Big Changes at the Top

The Coalición Canaria, which has ruled the Canaries for 26 years, is now out of power in every Cabildo in the Canaries – an astonishing fall from grace for one of the most important formations in Canarian politics.

The Coalición Canaria was formed in 1993 as a coalition of several nationalist Canarian political parties from all seven islandsand, although few thought the alliance would hold, it has ruled the Canary Islands, in coalition with other parties, since that year, consistently winning the highest amount of seats, if not votes, in the Canarian parliament.

Now, however, that has all changed. The Canarian government is now under the control of Ángel Víctor Torres, the first Socialist to hold the post for 26 years, and recent no-confidence votes have also meant that the CC has been removed from power in the Cabildos of La Palma and Tenerife, while it has also lost control of Fuerteventura.

On Lanzarote, a surprising pact between the Socialists and the PP resulted in the Socialist Loli Corujo succeeding the CC’s Pedro San Ginés as president of the island’s Cabildo, while Astrid Pérez became Mayor of Arrecife. On the island, only Teguise and Tinajo remain firmly in the control of the CC. Read more...

This is a huge blow to one of the most well-organised party machines on the Canaries. Hundreds of CC councillors have lost their jobs, and the party is already analysing what went wrong. Several members feel the party moved too far towards the right – destroying its chances of pacting with the left wing. Others believe that the party is tainted by corruption – leader Fernando Clavijo will lead the opposition despite being indicted in a recent corruption case.

Following the local elections, it became clear that Canarian Socialists were determined to weed out the CC from as many positions as possible, even if this meant pacting with traditional rivals such as the PP. Change appears to be inevitable, but what that change will look like is, as yet, uncertain.

Nationalism, but no Independence
The Coalición Canaria is classed as a regionalist party whose task is to represent the best interests of the Canary Islands. However, it does not advocate independence for the islands.
The Canarian independence movement, which once mounted an armed struggle in the 1970s, is now barely non-existent.

The CC has occupied a centre-right position recently, allowing more left-wing nationalist parties such as Nueva Canarias to carve out a difference.