People’s Party, the hardline anti-independence ticket
Q&A on Xavier García Albiol’s candidacy, the Catalan branch of the political organization which has enforced unprecedented measures against Catalonia
What is the People’s Party?
The People’s Party is the party that has ruled Spain for the last six years. The candidacy running for the December 21 election is the Catalan branch of this party, which was founded in 1977 as the ‘Popular Alliance’ by a former minister of Dictator Francisco Franco in the sixties. Ever since it has been accused by opponents of being the heir party of Francoism. It has been the most voted party in Spain for three elections in a row, reaching 33% of votes in the last one. Yet in Catalonia it is by far less popular. It has never been part of the Catalan government and in the last election it got 8% of the ballots.
What is its stance on independence?
It is clearly against independence. In fact, its motto ‘Spain is the solution’ is explicit enough in this sense. Actually, it boasts about being the party to have enforced Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, thus suspending Catalonia’s self-rule and deposing its government.
What do the polls say?
The People’s Party expects in this election to reap the benefits of having led the measures against Catalonia’s independence. But according to the polls, the party that deposed the Catalan government and suspended its self-rule will not get as many votes as it would like. Only 5 to 7% of voters are expected to back the Catalan branch of Mariano Rajoy’s party.
Therefore, the party is unlikely to match the 2015 election results, when it gained 11 seats with 8% of the votes. In fact, the final tally might be closer to its all-time low of six seats in 1988.
Who are their candidates?
Their top candidate is Xavier García Albiol, the former mayor of Badalona. He is competing against Ciutadans for the right-wing unionist vote, but polls say that the younger generations mostly lean towards Inés Arrimadas’ party. Yet Albiol’s main strategy to halt this trend is to appear as the most hard-line activist against independence. “The People’s Party will not allow those who have caused the main fracture in Catalan society in the past 40 years to be pardoned,” Albiol said in a recent event.
On the very first day of the campaign, he also shouted “A por ellos” (“Go get 'em”). “We’re those who defend better than anyone a strong Catalonia within a big nation, Spain. So, go get 'em,” stated Albiol two weeks ago.
Where does PP stand on other issues?
The PP is a conservative party which is part of the EPP in the European Parliament. Their stance is pretty much defending that Spain’s economy is now recovering thanks to the People’s Party. While most parties in the Spanish Congress stand for a reform on the state’s constitution, the People’s Party supports the Carta Magna in one piece.
Besides, Albiol’s ticket is willing to put an end to the Catalan education system and is also critical with the Catalan public TV and radio broadcasters.