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Blaverism in the 80s and 90s: Unió Valenciana and Vicente González Lizondo
Franco died in 1975, but democracy did not come immediately. There was a pre-constitutional period in which the public officials of the dictatorship were reluctant to leave power. Miguel Ramón Izquierdo, mayor of València; Ignacio Carrau, president of the Diputació and José María Fernández del Río, civil governor, saw in tricolor regionalism the only way to preserve their positions. They supported it in each one of its manifestations. Thus began the so-called "battle of València", one of the most violent and tense stages in modern Valencian history, as we have had the opportunity to analyze on this website (we especially recommend the Blaverist violence section).
The far-right had entered the game when it had just started. Unrest and street violence largely determined the negotiations that the Valencian political forces were maintaining to draft the Statute of Autonomy. The final version of the Valencian Statute of Autonomy in 1982 replaced the four-striped flag of the Crown of Aragon (official in the Valencian Country between 1978 and 1980, with the shield of the Council in the middle) by the flag of the city of Valencia (whose blue stripe, the highest sign of Blaverist identity, dates from the mid-19th century), made the denomination of "Valencian Community" instead of that of "Valencian Country" official, and gave Valencian the category of language. Apart from that, due to pressure from the UCD of Attard, Broseta and Abril Martorell, the Statute was approved by the slow and administrative way envisaged in article 143 of the Constitution, instead of by the fast and political route designed in article 151. The PSPV could have remained firm in its positions, since it was the most voted party in the Valencian Country in all the elections that were held during the Spanmish transition, but for the reasons that we analyze in the Blaverism and PSOE section, it yielded first and later did not do anything to combat the nascent Blaverism, thus taking a position that in its general lines continues today.
In any case, the tension and anti-Catalan agitation promoted by the extreme right and instrumentalized by the UCD prepared the birth of a regionalist and anti-Catalanist party, although the transition came to an end. This party was Unió Valenciana. Antonio Edison Valls, Vicente Ortí, Francisco Noguera and Vicente González Lizondo registered Unió Valenciana in the registry of the Ministry of the Interior on August 30, 1982. Miguel Ramon Izquierdo, the last Francoist mayor of València, also was one of the founders. They took advantage of the infrastructure of the Grup d'Acció Valencianista (GAV), in the social aspect, and of Alianza Popular (AP) in the political one. Two months later, aa a part of the "Coalición Popular" (Popular Coalition), UV obtained two deputies in the Spanish Parliament. The break with the old "Coalición Popular" was imminent, as UV leaders saw the possibility of obtaining positions and power quotas independently. The ideology of the party was very simple:
This party was reaching progressive quotas of power, due to crisis and internal confrontations in the Valencian right, on the one hand, and also due to a certain instigation of the PSOE, as we analyze in the section on Blaverism and the PSOE, which we refer to again.
In 1991, this party reached its electoral peak, with 7 councilors in the València City Council (90,000 votes) and seven autonomic deputies (208,000 votes. These deputies included the secessionist writer and former Valencian nationalist, Xavier Casp). Vicente González Lizondo was left on the verge of reaching the mayorship of València, and had no choice but to hand it over to Rita Barberà. Since then the Valencian right was structured around the PP. It is the political project that Manuel Broseta aimed to carry out before he was killed in 1992 and that his political successors continued: The Valencian right would be structured around a state party strongly linked to Madrid, and without any fickleness for localism (and not for the linguistic secessionism, all must be said). This was the case until 2015 and since 1995, when the PP arrived at the Generalitat Valenciana, in which despite maintaining a centralist position that was not favorable to Valencian power itself, it has recognized the unity of the Catalan language in the Valencian country, and made it official through the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (Valencian Academy of Language, although there were eventual condescensions to the secessionists, motivated more by concrete political circumstances than by firm conviction.
From that moment on (the early 90s), Unió Valenciana was a party that bothered the Valencian right, and that only saved its existence thanks to the implicit support given to them by the PSOE, in order to divide the right and to weaken nationalism, as we analyze in the section on Blaverism and the PSOE. This way, the PP progressively absorbed UV, increasing votes and attracting regionalist leaders, in a process that lasted until 2014, approximately. So historic militants such as María Dolores García Broch, Francisco Martínez de León or Vicente Martínez Marco, were leaving the party. María Dolores García Broch even founded her own little party, "Renovación Valencianista", which obtained residual results and ended up disappearing. Later, in 1995, there was the "chicken pact" (decided in the office of the poultry businessman Federico Félix), in which the Valencian business community actually forced the two Valencian right-wing parties, the PP and UV, to agree to snatch the Generalitat Valenciana that the Socialists controlled. Unió Valenciana held the Ministry of Agriculture within the regional government and the Presidency of Les Corts (Valenmcian Parlament) (which corresponded to Vicente González Lizondo). The flight of votes towards the PP was already palpable back then, and thus, for example, in the city of València, a traditional Blaverist feud, Unió Valenciana fell in municipal representation in those elections by four councilors.
The internal confrontations within Unió Valenciana also continued to increase, motivated in many cases by the authoritarian and not very conciliatory character of Vicente González Lizondo. We can thus highlight the expulsion of the "Joventut Valencianista" youth, too nationalistic in his eyes, as we have said, whom he previously accused of "etarras" (supporters of ETA). Likewise, Vicente González Lizondo himself began to suffer from more and more frequent outbursts. Perhaps this derived from an unlimited exaggeration of his natural histrionism, of which we have spoken. What happenned is that this caused him to behave in bad taste and, ultimately, he himself made the party quite notorious. It should be remembered as well that one time when he had a confrontation with a driver (the type of confrontations that people usually have when driving), he chased that driver with his car for more than an hour trying to intimidate him. Or when he appeared at Expojove (a traditional Christmas fair for children) and forced the Valencian Mountaineering Federation to put a blue cloth on the four-striped shield (perfectly legal, no matter how much it bothered him) of this federation. His frequent Blaverist nonsensical events must also be pointed out. For instance when he declared on Catalunya Ràdio that he did not want to be spoken to in "Polish" (sic! Many anticatalanist Spaniards call the Catalans "Poles" in order to insult them).
At the end of 1995, due to his growing health problems, Vicente González Lizondo handed over the presidency of the party and the Corts (Valencian Parliament) to Héctor Villalba. What was supposed to be a peaceful transition ended up being a nightmare for him, because Héctor Villalba tried on one hand to impose a more nationalist and much less anti-Catalanist line than the official Blaverist line. On the other hand, he was not a person who gave in to the authoritarian and dictatorial plans of Vicente González Lizondo, with whom he had led the party from its beginning.
The death of Vicente González Lizondo from heart disease on December 26, 1996 made matters much worse for Unió Valenciana. Let's not forget that this party had an structure of full obedience to the leader, and many of its voters, over and above ideologies, voted for the person that was Vicente González Lizondo (apart from the fact that, as we have said, this man was well known in Valencian society, basically due to his connection to the world of Falles). The presidency of Héctor Villalba, as we have said, broke this full obedience on one hand. And on the other hand, the successive Blaverist leaders were much less known than Vicente González Lizondo.
On the other hand, the trickle of militants and charges towards the PP continued. So for instance, Maria-Àngels Ramon-Llin, the Blaverist Councilor for Agriculture, left the party to enter the PP, as did the Blaverist historical leader Fernando Giner (president of the Diputació de València for the PP until 2007, which, however, maintained a paranoid anti-Catalanism throughout his presidency, as we formerly analyzed in the corresponding section). The former leaders Vicent Ferrer and Alfons Novo, as well as the autonomic deputy Rafael Ferraro, founded another Blaverist party, the "Iniciativa de Progreso" (Progress Initiative), which also ended up in the PP.
This process culminated in 1999, when UV became an extra-parliamentary party in the Corts Valencianes. Faced with the poor results, and doing an exercise in honesty, President Héctor Villalba resigned, and José María Chiquillo took the leadership of the party. This man once again led the party towards the paranoid anti-Catalanism of its early days, but this made the party obtain its worst results in its entire history in the regional elections of 2003. In those elections (and the subsequent ones), the Valencian nationalists of the BNV for the first time outweighed UV. This was very important because it was the first time that Valencian nationalism had overcome Blaverism in an election, busting one of the great Blaverist myths (and that of Blaverist sympathizers), according to which the "Valencian people" were spontaneously Blaverist. After the electoral disaster, the ex-militant of the GAV José María Chiquillo agreed to the entry of his only provincial deputy, Valero Eustaquio, into the PP government of the Diputació presided by ex-Blaverist Fernando Giner. Chiquillo resigned to join the PP shortly afterwards and the mayor of Alcàsser (Horta Sud) Julio Chanzá assumed the presidency of the party. He did not lead too long as party president, being replaced by the party councilor in Paterna (Horta Nord) Ximo Ballester, who ended up resigning in April 2006, and José Manuel Miralles was elected as party president.
The party situation in the following years was more complicated than ever. Apart from the constant pressure of the PP, of which we have spoken, another Blaverist party emerged in the Valencian Country (to be exact, far-right and ultra-Blaverist): Coalició Valenciana. Without forgetting the irruption of another lifetime Blaverist, José María Chiquillo, with another party, dissolved shortly after its creation: Unión de Progreso de la Comunitat Valenciana (Progress Union of the Valencian Community). All these parties fought for a very limited political space, and were immersed in a power struggle that culminated in the electoral failure of CV in 2011 (UV lacked the resources to take part in the regional and municipal elections) and in the disappearance of both political parties.