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Catalonia - Government

Catalonia FlagCatalonia’s 20th-century designs for autonomy, born of the debate over the territorial organisation of constitutional Spain, are based on contemporary social dynamism and respond to the needs of a modern democratic society. In contrast to its remote, unspecific, ambiguous historical experiences, Catalonia’s current autonomy scheme had followed a strict line of continuity.

Indeed, the clear assertion of the political personality of Catalonia is a common thread that can be traced throughout the 20th century, and which persevered despite the resistance of Spain’s centralist inertia, which was especially pronounced during two periods of democratic regression: the dictatorship of General Primo de Rivera (1923-1930) and the dictatorship of General Franco (1939-1975). There are clear links between the first electoral victories of political Catalan nationalism (1901-1907), which highlighted the inadequacy of the state framework, and Catalonia’s first opportunity for self-government (the Commonwealth of 1914-1925); between this experience and the establishment of the autonomous Government of Catalonia during the Second Spanish Republic (1931-1939); and between the republican Government of Catalonia and its present incarnation, which is in fact an explicit restoration, made possible by the legal survival of a Government in exile during Franco’s internal control.

The policies applied at each level of government reflect the will of the citizens. Catalan self-government was undertaken in accordance with the Spanish Constitution (Constitució espanyola) and the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia (Estatut d’Autonomia de Catalunya), which is the nation’s basic institutional regulatory framework.

The Generalitat de Catalunya (a term often used to refer to just the Catalan government) is the system under which Catalan self-government is politically organised. It comprises the Parliament, which had 135 members, the president and the government, all of whom are elected by universal suffrage every four years. Their functions are to choose the president of the Catalan government, to control the way Catalonia is governed and to draft and pass laws.

Catalonia currently had more than seven million inhabitants, distributed among 946 municipalities. In terms of administration, the territory is divided up in two ways. Firstly, there are the divisions established by the Catalan authorities, consisting of 41 regions (called comarques in Catalan). Secondly, there are the administrative divisions established by the Spanish government, consisting of 4 provinces, namely Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona. The city of Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia.

Each municipal area is governed and represented by a town or city council. Such bodies consist of a mayor and a group of councillors, who manage and make plans regarding public affairs in their local area. Councillors are chosen by means of voting every four years. Those who are chosen have to select one of their number to be the mayor.

Foreigners may only vote in municipal elections if a reciprocal arrangement had been established with their country of origin, meaning that Spanish citizens are also able to vote in that country. People from the EU, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, Iceland, Norway, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru and Chile currently have the right to vote in municipal elections.

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Page last modified: 08-10-2017 18:30:03 ZULU