Unambiguous pro-independence stance, a new acronym and goodbye to the Pujol family: what has changed in CDC in four years

The shocks from the 2012-2016 period end with an unprecedented structure and a separation between the presidency of the Generalitat and that of the party.

The Reus exhibition center welcomed the sixteenth Convergència conference from March 23-25, 2012. A few hours before it began, Oriol Pujol was seen happily walking onstage inside the venue. "Today is my Saint's Day!", he announced to the reporters who arrived at the capital of the Baix Camp county to attend the press conference prior to the beginning of three days that ended with the inclusion of a new state as a party goal. Indeed, 71% of the 2,000 delegates who attended the conclave defended this option, and 91% said that they would vote in favor of independence in a hypothetical referendum on the nation's political future. Four years later, independence is unambiguously supported, and the Pujol family, after the string of corruption cases associated with them, has gradually vanished from the scene. These are the five aspects that have marked the evolution of the nationalist initials --CDC has become the Catalan Democratic Party by decision of the founding members of the party-- over the past four years.

National orientation

"Catalonia = nation + its own state". This is, in summary, the formula that the delegates approved in the Reus conference. The negotiations were led by Artur Mas, then president of the Generalitat, together with Gerard Figueras, at that time Secretary General of the Nationalist Youth of Catalonia (JNC, the youth branch of the party) and, at present, Deputy Minister for Sport. Jordi Pujol himself attended the key meeting that moved the issue forward, celebrated with applause when attendees approved it. Four years later, the new CDC --now named the Catalan Democratic Party (PDC)-- defines itself as "pro-independence", supports an "independent state in the form of a republic"-- a formula taken from the secessionist declaration of 9-N negotiated with the CUP-- and does not rule out "unilateral" steps in case Spain blocks all routes and the Generalitat exhausts all legal options.

Social Model
From the cost of budget cuts to a more social argument

The Reus conference caught Convergència in the middle of a budgetary pact with the PP. Austerity had been the house brand since Mas landed in the Generalitat, and so far it had not cost them at the ballots. The municipal elections of May 2011 were the best in the history of CiU-- with the Barcelona Mayor's office included-- and in the Spanish elections in November of that year Josep A. Duran i Lleida scored an unprecedented victory with 16 seats. A defense of the welfare state appeared in the ideological platform, coordinated by Francesc Homs, which mixed social and national policies, but the economic context allowed the leaders to argue for government action that was viewed poorly by the more social-democratic sectors. In this foundational conference, the talk is of "social centrism", of promoting private activity without harming public services, and there is a call for a welfare state "like the most advanced in Europe". "[We defend] A country in which the education system, the health system, and social protection and activities are the foundations that sustain a real equality of opportunity".

From a classical leadership structure to a reduced group with a dual presidency

The leadership that emerged in 2012 had an honorary president --Jordi Pujol--, a president --Artur Mas--, a Secretary General --Oriol Pujol (Jordi Pujol’s son)—, a secretary of organization --Josep Rull-- and two vice-secretary generals -- Lluís Corominas and Francesc Homs. The national executive committee, in total, included 80 people. This structure will make way for a model in which there will be a dual presidency "with interchangeable roles" -- Mas and Neus Munté -- and a General Coordinator in charge of a team of twelve people who will be chosen for the first time via primaries. In addition, it has adopted a code of incompatibilities, which will prevent ministers from being a part of the executive leadership and which stipulates that no more than two institutional and party positions can be accumulated at the same time. On July 23 the new leaders will be chosen, including the presidential tandem.

From Oriol Pujol to a new rejuvenated leadership

The two salient names arising from the 2012 conference were Oriol Pujol and Josep Rull, who in the end rose to the party leadership with a huge responsibility-- that of Secretary of Organization. The former was removed from political life after being charged in the MOT case, and the latter is Catalonia’s Minister for Territory and Sustainability after having taken over as General Coordinator when Pujol stepped down, a year and a half after being indicted. In Reus, Munté rose to Executive Secretary on a sectorial level, and four years later is on the verge of becoming Vice-president of the PDC. Up-and-coming leaders such as Marta Pascal, party spokesperson, and David Bonvehí, strong man in the central region, will have influence in the future leadership and could lead a candidacy if Jordi Turull does not renounce the position of General Coordinator. Mayors such as Marc Solsona (Mollerussa), Marc Castells (Igualada), Albert Batet (Valls), Albert Batalla (la Seu d'Urgell), independents such as Miquel Àngel Escobar and Míriam Nogueras, or even liberals like Marc Guerrero have also been rising in the party. And, obviously, one of the leading names is Carles Puigdemont, President of the Generalitat, who four years ago was merely the mayor of Girona city.

From leading player to shared billing

Jordi Pujol was in charge of opening the Reus conference four years ago, delivering an emphatic address in which he called for CDC to be the "shock troops" against attacks from Madrid. Mas closed the conference by calling for support for a Catalan Treasury in case the fiscal agreement did not come to fruition. In last weekend’s foundational conclave, Pujol did not even attend, and Mas only made the opening speech. Puigdemont was charged with closing the conference with a five-minute speech in which he called on the PDC to act in service to the independence movement. His predecessor will lead the new party, but is in the final stage of his career. Puigdemont is on the path to becoming the presidential candidate.

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