POLITIFILE: Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP) ~ United People’s Candidacy

CUP announces refusal to vote to seat Artur Mas as Catalan president. Photo: Credit Quique Garcia/European Pressphoto Agency via NYTimes
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• Candidatura d’Unitat Popular, CUP ~ United People’s Candidacy ~ Candidatura de Unidad Popular

cup_150wThe Candidatura d’Unitat Popular, or CUP (‘United People’s Candidacy’ in English, Candidatura de Unidad Popular in Spanish) is a leftwing Catalan nationalist political party operating chiefly in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia, with a lesser presence in the neighboring Valencian Community.

The party currently holds 382 of 9,077 municipal council seats throughout in Catalonia and 10 of 135 seats in the Catalan regional assembly, or Parlament. It also holds three of the 5,742 municipal council seats in Catalonia’s neighbor to the south, the Valencian Community.

The CUP defines its economic platform as socialist and favors the nationalisation of all financial institutions, transportation and communication networks. It also promotes the complete independence of Catalonia from Spain and subscribes to the broad definition of Catalonia as incorporating the Catalan Countries (Països Catalans), which in addition to Catalonia proper include Spanish regions of Valencia and the Balearic Islands, the Catalan-speaking eastern franja or border region of Aragon and the Catalan-speaking region of southeastern France. The party also favors the withdrawal of an independent Catalonia from the European Union (EU) and from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

Rooted in various leftwing Catalan movements formed in the years immediately following the 1975 death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, the CUP was incorporated as a political party in 1987. The party has been focused throughout its history primarily on assembly-based democratic decision making and building a presence at the local, municipal level in Catalonia.

Presenting candidates at various local municipal elections throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the CUP achieved its first notable electoral success in 2003, running in coalition with other political forces in 8 municipalities and under its own banner in local elections in 10 municipalities, winning four seats in three of those municipalities. In the 2007 municipal elections, the CUP won a total of 18,000 votes, or 0.65 percent of the total vote count, and through 2011 held 26 seats in 17 different Catalan municipalities.

Running in regional Catalan elections in 2012 for the first time, the party polled 126,435 votes for 3.48 percent of total votes case, giving it 3 seats in the 135-member Catalan Parlament. Three years later, in November 2015 regional elections the party nearly tripled its vote count, winning 337,794 votes for 8.21 percent of the total votes cast, giving it 10 of 135 seats in the Parlament and placing it in an important negotiating position vis a vis the Catalan nationalist Junts pel Sí (‘Together for Yes’) coalition formed by the leftwing ERC party and centre-right Convergencia, which fell short of a winning an absolute majority and needed CUP support to secure a majority allowing it to form a new government.

You can find out more about Catalonia’s Candidatura d’Unitat Popular at the following links online:






Updated as of 10/2016

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