In the view of Catalan nationalist politicians, the Commonwealth was a modest but useful first step toward the autonomy of Catalonia, and the institution therefore inspired work to help it grow. On 25 November 1918, the Commonwealth approved the Conditions of Autonomy of Catalonia and drafted a Statute, which was approved by the representatives and members of parliament present at the assembly of 25 January 1919. This Statute, which contained 34 articles and several transitional stipulations, envisaged an autonomous government made up of a parliament, an executive and a governor-general; outlined an autonomous financial framework; and defined the powers of the state and the autonomous region. The draft was rejected by the Spanish executive and parliament without debate, but it remained a point of reference for the near future.
By signing the Pact of San Sebastián on 17 August 1930, the republican political parties of Spain agreed on an overall design for imminent regime change that included political autonomy for Catalonia within the much-desired republic. The municipal elections of 12 April 1931 were instrumental in toppling the monarchy. On April 14, Francesc Macià, the leader of Republican Left of Catalonia (the winning party in Catalonia) unilaterally declared “the Catalan Republic as a state of the Iberian Federation”, mere hours before the Second Spanish Republic was declared in Madrid. However, on April 17, Macià reached an agreement with representatives of the provisional Spanish government: the Catalan Republic would be given the more ambiguous name “Generalitat”, an inexact reproduction of the medieval name for the General Council.
One of the provisional Catalan government’s main missions was to draw up a statute of autonomy. A committee met at Núria on 20 June 1931 to finalize the draft. The text was scrutinised by the Catalan city councils and electorate, and both groups came out overwhelmingly in favour of it. The definition of Catalonia as an autonomous state within the Spanish republic and the image of the republic as a voluntary federation of peoples advanced to the Spanish constitutional process, which would be carried out by the parliament chosen in the general election on 28 June of the same year. The Constitution of the Second Spanish Republic that was ultimately approved on 9 December 1931 did not establish a federal state, but rather a “comprehensive state compatible with the autonomy of municipalities and regions”. Alterations therefore needed to be made to the Núria Statute, which was then put into effect on 15 September 1932 without being submitted to the Catalan electorate for another plebiscite.
The 1932 Statute defined Catalonia as an autonomous region with its own treasury and established the core institutions of its Government: the Parliament, the President and the Executive council. Responsibility for the regulation and development of this institutional framework was given to the new Parliament of Catalonia, which was elected for the first and only time during the republican period on 20 November 1932.