Union, Progress and Democracy

Union, Progress and Democracy

party_name = Unión Progreso y Democracia
colorcode = FF00FF
leader = Rosa Díez
foundation = September 29, 2007
ideology = constitutionalism (defense of the Spanish Constitution of 1978),
Social democracy
Social liberalism
headquarters = Avenida de Viñuelas nº23, 1ºA,
28760, Tres Cantos, Madrid | colours = Magenta
members = Rosa Díez
Fernando Savater
Albert Boadella
Mario Vargas Llosa
Mikel Buesa
european parliament group = "None"
international = "None"
website = http://www.upyd.es

Union, Progress and Democracy ( _es. Unión, Progreso y Democracia, UPD or officially UPyD) is a Spanish political party founded in September 2007. In the 2008 general election held on 9 March, UPyD received 303,246 votes, or 1.2% of the national total. With the election of party co-founder Rosa Díez, the party gained one seat in the Congress of Deputies. [http://www.generales2008.mir.es/99CG/FTOP.htm 2008 Cortes Generales Election Results] . Ministerio del Interior. 10 March 2008. Last Accessed 10 April 2008. (Spanish)]

The leading core of this political party comes from the Basque Autonomous Community, yet it addresses a Spain-wide audience. Philosopher Fernando Savater, was one of the main promoters of the party. Other important promoters include Rosa Díez (formerly a leading figure in the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, PSOE), university professor Mikel Buesa, philosopher Carlos Martinez Gorriarán or writer Álvaro Pombo.

In January 2008, UPyD claimed to have registered 4,000 members in a matter of weeks. [ [http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/Rosa/rodea/espanoles/complejos/concurrir/generales/elpepiesp/20080113elpepinac_10/Tes Rosa Díez se rodea de "españoles sin complejos" para concurrir a las generales] (Spanish)]


On Saturday 19th May 2007, 45 people met in San Sebastián with the aim of debating the necessity and possibility of creating a new political party that would oppose both the main parties at national level: the People's Party (PP) and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE). At the meeting, most of those present were Basques, many of whom have long experience in political, union and civic organizations, in many cases coming from a background of left-wing politics, but also from liberal and citizen traditions. After that meeting, they made the decision to create a broadly based social and political project, of interest to people from across the democratic political spectrum, and from all of Spain.

The first step was to create an association, "Plataforma Pro", which united those who considered it necessary to form a new political party at national level, for all Spaniards, whose aim would be to put forward new political proposals for the more important and necessary problems which they felt could be supported by the majority of Spanish society. As a result of this they discussed some of the main policy platforms of the party that would subsequently be created, the most notable of these being:

* The fight against ETA and any type of politically motivated violence;
* Regeneration of Spanish democracy;
* Opposition to compulsory nationalism (referring to the peripheral nationalist and regionalist movements);
* The reform of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 to reinforce citizen liberties and equality, independent of the regional origins of each citizen.

Among the members or supporters of "Plataforma Pro" were the philosopher Fernando Savater, the spokesman of "¡Basta Ya!", Carlos Martinez Gorriarán (who was the coordinator of the same group) and the former socialist MEP Rosa Díez. The latter resigned from PSOE membership and her position as MEP in August 2007 in order to become involved with the UPyD project.

Other groups that showed their support for the Platform included the association Citizens of Catalonia, most notably Albert Boadella, Arcadi Espada and Xavier Pericay, and the association ¡Basta Ya! which had been a major influence on the new movement.

In September 2007, the then president of the Forum Ermua Mikel Buesa announced their intention to participate in the political party arising from the "Plataforma Pro".

Finally, at a public meeting on the 29th of September 2007 in the Auditorium of the "Casa de Campo" of Madrid the new party, "Union Progress and Democracy", was formed. Those involved in the formation of the new party included the dramatist Albert Boadella, the philosopher Fernando Savater, the writer Mario Vargas Llosa and Rosa Díez. Also present were the journalist Arcadi Espada, the anthropologist Teresa Giménez Barbat and the anthropologist Felix Perez Romera (the three prominent members of Citizens of Catalonia), the historian Antonio Elorza, painter Agustín Ibarrola and the ex-leader of the Forum of Ermua Mikel Buesa, the philosopher Carlos Martinez Gorriarán, the deputies of "Citizens" Albert Rivera and Antonio Robles, the Peruvian writer Fernando Iwasaki, the former Secretary General of The UGT Nicolas Redondo and the Basque MP of the People's Party Fernando Maura. The latter joined the new grouping on the 6th of November 2007, forming part of its advisory council. Recently, the writer Alvaro Pombo has also expressed support for UPyD.


Ideologically, UPD is not defined as "left" or "right". As they declare themselves in the opening paragraphs of their initial manifesto:

Following with its Manifesto:

UPyD prefers to define itself as a progressive party, beyond other ideological labels. The party is included in which it has come to be called in Spain as transversalism, it is a cross-sectional party, a party that tries to include concepts and ideas of both political axes, with the purpose of working in parallel with the principles of the party and the progress of the society.

Within political science, it is possible to include the party in both social democracy and social liberalism.

Their main proposals include:
* 1, The Reform of the Spanish Constitution of 1978, being centred in three scopes:
** a) "Conclusion of the autonomic model", clearly defining the functions and responsibilities of both the central state and the autonomous communities, making clear which functions are non delegable to the Autonomous Communities or Municipalities. To this the elimination of the historical rights of certain independent communities is added.
** b) "Improvement and individual reinforcement of rights and obligations", defining them as strictly equal for all the citizens of the country, without territorial, linguistic, ideological or religious inequalities.
** c) "Improvement of the separation of powers", reinforcing the autonomy of the judicial power with respect to the executive and the legislative, consolidating the unity of the judicial system in all the country, and looking for ways to guarantee the independence and professionalism of the Courts and Regulating Organs of economic character, eliminating their dependency on the executive authority.
* 2. To grant the effectiveness of Secularism, as it has been mentioned already.
* 3. The Reform of the Electoral Law, to review the electoral districts and the distribution of seats, that in their opinion is biased towards the two largest national parties (PP, PSOE) and the nationalists.
* 4. To reinforce and to promote the quality of public education, promoting secularism, fighting fanaticism and ignorance, and promoting scientific research as well as defending by law the possibility of being able to study in Spanish, and its prevalence as the common language of individuals; although recognising, protecting and using the languages used in some regions to guarantee the bilingualism where it exists.
* 5. Measures of democratic regeneration, that make citizens closer to their political representatives, for example the possibility of introducing an electoral system of open lists, the direct election of the main individual positions (autonomic and national presidency, or mayorship), limitation of mandates, and incompatibilities between the exercise of public office and private businesses. As well as measures that prevent coalitions that distort electoral results, and a more transparent financing of political parties and improving their independence of the great economic powers.
* 6. Measures to fight terrorism, that put emphasis on defeating ETA and other armed organizations, fighting their acts of violence, persecuting their financing and preventing their political and ideological justification.
* 7. Economic and social measures, that promote the development and the competitiveness of the Spanish economy, correcting inequalities. They believe that the State has to improve the education, training and security of workers, to create infrastructures, to favour the research and business innovation, and to guarantee economic freedom and competition.
* 8. International policy, sensitive to the consequences of globalization and world-wide integration, including the phenomenon of immigration, with views to obtain, instead of favouring cultural intolerance, religious fundamentalism and political tyranny, anywhere in the world, to promote progress of humanity and the free development of civilization and universal democratic principles; also the fortification of the European Union will be favoured.
* 9. Rational measures of environmental policy, that make economic and technological development compatible with the protection of the environment and biodiversity .


On 13 of December 2007 UPyD gave a press conference headed by Rosa Díez, Mikel Buesa and Fernando Savater in who it denounced the treatment of "evident inequality" received on the part of the Spanish banks denying the asked for credits to them and remembered the debts of the other political parties with the banks, in addition to the great pardons made to these formations in the last years. In this context, they explained that until that moment UPyD's activity was funded thanks to membership fees and small donations but they recognized that the party "could not continue this way" and face with these resources an electoral campaign. For that reason, the leadership decided to start a funding system of personal loans, to which they hope that all the citizens "ready respond to commit themselves and to do hers the idea". This system consists of a bond sale of personal loans by the value of 200, 500 and 1000 euros to fund its electoral campaign for the 2008 general elections after the refusal received from great financial organizations to grant them credits asked for this campaign. These bonds, of which one first expandable emission of three million euros to five million will be made, will be sold in the offices of the party and through Internet and a free phone number. In addition, the party acquired the commitment to report the quantity of the obtained loans and the state of its accounts. The forecast of UPyD is to give back to the amount of these bonds to the citizens after the elections thanks to the institutional funding received by parties with parliamentary representation, in case they obtain parliamentary representation.


External links

* [http://www.upyd.es/ Unión, Progreso y Democracia] - official homepage (Spanish)

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