Ciutadans: opposing Catalan independence to rule Spain
Center-right party aspires to become the first party other than the Socialists and the People's party to govern Spain since democracy returned
With opposing Catalonia's independence as its main priority, the Ciutadans (Cs) party ('Citizens' in English) is running in the April 28 general election on a message that aims to link the ruling Socialists with the parties in favor of a Catalan Republic.
Set up in Catalonia in 2006, the center-right Ciutadans is the largest single party in the Catalan parliament, and it embraces a hardline anti-independence rhetoric that includes portraying the political leaders behind the 2017 independence bid as perpetrators of a coup.
Since pro-independence parties backed Pedro Sánchez's successful bid to oust the conservative People's Party last year, Ciutadans claims they are allies, and even accuses the Spanish president of being a collaborator in the supposed coup in Catalonia.
According to the party's leader in Spain, Albert Rivera, should the Socialist party manage to hold on to power in Madrid after the election, it will be willing to pardon the pro-independence leaders currently on trial in the Supreme Court, if they are eventually convicted.
"Why should those who committed crimes go unpunished? Only one reason: to give a bunch of seats to Mr. Sánchez. There’s only one way to prevent this: to render those seats useless in making Sánchez president, and for us to govern," Rivera said recently.
Ciutadans aspires to become the first party outside of the Socialists and the People’s Party to govern Spain in the 37 years since democracy returned to Spain. Yet, recent polls have not been kind to Cs, suggesting only marginally better results than in the last election.
With no single party likely to win enough of a majority in the Spanish parliament to form a government, finding common ground with other parties will be essential. However, Cs has ruled out a deal with the Socialists, and has set its sights on the People’s Party.
Ciutadans has an alliance with the People’s Party in Spain's southern region of Andalusia, which also depends on support from the far-right Vox party. However, Cs party officials have been reluctant to say whether they would be willing to repeat the triumvirate elsewhere.