membership[edit]

The representatives of the Parliament of Catalonia are elected every four years after the date of its previous election, unless it is dissolved earlier, under a system of party-list proportional representation.

Since 1980, the 135 members of the Parliament of Catalonia are elected using the D'Hondt method and a closed list proportional representation, with a threshold of 3% of valid votes—which includes blank ballots—being applied in each constituency. Seats are allocated to constituencies, corresponding to the provinces of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona, with each being allocated 85, 18, 17 and 15 seats respectively.

In the 1932 election there were 85 seats up to election divided into five constituencies: the city of Barcelona proper and the provinces of Barcelona (excluding the city of Barcelona), Girona, Lleida and Tarragona, with each being allocated 24, 19, 14, 14 and 14 seats respectively. They were elected under the Republican system of plurality block voting or majoritari per districtes, with each voter casting a vote for 75% of its constituency seats. This in practice ensured that the winning bloc would always win three quarters of the votes (68 seats), thus ensuring a majority, with the second biggest bloc being awarded the remainder (17 seats). This system heavily punished minor parties, making it extremely difficult for them to gain representation.

Results of the elections to the Parliament of Catalonia[edit]

Deputies in the Parliament of Catalonia since 1932
Key to parties
  USC
  PRA
  PRDF
  UC
  LRC
  UDC
  PCR
  PSUC
  CUP
  PSC
  ERC
  SI
  JxSí
  JxCat
  JxCat
  UCD
  CiU
  ICV
  Cs
  CDS
  PP
  CP
  AP
  Vox
Election Distribution President
1932
5 1 4 56 1 1 16 1
Francesc Macià (ERC) (1932-1933†)
Lluís Companys (ERC) (acting 1933, 1934)
1934–1936: Suspension of autonomy. During this interval, all Catalan institutions were abolished. Office suspended indefinitely and later suppressed. Replaced by the Governor General of Catalonia
5 1 4 56 1 1 16 1
Lluís Companys (ERC) (1936-1940†)
1939–1975: Francoist dictatorship. During this interval, all Catalan institutions were abolished. Office abolished in Spain and former officeholder executed.
Josep Irla (ERC) (in exile 1940–1954)
Josep Tarradellas (ERC) (in exile 1954–1977, 1977–1980)
1980
25 2 14 33 18 43
Jordi Pujol (CDC)
1984
6 5 41 72 11
1988
9 6 42 3 69 6
1992
7 11 40 70 7
1995
11 13 34 60 17
1999
3 12 52 56 12
2003
9 23 42 46 15
Pasqual Maragall (PSC)
2006
12 21 37 48 3 14
José Montilla (PSC)
2010
10 10 28 4 62 3 18
Artur Mas (CDC)
2012
3 13 21 20 50 9 19
2015
10 11 62 16 25 11
Artur Mas (CDC) (2015-2016)
Carles Puigdemont (CDC, PDeCAT) (2016-2017)
Office suspended. Direct rule over Catalonia (2017-2018)
2017
4 8 32 17 34 36 4
Quim Torra (Independent) (2018-2020)
Pere Aragonès (ERC) (acting 2020-2021)
2021
9 8 33 33 32 6 3 11
Pere Aragonès (ERC)

Leadership[edit]

The Parliament of Catalonia's Leadership resides in the Bureau of the Parliament comprising a President (Speaker), two Vice Presidents who chair debate when the President is absent, and four Secretaries, elected in the first session of each newly elected Parliament. The Bureau is tasked with managing the Parliament schedule and interpreting its rules of order, including the power to expel members from the sessions.

Composition of the Bureau of the Parliament of Catalonia for the 13th/14th Parliament of Catalonia
Position Name Party
President (Speaker) Anna Erra i Solà JxCat
1st Vice President Alba Vergés i Bosch ERC
2nd Vice President Assumpta Escarp Gibert PSC
1st Secretary Ferran Pedret i Santos PSC
2nd Secretary Aurora Madaula i Giménez JxCat
3rd Secretary Carles Riera i Albert CUP
4th Secretary Ruben Wagensberg Ramon ERC

There is also a second, consultative body, the Spokespersons' Council (Catalan: Junta de Portaveus, Spanish: Junta de Portavoces, Aranese: Conselh de Pòrtavotzes), which is made up of the leaders and spokespersons from each parliamentary group[8] in the Parliament and has the right to be "heard"[9] before the Bureau takes some decisions such as scheduling debates and votes. In the Spanish system, however, ruling parties usually do not hold a tight grip over the Parliament's schedule, nor do they use it to turn down the opposition proposals without debate: they are just voted down in committee or by the full house after the shortest debate allowed by the rules of order. Thus, while control of the Bureau and the Spokespersons' Council is definitely important, it is not a critical matter as it sometimes becomes in other systems.

Functions[edit]

The definition and functions of the Parliament of Catalonia are defined by the Title II, Chapter I of the Statute of Autonomy. According to the Statute, the Parliament:[10]

  • Appoints the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
  • Pass the Catalan legislation in the business of its competence.
  • Pass the Budget of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia.
  • Controls the action of the Government of Catalonia and the autonomous agencies, public companies and all other bodies answerable to it.
  • Appoints the Síndic de Greuges (ombudsman).
  • Appoints eight senators who represent Catalonia in the Senate of Spain.
  • Elaborates bills to present them to the Bureau of the Congress of Deputies and appoints the representatives of the Parliament in charge of defending them.
  • Requests the adoption of bills from the Government of Spain.
  • Requests to the State the transfer or delegation of powers and the attribution of powers within the framework of article 150 of the Constitution.
  • Appeals of unconstitutionality before the Constitutional Court and in other constitutional proceedings, in accordance with the provisions of the Organic Law of the Constitutional Court.
  • Carry out other functions attributed to it by the Statute of Autonomy and the laws.

Building[edit]

The official home of Parliament is the Palace of the Parliament of Catalonia (Palau del Parlament de Catalunya in Catalan). It is located in the Parc de la Ciutadella of the capital city, Barcelona. The main entrance is at number 1 of Joan Fiveller Square.

The building was designed by the Flemish architect Jorge Próspero de Verboom between 1716 and 1748 to serve as an arsenal, in the fortress of the Citadel that King Philip V had built, shortly after having conquered the city of Barcelona, on 11 September 1714.[11] After the destruction of the Citadel, in 1868, the old arsenal was converted into a palace by the architect Pere Falqués, in order to receive the royal family during the 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition. In 1900, the building became the Local Museum of Decorative and Archaeological Arts (Museo Municipal de Arte Decorativo y Arqueológico in Spanish).

In 1932, after the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic and the grant of self-government to Catalonia, the building was chosen by the newly created Catalan Parliament. The building was renovated by the decorator Santiago Marco, transforming the throne room into the session chamber, and on the facade the Bourbon coat of arms was replaced by the Blazon of Catalonia. The inaugural session was held on 6 December 1932. After the Civil War, the building became a military barracks and in 1945, the seat of the Museum of Modern Art of Barcelona.

In 1977, during the Spanish transition to democracy, the building temporarily served as the Assembly of Parliamentarians (Catalan: Assemblea de Parlamentaris) until the restitution of Catalan self-government. In 1979 it became the seat of Parliament again and was renovated. Finally, the Museum of Modern Art was transferred in 2004 to the National Palace of Montjuïc, the new headquarters of the National Art Museum of Catalonia. Since then, the palace has been used exclusively for parliamentary purposes.[11]

It is now listed as a Cultural asset of local interest (Bé cultural d'interès local in Catalan) in the Inventory of Catalan Cultural Heritage, with the number 08019/125.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Susana Segovia Sánchez is listed with CatComú, but she is also member of BComú
  2. ^
  3. ^ Antonio Gallego Burgos left Vox in 2022 and Cristina Casol was expelled of Junts in 2024

References[edit]

  1. ^ Verde i Llorente, J. (2019). "General o Generalitat, Cort general i república. El Principat de Catalunya fins a 1714 en comparació als altres regnes d’Espanya i d’Europa", Res Publica 22.2, 365-392, p 385.
  2. ^ Batllori, Isidre Molas (1983). "El Projecte d'Estatut d'Autonomia de Catalunya del 1919". Recerques: Història, Economia, Cultura: 69–79. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Mancomunitat de Catalunya" [Commonwealth of Catalonia]. Encyclopedia Catalana (in Catalan). Grup Enciclopèdia Catalana. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  4. ^ * 1932 Parliament of Catalonia election in Historia Electoral
  5. ^ Guibernau, Montserrat (31 July 2004). Catalan Nationalism: Francoism, Transition and Democracy. Routledge. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-134-35326-2.
  6. ^ "Hoy se elige el segundo Parlamento democrático de Cataluña". El País (in Spanish). 20 March 1980. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  7. ^ "Electoral results. Parliament of Catalonia election 1984". resultats.dadeselectorals.gencat.cat (in Catalan). Government of Catalonia. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  8. ^ Each representative's vote counts as the full power of his/her parliamentary group, so the majority of the ruling party or coalition can't be overturned by a more numerous (in terms of parliamentary groups) opposition.
  9. ^ Literally, in the Spanish legal jargon, some decisions are to be taken "escoltada la Junta de Portaveus", that is, "having heard the Spokespersons' Council's opinion".
  10. ^ "Title II of the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia". gencat.cat. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  11. ^ a b "El Palau del Parlament". Parlament de Catalunya (in Catalan). Retrieved 29 October 2017.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Morales Montoya, Mercè (2012): El Parlament de Catalunya: república, guerra Civil i exili, Barcelona. Base, 2012.

External links[edit]

41°23′17″N 2°11′20″E / 41.38806°N 2.18889°E / 41.38806; 2.18889