Conservative People's Party set for big gains in 2024 Catalan election

Right-wing group could go from least voted party in parliament to fourth largest

People's Party candidate in Catalonia Alejandro Fernández at a campaign event in Lleida
People's Party candidate in Catalonia Alejandro Fernández at a campaign event in Lleida / Arnau Martínez
Oriol Escudé Macià

Oriol Escudé Macià | @oriolsqd | Barcelona

May 1, 2024 10:23 AM

May 3, 2024 01:30 PM

The conservative People's Party could be set for huge gains in the upcoming Catalan elections on May 12. Alejandro Fernández will be the party's candidate for the second election in a row, after the party's worst result in its history in 2021, when it won its current three seats.

Now, polls predict that they will get between 13 and 14 seats, closer to their historic best result of 19 seats. If that happens, they will go from being the least-voted party in parliament to the fourth largest.

However, they are unlikely to form a government as they are the most popular right-wing party and a coalition with far-right Vox would still fall far short of a majority. Only an unusual coalition with the Socialists or Catalan pro-independence parties could bring them to power. 

So, what do they stand for? Here are their main positions on key policies.


A historic opportunity to 'end Catalan independence push'

The People's Party has been one of the main opponents of Catalan independence among parties in Catalonia. 

In recent months, they have strongly opposed the amnesty bill, currently in the parliamentary approval process, which would pardon Catalan pro-independence leaders and supporters who were investigated, charged, or accused during the height of the independence push.

The bill, agreed between the Socialists and Catalan pro-independence parties, has provoked vehement opposition and the People's Party could capitalize on voters who oppose it, particularly from the Socialist Party.

Speaking at a rally last week, Fernández said this election was an "historic opportunity to end the Catalan independence push" and "restore coexistence, harmony, and the constitution."

"We must put an end to the worst period in Catalonia's recent history," he said in an election debate.

Alejandro Fernández in a campaign event in Sabadell
Alejandro Fernández in a campaign event in Sabadell / Marta Vidal

Political stability, legal security and lower taxes

The People's Party defends that the Catalan independence push has deeply affected the territory's economy. "Almost 9,000 companies have left Catalonia since the independence push began," said Fernández at a campaign event in Tarragona. 

Fernández claims that companies have left because of a lack of legal certainty, political instability, and the transformation of Catalonia into a "tax hell".

To reverse the situation, the People's Party is proposing to abolish inheritance and wealth taxes and reduce all regional income tax brackets.

"With political stability, legal security, and lower taxes, the companies that left Catalonia will return and many more will come," said Fernández. 

To reduce public spending, they also propose halving the size of the Catalan government

Deport repeat offending migrants and 'dignify' the police

The People's Party has put security at the center of its manifesto. Fernández believes there is a "feeling of insecurity" among Catalans and that the measures taken by the current government have "attracted crime."

To combat this, one of the People's Party's flagship policies is to deport migrants who reoffend. 

"Those who come to our country only to commit crimes are not welcome. Those who come to Catalonia and Spain have to work, earn an honorable living, and respect the law," he said at a rally in Sabadell.

Fernández also advocates more funding for the police, with the creation of nearly 600 officers of the Catalan police Mossos d'Esquadra. 

"We must not protect the criminal, but the person who catches the criminal," he said. 

Evict squatters in 24h and 50,000 homes for youth

Another of the People's Party's flagship measures is to change the law to allow the police to evict squatters within 24 hours

Catalonia has the highest number of illegal occupations of all Spanish regions. Last year alone, the police received 7,017 complaints of illegal squatting, and in the last six years there have been around 42,000 illegal occupations of property.

"While it is true that the Constitution protects the right to housing, this right must be guaranteed by the state through its policies, not by homeowners through their right to property," said Fernández. 

To provide more housing for young people, the PP is proposing to build 50,000 public houses on public land over the next four years. 

Hard Rock casino complex and Barcelona airport expansion

The development of major new projects has been a key issue in Catalan politics in recent months. 

The dispute between the ruling Esquerra and the left-wing Comuns over the development of the Hard Rock casino complex is, in fact, what prompted President Pere Aragonès to call a snap election. 

The People's Party's stance on the issue is clear: they want the development of the Hard Rock, as well as the expansion of Barcelona airport, a much-debated issue during the last legislature, and the extension of the B-40 highway.