People’s Party: fighting to top Catalonia’s right-wing camp

Led by Alejandro Fernández, the party looks set to remain a minority in parliament

Catalan People's Party presidential candidate Alejandro Fernández speaking at an election campaign event (by Jordi Pujolar)
Catalan People's Party presidential candidate Alejandro Fernández speaking at an election campaign event (by Jordi Pujolar) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 10, 2021 07:50 PM

The Catalan branch of the People’s Party, or PPC, despite its established base, is expected to finish near the bottom of the vote count at the Catalan elections on February 14. 

A right-wing party, their stance could be described as pro-EU, conservative, in support of Christian democracy and Spanish unionism. 

Unsurprisingly, their view regarding Catalan independence is harsh and defined; they are against it and refuse to engage in dialogue on the matter. 

Their former leader, Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish president preceding Pedro Sánchez, was the person who put article 155 of the Spanish constitution into force following the independence push in 2017. This left Catalonia without a government and parliament for over half a year, with its self-rule suspended.

Strong presence in Spain, minor in Catalonia

The PP has been well established in Spain since the transition to democracy, becoming one of the largest parties of the past few decades, leading the Spanish government for 15 years.

However, in Catalonia, they have never been in government and only seldom have played a key role in governance.

While in Spanish elections they have reached two absolute majorities garnering 45% of the ballots, they've never surpassed 13% in a Catalan vote.  

After their harsh reaction to the Catalan referendum in 2017, voters punished them with 4 seats in the Catalan parliament, their smallest representation since their founding.

Alejandro Fernández frontrunner

Their frontrunner on February 14 is Alejandro Fernández, an MP for Tarragona. 

During the campaign, Fernández has made his opinion on the handling of the Covid-19 crisis clear, stating in the first televised debate of the season that “the level of incompetence has been palpable”, aiming this comment at ex-Spanish health minister turned Socialist presidential candidate Salvador Illa. 

He has also called the PSC candidate “the worst health minister in Europe” and has made it clear that an alliance between the two unionist parties is not on the horizon.

Far-right Vox, main rival

Far-right Vox are their biggest rival in the right-wing camp. Polls put the PP at anything between 7 and 9 seats, due to the fall of Ciudadanos, with the latest CIS survey placing PPC below both Vox and far-left CUP; seeing them take only 5.8% of the vote. Fernández’s political force could only play any role in governance if the pro-independence bloc does not retain their majority.

PP’s hopes for Catalonia

Fernández has been presenting the party as “creating the alternative” and being “the real change”, in reference to Catalonia’s future. When it comes to the independence question, their suggestions have not been concrete. 

They propose “normalizing” Spanish state symbols in Catalonia and bringing an end to “partisan propaganda” with the reformation of TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio, a point shared by far-right Vox.

They propose themselves as the other option to the likely independence or left-wing majorities, as Fernández has already pushed off any possibility for joining with either of these alliances to gain a majority.