Generalitat

Generalitat
   Originally formed in 1359 for the purpose of collecting war tax (itself called the generalitat), this entity became the major institution of government in Catalonia in the fifteenth century. Its power was reduced by Ferdinand the Catholic, and it was suppressed by Philip V following Barcelona's surrender during the War of Succession. The Generalitat was re-established in the 1930s during the Second Spanish Republic, and it took over most central government services and the running of the war effort during the early part of the Spanish Civil War. It was abolished by General Franco following the Nationalist victory. In 1977 a provisional Generalitat was restored, with Josep Tarradellas as its President. One of its tasks was to draw up a new Autonomy Statute, as laid out in the constitution of 1978. It produced the Statute of Sau, which in 1979 was approved by the Catalan people in a referendum and was ratified by the Madrid parliament. The Generalitat consists of the Catalan parliament, the President of the Generalitat and the Executive Council. It has 135 deputies, who are chosen in elections held every four years.
   The Generalitat possesses legislative and certain tax-raising powers, and is responsible for, among other things, education, language policy, culture and the autonomous police force. In European terms, the autonomous communities in Spain have fairly wide powers and responsibilities, and the Generalitat is a large organization, employing many people. Since 1980, the main party in the Catalan parliament has been CiU (Convergència i Unió—Convergence and Unity), and the President of the Generalitat has been the charismatic leader of CiU, Jordi Pujol.
   Further reading
   - Cruanyes, J. and Ortiz, R. (1986) Història de Catalunya, Barcelona: Jonc, pp. 75–6, 211–23, 227–31, 247–50 (deals with the foundation and subsequent development of the Generalitat within the general history of Catalonia).
   DAVID GEORGE

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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