Ciudadanos leader Inés Arrimadas quits politics after election freefall

Politician won Catalan election in 2017 as one of dominant voices against push for independence

Image of Ciutadans' leader, Inés Arrimadas, on December 3, 2019 (by Javier Barbancho)
Image of Ciutadans' leader, Inés Arrimadas, on December 3, 2019 (by Javier Barbancho) / Guifré Jordan
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

June 1, 2023 01:01 PM

June 1, 2023 01:44 PM

Unionist Ciudadanos (Cs) leader Inés Arrimadas will quit politics, as announced on Thursday.

She was president of the party between 2020 and March 2023, and she was also MP in the Spanish Congress.

Arrimadas spent four years as head of opposition in the Catalan parliament, between 2015 and 2019, including the peak of the independence push in 2017.

The politician, who became one of the dominant voices against a Catalan republic over the years, won the election held in Catalonia in December 2017, just two months after the independence referendum and subsequent Spanish take over of Catalonia's self-rule.

Despite the all-time high 36 seats for her party, she could not form a government since the parties for independence garnered an absolute majority of MPs to appoint Junts' Quim Torra as president.

Four-year freefall for Ciudadanos

Her party began its freefall in November 2019, when it obtained 10 seats in the Spanish congress repeated election, 47 down from its peak, achieved only half a year before. Subsequently, the then party leader Albert Rivera stepped down, Arrimadas took over, but she was unable to revert the trend.

In the 2021 Catalan election, Cs dropped from 36 to 6 seats, and in the local elections held last Sunday, the party lost 229 out of the 239 councilors achieved four years ago.

After the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, decided to call a snap Spanish election for July 23, Ciudadanos decided not to run and on Thursday, Arrimadas announced she would no longer be in politics.

"I represented the party that broke silence and faced sucessfully the nacionalist regime," Arrimadas said in a press conference where she confirmed she was following a new path in her professional career.

"With the victory [in 2017] we showed that the only way to beat nationalism is facing it without complex, disarming its mantras."

"I thank all Catalans who cast their ballots and halted the separatist coup."