The Generalitat is the governing body of Catalunya, comprised of three parts— the Parliament, the President of the Generalitat (currently Jose Montilla) and the Executive Council of Catalunya. The Generalitat originated in the late Middle Ages, when it was considered the secondary governing institution after the reigning monarch. The Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya, located in Plaça Jaume, is the original Generalitat building, built in medieval times.

The Generalitat was abolished in the 18th century, and was officially reinstated in 1932, during the Second Spanish Republic. Under Franco, it was once again surpressed, but since the dictator’s death in 1975 and its subsequent reinstatement, the Generalitat has gradually increased its level of autonomous governing. Catalunya now boasts the third highest level of self-government in all of Spain, behind Navarre and the Basque Country regions. The Generalitat’s main areas of jurisdiction are culture, public safety, transportation and commerce. It works closely with the Spanish government in the areas of education, justice and health. There are an increasing number of schools in Catalunya that teach primarily in Catalan.

The next Generalitat election will be held in November 2010.

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