Josep Tarradellas

Born in Cervelló (Baix Llobregat County) in 1899, Tarradellas was elected President of the Generalitat in exile, and his return to Catalonia following Franco's death, including his famous words "I am back!" symbolized institutional continuity. Born in a working-class family, he became a representative of different US and European companies, a job that prompted him to travel extensively across Europe. One of the founding members of the ERC (Catalan Republican Left) in 1931, he was elected secretary general the following year. He gained a seat in the Spanish Parliament in 1931, also becoming a member of the Catalan Parliament in 1932. This was the start of a long ministerial career, in which he held a number of portfolios, including government affairs and health. His role became more significant during the Spanish Civil War and in February 1939, together with the rest of the cabinet, Tarradellas crossed into France, going into exile.

In 1954 the 125th President was elected prime minister, or president of the Generalitat. In 1977, two years after Franco's death and before the drafting of the Spanish constitution one year later, he travelled to Madrid to negotiate the restitution of the Catalan Government and returned to Barcelona to popular acclaim. He opened his address from the balcony of the Generalitat Palace with his famous words "Ja soc aquí!" "I have returned!"