Political Pluralism and Independence in Catalonia: Lessons Learned from Federalism

  • Paloma BiglinoEmail author


Federalism has been closely linked to the need to ensure political and social pluralism since its origins in the Philadelphia Convention. This paper analyzes the limitations that this relationship has undergone in the independence process that has begun in Catalonia. The idea of nation invoked by the supporters of independence, the plebiscitarian interpretation of the elections of 27 September 2015, and the passing of the declaration of sovereignty in the Catalonian Parliament weaken the plurality that characterizes federal States. The paper also examines these events in a broader context, that is, taking into account the form of government that has been implemented in our Autonomous Communities, and the way in which the institutions of the central State are set up. In the Autonomous Communities, the relationship between government and parliament has become unbalanced in favor of the executive. It leads to a predominance of the president that benefits the majority to the detriment of the rights of minorities. In the case of the State, it is indispensable to undertake a deep reform of the Constitution and inferior laws, in order to increase the inclusiveness of the central power and to give a proper answer to those Catalonian claims that are compatible with the social and democratic State of Law.


Federalism Independence Political parties Catalonia Political participation 



This article is part of the Project of Research on Crisis of representation and Political Parties, (DER2013-40585-P) awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness in the 2013–2016 national call for I+D Excellence Projects. The results of the Project are available at


  1. Garea F (2015) La resolución incita a la ruptura del Estado de derecho. EL PAÍS, 4 November 2015.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Valladolid University, Faculty of LawValladolidSpain

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