United Left (Spain)

United Left
Izquierda Unida
General CoordinatorAlberto Garzón
FoundedApril 1986 (as coalition)
2 November 1992 (as party federation)
Youth wingÁrea de Juventud de Izquierda Unida
Membership (2019)Increase 29,506[1]
Spanish federalism
Political positionLeft-wing to far-left[5][6]
National affiliationUnidas Podemos
European affiliationParty of the European Left
European Parliament groupThe Left in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL
Colours Red
Congress of Deputies
6 / 350
Spanish Senate
0 / 266
European Parliament
2 / 59
Regional Parliaments
20 / 1,268
Local Government (2015)
2,022 / 67,515
(Candidates gained in coalitions or unitary lists[7] not included)

United Left (Spanish: Izquierda Unida [iθˈkjeɾða uˈniða], IU) is a political coalition that was organized in 1986, bringing together several left-wing political organizations.[8]

IU was founded as an electoral coalition of seven parties, but the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) is the only remaining integrated member of the IU at the national level.[8] Despite that, IU brings together other regional parties, political organizations, and independents.[8] It currently takes the form of a permanent federation of parties.

Congress seats from 1977 (as PCE) to 2011

IU is currently part of the Unidas Podemos coalition and the corresponding parliamentary group in the Congreso de los Diputados. Since January 2020, it participates for the first time in a national coalition government with one minister.


United Left logo from 1986. It was composed of the logos of the parties that signed the coalition. It would not be until 1988 that a specific logo for IU would be designed.
Julio Anguita, general coordinator of United Left from 1989 to 1999.

Following the electoral failure of the PCE in the 1982 (from 10% to 4%), PCE leaders believed that the PCE alone could no longer effectively challenge the electoral hegemony of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) on the left.[8] With this premise, the PCE began developing closer relations with other left-wing groups, with the vision of forming a broad left coalition.[8] IU slowly improved its results, reaching 9% in 1989 (1,800,000 votes) and nearly 11% in 1996 (2,600,000 votes). The founding organizations were: Communist Party of Spain, Progressive Federation, Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain, PASOC, Carlist Party, Humanist Party, Unitarian Candidacy of Workers, and Republican Left.

In contrast to the PCE prior to the formation of IU, which pursued a more moderate political course, the new IU adopted a more radical strategy and ideology of confrontation against the PSOE.[9][8] IU generally opposed cooperating with the PSOE, and identified it as a "right-wing party", no different from the People's Party (PP).[9][8]

After achieving poor results in the 1999 local and European elections, IU decided to adopt a more conciliatory attitude towards the PSOE, and agreed to sign an electoral pact with the PSOE for the upcoming general election in 2000.[8] They also adopted a universal policy in favor of cooperating with the PSOE at local level.[8]

Following the election of Cayo Lara as leader in 2008, however, the party has shifted back towards a more confrontational attitude towards the PSOE.[citation needed]

IU currently has around 70,000 members.[10]

Member parties

Communist Party of Spain (PCE)
Communist Youth Union of Spain (UJCE)
Open Left (IAb)
Republican Left (IR)
Revolutionary Workers' Party (POR)
Ecosocialists of the Region of Murcia (ESRM)

Federations of IU


Name Period Notes
Gerardo Iglesias 1986
Julio Anguita 1986–1999
Francisco Frutos 1999-2001
Gaspar Llamazares 2001–2008
Cayo Lara 2008–2014
Alberto Garzón 2014–present

Electoral performance

Cortes Generales

Cortes Generales
Election Leading candidate Congress Senate Gov.
Votes % # Seats +/– Seats +/–
1986 Gerardo Iglesias 935,504 4.6 5th
7 / 350
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg3
0 / 208
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 No
1989 Julio Anguita 1,858,588 9.1 3rd
17 / 350
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg10
1 / 208
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg1 No
1993 2,253,722 9.6 3rd
18 / 350
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg1
0 / 208
Red Arrow Down.svg1 No
1996 2,639,774 10.5 3rd
21 / 350
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg3
0 / 208
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 No
2000 Francisco Frutos 1,263,043 5.4 3rd
8 / 350
Red Arrow Down.svg13
0 / 208
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 No
2004 Gaspar Llamazares 1,284,081 5.0 3rd
5 / 350
Red Arrow Down.svg3
1 / 208
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg1 Support
2008 969,946 3.8 3rd
2 / 350
Red Arrow Down.svg3
1 / 208
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 No
2011 Cayo Lara with Plural Left
7 / 350
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg5
0 / 208
Red Arrow Down.svg1 No
2015 Alberto Garzón with Popular Unity
2 / 350
Red Arrow Down.svg5
0 / 208
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 New election
2016 with Unidos Podemos
8 / 350
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg6
2 / 208
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg2 No (2016–18)
Support (2018–19)
Apr-2019 with Unidas Podemos
5 / 350
Red Arrow Down.svg3
0 / 208
Red Arrow Down.svg2 New election
Nov-2019 with Unidas Podemos
5 / 350
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0
0 / 208
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0 Yes

European Parliament

European Parliament
Election Leading candidate Votes % # Seats +/–
1987 Fernando Pérez Royo 1,011,830 5.3 4th
3 / 60
1989 961,742 6.1 4th
4 / 60
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg1
1994 Alonso Puerta 2,497,671 13.4 3rd
9 / 64
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg5
1999 1,221,566 5.8 3rd
4 / 64
Red Arrow Down.svg5
2004 Willy Meyer 643,136 4.1 4th
2 / 54
Red Arrow Down.svg2
2009 with The Left
2 / 54
Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0
2014 with Plural Left
4 / 54
Green Arrow Up Darker.svg2
2019 Sira Rego with UPCE
2 / 54
Red Arrow Down.svg2


  1. ^ Los partidos se atribuyen ocho veces más militantes de los que admiten pagar cuotas. Público, 28/07/2019.
  2. ^ a b Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "Spain". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 23 October 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  3. ^ https://www.laopiniondemurcia.es/comunidad/2010/11/15/iu-recurre-via-ecosocialista-atraer-votantes-descontentos-psoe/283346.html
  4. ^ "European Social Survey 2012 - Appendix 3 (in English)" (PDF). European Science Foundation. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Européennes : poussée du parti d'extrême gauche Izquierda Unida en Espagne". 25 May 2014.
  6. ^ "Espagne : Podemos s'allie avec l'extrême gauche pour les législatives". 10 May 2016.
  7. ^ Like Ahora Madrid, Barcelona en Comú or Marea Atlántica. This lists gained 3,223 town councillors.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Electoral incentives and organizational limits. The evolution of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) and the United Left (IU) (in English)" (PDF). Institute of Political and Social Sciences. 2002. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  9. ^ a b Topaloff, L (2012) Political Parties and Euroscepticism, pp192-193
  10. ^ Entre coalición y partido, la evolución de modelo organizativo en IU, Luis Ramiro Archived March 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Following the tradition of the Spanish left since the formation of the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSUC) in 1936 (when communists and socialists joined forces in Catalunya), IU doesn't have any organization of its own in Catalonia. Until 1998, the referent of IU in Catalonia was Initiative for Catalonia (Iniciativa per Catalunya, now known as IC-V). But IC eventually broke relations with IU. A split in PSUC followed, and a new Catalan alliance, United and Alternative Left (Esquerra Unida i Alternativa, EUiA), was formed as the new Catalan referent of IU.
  12. ^ IU rompe "a todos los efectos" con su federación madrileña. El Diario, 14/06/2015 - 10:48h. Aitor Rivero.
  13. ^ La militancia de IU Madrid elige a Mauricio Valiente y Chus Alonso al frente de la nueva formación. Público, 03/05/2016.

External links

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