Published 2nd November, 2011
The People’s Party or PP was established in its present form in 1989 as the successor to the People’s Alliance (Alianza Popular or AP) which was founded in 1976 as a right wing party. The AP itself had been formed from a coalition of seven right wing and centre right parties. The PP describes itself as centre-right and it believes in liberal conservatism, Christian democracy and national conservatism.
In its first election in 1977 the AP won 8.2% of the vote and 16 seats in the Congress of Deputies. In 1979 it decided to join forces with other parties into the Democratic Coalition, an experiment which was a disaster, giving them only 6% of the vote and nine seats.
In 1980 the AP merged with the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) and Renovación Espagñola (RE) from which it started to double its membership.
In 1982 the work carried out in local elections, especially in Galicia where they took control, paid off and they won 26.6% of the vote and 106 seats in the 350 seat Congress of Deputies. By now they were the second largest party in the Congress and won 105 seats in 1986 and 101 seats in 1989.
Their conversion from the AP to the People’s Party in 1989 reflected a desire by their membership to present a moderate right wing alternative to the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE). The gamble worked as they increased their tally of seats to 141 in 1993. By 1996 the PSOE were in trouble and the People’s Party won with 156 seats; not enough to form a majority government, but with the support of two other parties they formed the government.
In 2000 economic success, falling unemployment and low inflation led to them being elected once more, but this time with an absolute majority and 183 of the 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies.
Three days before the 2004 elections a bombing in Madrid was handled badly by the PP government and they narrowly lost the election, taking 148 seats to the PSOEs 164 seats. The PP had been expected to win. They went on to lose the 2008 election, taking 154 seats.
The People’s Party is a member of the Centrist Democrat International as well as the International Democrat Union. It is affiliated to the European People’s Party (EPP) and is part of its group in the European parliament.