History and political system

An institution that is almost 200 years old has much to tell

  • The first Spanish Constitution in modern history dates back to 1812.
    • It proclaimed national sovereignty and recognized voting rights for men. Women would not be allowed to vote until 1931.
    • It established the division of power with a single Chamber Parliament (Cortes) and a King with broad power, who however loses his former condition as source of all power.

    The Spanish Parliament has only had one Chamber during its effective period as well as of the Constitution of 1931.

  • Between 1834 and 1923, the Spanish Parliament had two chambers (bicameral Parliament)
    • The Royal Statute of 1834 considered two Chambers in Spain for the first time: The “Estamento de Próceres” (High Chamber) and the “Estamento de Procuradores”(Low Chamber).
    • After the Constitution of 1837, the High Chamber was renamed Senate and maintained this name in the Constitutions of 1845, 1869 and 1876.
    • The composition of the Senate in the 19th Century depended on the birth or appointment by the King among the aristocracy and persons of the administration, church, army and whoever had the highest earnings.
    • The criteria to decide where sovereignty resided and the power corresponding to each institution (King, Parliament, Government...) varied throughout the 19th Century.
  • The current Constitution of 1978 proclaimed that national sovereignty resides with the Spanish citizens, which are the origin of State power.

    Spain is a Social and democratic state subject to the rule of law:

    • It is social because the authorities act trying to achieve a just society.
    • It is democratic because citizens participate electing their representatives, and
    • it is based on the rule of law because the laws apply to all and their fulfilment is guaranteed by the Courts

    The higher values are freedom, justice, equality and political pluralism.

  • The current Constitution of 1978 is divided into two parts:
    • Fundamental rights and duties and
    • The organization of power.

    Let's see which are the most important institutions of the Spanish political system.

    The King

    He is the Head of State. As in most parliamentary monarchies, his representative function is very important, but he does not govern.

    The King
    The Parliament (also known as Cortes Generales) consists of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate.

    It represents the Spanish citizens, exercises the legislative power of the State, approves its budgets and monitors the activities of the Government.
    The Congress of Deputies elects the President of the Government.

    The Parliament (also known as Cortes Generales) consists of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate.
    The Government

    It consists of the President, Deputy Presidents and Ministers.
    Before becoming the President of the Government, the candidate proposed by the King must obtain the trust of the Congress of Deputies. Once s/he has obtained the support of the majority of its members, the King will appoint her/him President. Only then can he appoint his Deputy Presidents and Ministers.
    The Government leads internal and foreign policy, administration and defence.
    It must always act in compliance with the Constitution and the laws.

    The Government
    The Courts and Tribunals

    They administer justice, ruling and making rulings be executed.
    The Judges and Magistrates are independent and solely subject to the empire of the law.
    A Constitutional Court exists to guarantee that all public powers respect the Constitution.

    The Courts and Tribunals