• Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya ~ Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) •
Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia), also known by its initials as ERC or simply Esquerra, is a centre-left Catalan nationalist and republican party founded in 1931 the northeast region of Catalonia during the Second Spanish Republic as the Catalan affiliate of Spanish Prime Minister Manuel Azaña’s Izquierda Republicana party, which represented the liberal professions, small business, teachers and lower middle class bureaucrats. The ERC was Catalonia’s dominant political party both during the Second Republic and the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. A minor party in Catalonia after Spain’s transition to democracy in the 1980s, the growth in support for Catalan independence from Spain since the 1990s has increased the ERC’s membership and influence substantially.
In its nationalism, the ERC holds to the broadest definition of the Catalan “nation”, defining it as extending across the Spanish autonomous regions of Catalonia, Valencia, the Balearic Islands and the Catalan-speaking ‘Western Strip’ area of Aragon, as well as the Catalan-speaking area of France’s Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées department, referred to by Catalan nationalists as Catalunya Nord (Northern Catalonia). In addition to Catalonia’s regional Parlament, ERC has successfully fielded candidates in elections and holds seats in the regional assemblies of Valencia and the Balearic Islands.
Espousing a social-democratic ideology that enables it to claim representation of workers, professionals and small- to mid-sized businesses alike, the ERC is not affiliated with any labour movement or organisation, does not define itself as either socialist or Marxist and has never affiliated with any European or international federations of socialist or social-democrat parties. Currently, the party is affiliated with the European Free Alliance of parties advocating for devolution, self-governance, full political independence or sovereignty for their region or country; it also forms part of the Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) group in the European Parliament.
In Catalonia’s 2012 parliamentary elections, with ERC leader Oriol Junqueras at the head of its slate of candidates, the party won 498,124 votes for 13.70 percent vote total and 19 seats in Catalonia’s regional assembly, nearly doubling its performance of 219,173 votes and 7 percent in 2010 elections. In September 2015 Catalan elections, the ERC joined with the governing Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) party to form the pro-independence Junts pel Sí (JxSÍ, or Together for Yes) coalition, which won 62 seats in the regional assembly, 20 of which are currently held by ERC deputies.
Three months later, in Spain’s December 2015 general election,, with Gabriel Rufián leading the party’s slate of candidates, the party won 601,782 votes for 2.39 percent of the national vote total, making it the seventh-largest party represented with nine seats in Spain’s lower house of parliament, the Congress of Deputies. In the subsequent 26th June 2016 general election, with Rufián again leading the ticket, the ERC increased its support by 27,512 ballots cast to total 629.294 votes and 2.63 percent of the national vote count, retaining its nine seats in the national Congress.
More information about Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya is available at the following links online:
Updated as of 11/2017