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Politics of Spain

Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain
conventional short form: Spain
local short form: España

Data code: SP

Government type: parliamentary monarchy

Capital: Madrid

Administrative divisions: 17 autonomous communities (comunidades autónomas, singular - comunidad autónoma); Andalucía (Andalusia), Aragón, Asturias, Illes Balears (Balearic Islands), Canarias (Canary Islands), Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Catalunya (Catalonia), Comunidad Valenciana (Valencia), Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra (Navarre), and País Vasco (Basque Country).
note: there are five places of sovereignty near Morocco: Ceuta and Melilla are administered as autonomous communities; Islas Chafarinas, Peñon de Alhucemas, and Peñon de Vélez de la Gomera are under direct Spanish administration

Independence: 1492 (conquest of Granada and union of the crowns of Castile and Aragon). In fact, each kingdom retained its separate institutions til 1715 (Decreto de Nueva Planta[?] by Philip V of Spain). In 1812, the king Joseph I of Spain[?], Napoleon Bonaparte's brother, and the French troops of occupation were defeated.

National holiday: National Day, 12 October

Constitution: Approved in referendum 6 December 1978, effective 29 December 1978

Legal system: civil law system, with regional applications; does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: King JUAN CARLOS I (since 22 November 1975); Heir Apparent Prince FELIPE[?], son of the monarch, born 30 January 1968
head of government: [[List of Prime Ministers of Spain|President of the Government] José María AZNAR[?] López (since 5 May 1996); First Vice President Francisco ALVÁREZ CASCOS[?] Fernández (since 5 May 1996) and Second Vice President (and Minister of Economy and Finance) Rodrigo RATO[?] Figaredo (since 5 May 1996)
cabinet: Council of Ministers designated by the president
note: there is also a Council of State that is the supreme consultative organ of the government
elections: the monarch is hereditary, following the rule of Castilian Siete Partidas[?]: the elder son is preferred to the elder daughter; president proposed by the monarch and elected by the National Assembly following legislative elections; election last held 12 March 2000 (next to be held NA 2004); vice presidents appointed by the monarch on proposal of the president
election results: José María AZNAR López (PP[?]) elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 44%

Legislative branch: bicameral; General Courts or National Assembly or Las Cortes Generales consists of the Senate or Senado (259 seats - 208 members directly elected by popular vote and the other 51 appointed by the regional legislatures to serve four-year terms) and the Congress of Deputies or Congreso de los Diputados (350 seats; members are elected by popular vote on block lists by proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 12 March 2000 (next to be held NA March 2004); Congress of Deputies - last held 12 March 2000 (next to be held NA March 2004)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PP 127, PSOE[?] 61, CiU[?] 8, PNV[?] 6, CC 5, PIL[?] 1; Congress of Deputies - percent of vote by party - PP 44.5%, PSOE 34%, CiU 4.2%, IU[?] 5.4%, PNV 1.5%, CC 1%, BNG[?] 1.3%; seats by party - PP 183, PSOE 125, CiU 15, IU 8, PNV 7, CC 4, BNG 3, other 5

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo. See also Audiencia Nacional[?].

Political parties and leaders: Popular Party or PP (José María AZNAR López); Spanish Communist Party or PCE (Francisco FRUTOS[?]); Spanish Socialist Workers Party or PSOE (José Luís RODRÍGUEZ ZAPATERO[?], secretary general); United Left or IU (a coalition of parties including the PCE and other small parties) (Gaspar LLAMAZARES[?](; Basque Nationalist Party or PNV (Xabier ARZALLUZ[?] Antia); Canarian Coalition or CC (a coalition of five parties) (Lorenzo OLARTE[?] Cullen); Convergence and Union or CiU (Jordi PUJOL[?] i Soley, secretary general) (a coalition of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia or CDC [Jordi PUJOL i Soley] and the Democratic Union of Catalonia or UDC (Josep Antoni DURAN i LLEIDA[?])); Galician Nationalist Bloc or BNG (Xose Manuel BEIRAS[?]); Party of Independents from Lanzarote or PIL [leader NA];

Political pressure groups and leaders: business and landowning interests; Socialist General Union of Workers or UGT[?] and the smaller independent Workers Syndical Union or USO[?]; university students; Workers Confederation or CC.OO.[?]; Catholic Church; free labor unions (authorized in April 1977); on the extreme left (terrorism actually), the Basque Fatherland and Liberty or ETA and the First of October Antifascist Resistance Group or GRAPO[?] use terrorism to oppose the government; Opus Dei;

International organization participation: AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNTAET, UNU, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, Zangger Committee

Flag description: three horizontal bands of red (top), yellow (double width), and red with the national coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band; the coat of arms includes the royal seal framed by the Pillars of Hercules, which are the two promontories (Gibraltar and Ceuta) on either side of the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar

See also : Spain

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