The Ciudadanos (Cs) party has announced that it will not put forward any candidates to run in the Spanish general election to be held on 23 July, following the poor results obtained in the local and regional elections this week.
The party’s national committee took the decision after holding an emergency meeting on Tuesday, and following Monday’s surprise announcement by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to call a snap election in eight weeks time.
‘The message of the elections has been very clear. We do not have enough support as a decisive political force, the party’s general secretary Adrián Vázquez said at a press conference. ‘Spaniards do not see us as a political alternative.’
In Spain’s nationwide local elections on Sunday, the Cs party that claims to be ‘centrist-liberal’ won just 1.35% of the votes and did not get a single politician elected to a regional government. ALSO READ: Spain’s right-wing make significant gains in local and regional elections.
Vázquez said he viewed the July election as a referendum on Sánchez as prime minister, and, faced with this scenario, party leaders considered that ‘today there is no electoral space’ for Cs as they had not offered an ‘attractive enough’ proposition.
However, he also rejected the possibility of disbanding the party and said that Cs would return ‘rearmed’ because ‘there is political space for liberal ideas’. He said that in July, the party would hold a ‘national meeting’ to reorganise the party.
The 2006 regional election in Catalonia was the first poll that Ciudadanos stood in, led by the party’s founder Albert Rivera. In December 2017, it then became the highest-voted group in the Catalan elections, becoming the largest unionist voice in Catalonia during the peak of the independence push, winning more seats than any other party with 36, yet the coalition of pro-independence forces combined still held a majority in the chamber.
In the April 2019 general elections in Spain, Cs became the third-most popular party, winning 15% of the vote nationwide.
Following this peak, however, the party suffered poor election results. The November 2019 general election in Spain saw the party drop 47 seats to holding just 10, while in the February 2021 Catalan election, they managed to win just six seats, down by 30.
While Cs was founded as a ‘centre-liberal’ party opposed to Catalan independence, its identity shifted over the years until it was firmly on the right of the political spectrum. As the party collapsed, most of its votes went to the right-wing People’s Party (PP) and even the far-right Vox, which both saw major gains after Sunday’s vote.
ALSO READ (from 2019 archive): Focus on Ciudadanos: ‘weather vane’ to ‘dangerous friendships’.
📡 @AdrianVL1982 ha mandando un mensaje a los afiliados, simpatizantes y votantes de CS:— Ciudadanos 🇪🇸🇪🇺 (@CiudadanosCs) May 30, 2023
"En julio haremos un encuentro nacional del espacio del centro liberal. No descansaremos ni un minuto para prepararnos para volver a ser decisivos y transformar el país que tanto amamos". pic.twitter.com/NNagas14Q2