Parliament of Catalonia in Barcelona
The Parliament of Catalonia (, ; ) is the unicameral legislature of Catalonia. It is formed by 135 members ("diputats"), who are elected every four years in ordinary period, or extraordinarily upon dissolution and call of elections by the President of Catalonia, by universal suffrage in proportional lists with four constituencies, being this the Catalan provinces. The Parliament building is located in the Ciutadella park.
The most recent parliamentary elections were held on November 28, 2010. The Centre-Left coalition Government, made up of Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC), Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and Initiative for Catalonia Greens (ICV), lost 22 seats, while the Centre-Right parties, Convergence and Union (CiU) and People's Party (PPC), gained a combined 18 seats. CiU now controls 62 of 135 seats, more than twice what any other party holds, but they have yet to negotiate a coalition deal to reach a 68 seat majority.
Also, Catalan Solidarity for Independence (SI), which is a new 2010 electoral coalition of six Catalan independentist minor parties, entered parliament for the first time. They elected 4 deputies to the chamber, making them the 6th largest party.
The first representative and legislative bodies in Catalonia were the Sanctuary and Truce Assemblies (assemblees de pau i treva), of which the earliest record dates from 1027. These were originally ad hoc, local meetings convened by the Church—Oliba, Bishop of Vic (died 1046) was a notable instigator—but progressively became subsumed into the court of the Counts of Barcelona. The first Catalan legal code, the Usatges de Barcelona, was promulgated by Count Ramon Berenguer I based on the decisions of these Assemblies.
Although the Counts of Barcelona, Kings of Aragón from 1137, had greatly extended the territory under their control, their financial and military power was quite limited, partly because of their former status as vassals of the Carolingian dynasty. Their personal resources were particularly insufficient in periods of economic crisis or military expansion, of which they were many from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. The need to secure troops and revenue led to the steady expansion of the royal court and a formalisation of its procedures. It came to be referred to as the Corts general de Catalunya or Corts catalanes, and was endowed with formal procedures—effectively a written constitution—by King Peter III of Aragon in 1283.
The Corts catalanes were composed of three estates (tres braços), representing the Church, the feudal nobles and the citizens of Royal towns such as Barcelona or Girona. Inhabitants of feudal towns (e.g. Cardona) were not represented, except by their overlords. The main function of the Corts was legislative, either in approving laws proposed by the King (constitucions) or at their own initiative (capítols de cort). Although the Corts met at irregular intervals—as often as the Crown needed to find new resources—they also formally approved the acts of the King between their sessions (known as pragmàtiques) and, from 1359, established a permanent delegation to oversee the Crown (forerunner of the Generalitat de Catalunya). The Corts catalanes were abolished by the Nueva Planta decrees in 1715.
There were several attempts in the early twentieth century to institute an autonomous system of representation for Catalonia. The Commonwealth of Catalonia (1914–25) was an assembly of the provincial delegations of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona, abolished by Primo de Rivera. After an abortive declaration of a Catalan Republic in 1931, a separate Parliament of Catalonia was established under the first Statute of Autonomy and elected in 1932. This Parliament was suspended between 1934 and 1936, and abolished by Francisco Franco in 1938. The first legislature of the current Parliament of Catalonia was elected in 1980.
- To elect the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
- To pass the Catalan legislation in the business of its competence.
- To pass the Budget of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia.
- To control the action of the Government of Catalonia and the autonomous agencies, public companies and all other bodies answerable to it.
- Official website (multilingual, mostly in Catalan)