Democratic and Social Centre (Spain)

Democratic and Social Centre
Centro Democratico y Social
Leader Fatima Arbelo
Founder Adolfo Suarez
Founded 29 July 1982 (29 July 1982)
Dissolved 18 February 2006
Preceded by Union of the Democratic Centre
Merged into People's Party
Headquarters Madrid
Youth wing Democratic and Social Centre Youth.
Ideology Centrism[1]
Social liberalism[5]
Christian democracy[5]
Political position Centre[1][6][7]
International affiliation Liberal International
European Parliament group Liberal and Democratic Reformist (1987–1994)
Colours Green, white

Democratic and Social Centre (in Spanish: Centro Democrático y Social, CDyS or CDS) was a centrist, social liberal political party in Spain, which was founded in 1982 by former prime minister Adolfo Suárez. In 2006, most of its remaining members merged into the People's Party.


CDS was founded on 29 July 1982 by Adolfo Suárez, who had been the principal architect of the transition to a democratic system after the death of Francisco Franco and served as head of Government from 1976 to 1981. The followers of CDS claimed that their party was the inheritor of the political legacy of the Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD).

After resigning both as Prime Minister of Spain and party president of the UCD in January 1981, Suarez continued to struggle for control of the party machine. When he failed in his bid to regain party leadership in July 1982, he abandoned the party he had created and formed the CDS. The new centrist party fared poorly in the October general elections, gaining only two parliamentary seats.

By 1986 the party's fortunes had improved dramatically under the leadership of the former Prime Minister. In the June elections, the CDS more than tripled its share of the vote, which was 9.2 percent in 1986, compared with 2.9 percent in 1982, indicating that many who had previously voted for the UCD had transferred their support to the CDS. In the electoral campaign, Suarez had focused on his own experience as head of the government; he had criticised the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) for not fulfilling its 1982 election promises, had advocated a more independent foreign policy, and had called for economic measures that would improve the lot of the poor. This strategy enabled him to draw some votes from those who had become disillusioned with the PSOE.

In the municipal and the regional elections held in June 1987, the largest gains were made by the CDS. A poll taken at the end of 1987 revealed even stronger support for the party, and it gave Suarez a popularity rating equal to that of Gonzalez. Suarez's call for less dependence on the United States appealed to the latent anti-Americanism in the populace, and his advocacy of a greater role for the state in providing social services and in ensuring a more equitable distribution of income struck a responsive chord among the workers, who were growing increasingly impatient with Gonzalez's economic policies, which some perceived as more conservative than expected.

From 1988 onwards, the party was a member of the Liberal International (LI). Suarez was the LI's president from 1988 to 1991.[11] On March 25, 1995 the Centrist Union (UC) was born as a federation consisting of the CDS and some liberal and green groups. Subsequently, from November 1995, the party was called UC-CDS. In October 2002 the party reverted to its original name, CDS. A party congress held in 2005 decided, under the presidency of Teresa Gómez-Limón, to merge with the conservative People's Party (PP). At that point, CDS had 54 municipal councillors and around 3,000 members. The merger of CDS with the PP took place on 18 February 2006.

Revived party

A minority faction refused to accept the merger with the PP. They were headed by the "suarista", Fabian Villalabeitia Copena and Carlos Fernandez García. They organised an extraordinary Congress, following all the steps that were needed in the Bylaws of the CDS, obtaining almost the ownership of the same ones and appearing in almost all the provinces of Spain. At that congress Villalabeitia was elected speaker with the purpose of presiding over a Congress to select a national president. Before they had met in Logroño, members of the Executive Committee and the Federal committee had disagreed over the merger with the PP. Initially this group called itself the Liberal Democratic Centre (Centro Democrático Liberal). However, in 2007, following a judicial review, they obtained the right to use the CDS name.[12] In the 2007 local elections the party received 14,000 votes and won 38 council seats.

CDS Youth

The continuing party has a youth wing, the Democratic and Social Center Youth. The principal objectives of the organisation are increasing youth participation in political, economic, and social life.

Electoral performance

Cortes Generales

Election Leader Votes % # Seats Outcome
Congress Senate
1982 Adolfo Suárez 604,309 2.87 #6
2 / 350
0 / 208
PSOE majority
1986 1,861,912 9.22 #3
19 / 350
3 / 208
PSOE majority
1989 1,617,716 7.89 #4
14 / 350
1 / 208
PSOE minority
1993 Rafael Calvo Ortega 414,740 1.76 #5
0 / 350
0 / 208
PSOE minority
1996 Fernando García Fructuoso 44,771 0.18 #15
0 / 350
0 / 208
PP minority
2000 Mario Conde 23,576 0.10 #19
0 / 350
0 / 208
PP majority
2004 Teresa Gómez-Limón 34,101 0.13 #19
0 / 350
0 / 208
PSOE minority
2008 Carlos Fernández García 1,362 0.01 #60
0 / 350
0 / 208
PSOE minority

European Parliament

Election Votes % # Seats Candidate Notes
1987 1,976,093 10.26 3rd
7 / 60
Eduard Punset
1989 1,133,429 7.15 3rd
5 / 60
José Ramón Caso
1994 183,418 0.99 7th
0 / 64
Eduard Punset Coalition with Foro.
1999 38,911 0.18 11th
0 / 64
José Manuel Novo Within Centrist Union.
2004 11,820 0.08 11th
0 / 54
Teresa Gómez-Limón
2009 10,144 0.06 18th
0 / 54
Antonio Fidalgo Martín

Local councils

Election Votes % # Councillors Leader Notes
1983 308,275 1.73 7th
1,299 / 67,312
Adolfo Suárez
1987 1,902,293 9.76 3rd
5,952 / 65,577
Adolfo Suárez
1991 731,331 3.88 6th
2,939 / 66,308
Adolfo Suárez
1995 63,457 0.29 18th
142 / 65,869
Rafael Calvo Ortega
1999 62,964 0.30 17th
281 / 65,201
Teresa Gómez-Limón Within Centrist Union.
2003 23,428 0.10 23rd
54 / 65,510
Teresa Gómez-Limón

See also


  1. 1 2 Steed, Michael; Humphreys, Peter (1988), "Identifying liberal parties", Liberal Parties in Western Europe, Cambridge University Press, p. 426
  2. Haas, Melanie (2006), "Das Parteiensystem Spaniens", Die Parteiensysteme Westeuropas, VS Verlag, p. 437
  3. Colomer, Josep M. (2002), Political Institutions in Europe (Second ed.), Routledge, p. 176
  4. Thomas Banchoff; Mitchell Smith (12 November 2012). Legitimacy and the European Union: The Contested Polity. Taylor & Francis. pp. 123–. ISBN 978-0-415-18188-4. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  5. 1 2 Matuschek, Peter (2004), "Who Learns from Whom?: The Failure of Spanish Christian Democracy and the Success of the Partido Popular", Christian Democratic Parties in Europe since the End of the Cold War, Leuven University Press, p. 255
  6. Montero, José Ramón (1999), "Stabilising the Democratic Order: Electoral Behaviour in Spain", Politics and Policy in Democratic Spain, Frank Cass, p. 63
  7. Pallarés, Francesc; Keating, Michael (2006), "Multi-level electoral competition: sub-state elections and party systems in Spain", Devolution and electoral politics, Manchester University Press, p. 99
  8. Romero Salvado, Francisco J. (1999), Twentieth-Century Spain: Politics and Society in Spain, 1898-1998, Palgrave, p. xii
  9. Maravall, José María; Santamaría, Julián (1986), "Political Change in Spain and the Prospects for Democracy", Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Southern Europe, Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 95
  10. Gunther, Richard; Sani, Giacomo; Shabad, Goldie (1988), Spain After Franco: The Making of a Competitive Party System, University of California Press, p. 423
  11. Roberts, Geoffrey K.; Hogwood, Patricia (2003), The Politics Today companion to West European politics, Manchester University Press, p. 137
  12., accessed 25 June 2010

External links

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