The institutional norm that establishes the political organization of Catalonia is the 2006 Statute of Autonomy. In accordance with what the Statute establishes, the self-government of Catalonia is politically organized in the Generalitat of Catalonia, which is coordinated by the Parliament, the Presidium, the Executive Council and other institutions created by the Parliament. The system of political organization in Catalonia is based on parliamentarism.
The Statute of Autonomy is the main institutional norm of Catalonia, in accordance with the provisions of section eighth of the Spanish Constitution of 1978, which defines the rights and obligations of the citizens of Catalonia, the political institutions of Catalan nationality, its powers and relations with the state, as well as the funding of the Generalitat of Catalonia.
The first Statute of Autonomy was written in 1932 and is known as the Statute of Nuria (cat. L’Estatut de Núria) with a very short duration and canceled at the end of the Spanish Civil War. A second Statute of Autonomy, drafted in 1979, restored Catalonia’s autonomy and was in effect until 2006, when the current Statute of Autonomy was drafted and approved by a Catalan referendum.
The Parliament of Catalonia is the representative of the people of Catalonia. By virtue of the fact that parliament arose as a result of democratic elections, it is the supreme power and the most important institution of the Generalitat, from which all others emerge, as in the case of parliamentary systems.
The Parliament of Catalonia is unicameral, independent and inviolable. After rebuilding in 1980, the Parliament consisted of 135 deputies elected by universal suffrage.
Executive power belongs to the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia. The President is elected by Parliament and appointed by the King of Spain. The President is the highest representative of the Generalitat and the Spanish State in Catalonia and therefore passes laws on behalf of the King. The President is also the head of the Catalan government and directs and coordinates the Executive Council, the body responsible for government action. The President has the power to appoint directors and preside over all of their meetings.
According to article 95 of the Statute of Autonomy, the Supreme Court is the highest jurisdictional body of Catalonia. The powers of the Supreme Court include examining appeals and procedures in various institutional arrangements and protecting the rights recognized by the Statute. In any case, it is competent in jurisdictional, civil, administrative and social disputes, as well as in others that may arise in the future.
Article 94 of the Statute establishes the existence of the Council of Justice of Catalonia, the governing body of the Catalan judiciary. The Council is a decentralized body of the General Council of the Judiciary, without prejudice to its powers.
Other institutions of the Generalitat:
The Council for Statutory Guarantees of Catalonia (cat. Consell de Garanties Estatutàries de Catalunya) is the highest legal and advisory institution of the Generalitat of Catalonia. In accordance with article 76 of the Statute of the Autonomy of Catalonia, it is responsible for ensuring that the laws of parliament and the rule of law of the government are in accordance with the Statute and the Constitution. Likewise, as a guarantee of self-government in Catalonia, it must make decisions before appealing to the Constitutional Court on unconstitutionality, conflicts of competence and conflicts in defense of local autonomy.
The Ombudsman, known in Catalonia as síndic de greuges, is a government or regional official responsible for representing the interests of citizens and protecting them from abuses that may be committed by government or government officials.
The Court of Accounts (cat. Sindicatura de Comptes) is a supreme audit institution, that is, a government agency designed to carry out financial and / or legal audits in the executive branch.
The Council for the Audiovisual of Catalonia (CAC) (cat. Consell de l’Audiovisual de Catalunya) is one of the institutions of the Generalitat of Catalonia, established by Article 82 of the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia. The CAC is an independent regulatory body with its own legal personality in the field of public and private audiovisual communications, managed directly by the Generalitat.
With the entry into force of the Statute of Autonomy in 2006, the provincial councils disappeared. The administrative division of Catalonia consists of municipalities (cat. Municipis), vegeria (cat. Vegueries) and comarques (cat. Comarques). Municipalities enjoy autonomy to exercise their mandate and protect the interests of the community they represent.
Veguerias are special territorial areas for inter-municipal government and local cooperation. They are also a territorial subdivision adopted by the Generalitat for the territorial organization of its services. Municipalities and Veguerias are represented by the Council of Local Authorities in the institutions of the Generalitat.
The regions are set up as local bodies with their own legal personality and are composed of municipalities to administer local powers and services.
Political parties of Catalonia and the current composition of the legislature
The seven main political parties of Catalonia currently have seats in the Parliament:
- Partit Demòcrata Europeu Català
- Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya
- Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya
- Partit Popular Català
- Catalunya en Comú
- Ciutadans – Partit de la Ciutadania
- Candidatura d’Unitat Popular
Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó is a Catalan journalist and politician, 130th President of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
L’Enciclopèdia: Grup Enciclopèdia Catalana.
«Els Països Catalans»: Grup Enciclopèdia Catalana.
Photo: Alex Monroe