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The Cortes Generales (; en, Spanish Parliament, lit=General Courts) are the
bicameral Bicameralism is the practice of having a legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...
legislative chamber A legislative chamber or house is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the body of ethics, Procedural law, rules, a ...
s of
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
, consisting of the
Congress of Deputies The Congress of Deputies ( es, link=no, Congreso de los Diputados) is the lower house of the Cortes Generales, Spain's legislative branch. The Congress meets in the Palacio de las Cortes, Madrid, Palace of the Parliament (') in Madrid. It has ...

Congress of Deputies
(the
lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporated community in Apache County *Chambers, Nebraska *Chambers, We ...
), and the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
(the upper house). The Congress of Deputies meets in the
Palacio de las Cortes
Palacio de las Cortes
. The Senate meets in the
Palacio del Senado The Palace of the Senate is the home of the Senate of Spain The Senate ( es, Senado) is the upper house of the Cortes Generales, which along with the Congress of Deputies—the Lower house, lower chamber—comprises the Parliament of the Kingdom of ...
. Both are in
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_ ...

Madrid
. The Cortes are elected through universal, free, equal, direct and secret
suffrage Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote). In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called a ...

suffrage
, with the exception of some senatorial seats, which are elected indirectly by the legislatures of the
autonomous communities In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in accordance with the Spanish Constitution of 1978, Spanish constitution of 1978, with the ...
. The Cortes Generales are composed of 616 members: 350 Deputies and 265 Senators. The members of the Cortes Generales serve four-year terms, and they are representatives of the Spanish people. In both chambers, the seats are divided by constituencies that correspond with the
fifty provinces
fifty provinces
of Spain, plus
Ceuta Ceuta (, , ; ber, Sebta, script=Latn; ar, سَبْتَة, Sabtah) is a on the north coast of . Bordered by , it lies along the boundary between the and the . It is one of the several Spanish territories in Africa and, along with and the ...

Ceuta
and
Melilla Melilla ( , ; ; ber, Mrich / Mlilt; ar, مليلية ) is an of located on the northwest coast of Africa, sharing with . It has an area of . One of two Spanish autonomous cities in mainland Africa together with , it was part of the until ...

Melilla
. However, the
Canary Canary originally referred to the island of Gran Canaria on the west coast of Africa, and the group of surrounding islands (the Canary Islands). It may also refer to: Animals Birds * Canaries, birds in the genera ''Serinus'' and ''Crithagra'' in ...
and
Balearic
Balearic
islands form different constituencies in the Senate. As a
parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' an ...
, the Cortes confirm and dismiss the
Prime Minister of Spain The president of the Government of Spain ( es, link=no, Presidente del Gobierno de España), commonly referred to in Spain as ''Presidente del Gobierno'', and known in English as the prime minister of Spain, is the head of government of Spain. ...
and his or her
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...
; specifically, the candidate for Prime Minister has to be invested by the Congress with a majority of affirmative votes. The Congress can also dismiss the Prime Minister through a
vote of no confidence A motion of no confidence, vote of no confidence, or no confidence motion, sometimes in the reverse as a motion of confidence or vote of confidence, is a statement or vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility (government, manager ...
. The Cortes also hold the power to enact a constitutional reform. The modern Cortes Generales were created by the
Constitution of Spain The Spanish Constitution (Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish Rive ...
, but the institution has a long history.


History of the Spanish legislature


Feudal Age (8th–12th centuries)

The system of ''Cortes'' arose in The
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
as part of
feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the disc ...
. A "Corte" was an advisory council made up of the most powerful
feudal lord Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the disc ...
s closest to the king. The Cortes of León was the first parliamentary body in Western Europe. From 1230, the Cortes of Leon and Castile were merged, though the Cortes' power was decreasing. Prelates, nobles and commoners remained separated in the three estates within the Cortes. The king had the ability to call and dismiss the Cortes, but, as the lords of the Cortes headed the army and controlled the purse, the King usually signed
treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relati ...

treaties
with them to pass bills for war at the cost of concessions to the lords and the Cortes.


Rise of the bourgeoisie (12th–15th centuries)

With the reappearance of the cities near the 12th century, a new
social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those soc ...
started to grow: people living in the cities were ''neither''
vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief ...
s (servants of feudal lords) ''nor'' nobles themselves. Furthermore, the nobles were experiencing very hard economic times due to the
Reconquista The ' (Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portug ...

Reconquista
; so now the
bourgeoisie Bourgeoisie (; ) is a polysemous Polysemy ( or ; from grc-gre, πολύ-, , "many" and , , "sign") is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple meanings, usually related by contiguity of meaning within a semantic fieldIn linguisti ...

bourgeoisie
(Spanish ', from ''burgo'', city) had the money and thus the power. So the King started admitting representatives from the cities to the Cortes in order to get more money for the Reconquista. The frequent payoffs were the "
Fuero confirming the ''fueros'' of Biscay at Guernica (town), Guernica in 1476 ''Fuero'' (), ''Fur'' (), ''Foro'' () or ''Foru'' () is a Spain, Spanish legal term and concept. The word comes from Latin ''Forum (Roman), forum'', an open space used as a ...

Fuero
s", grants of autonomy to the cities and their inhabitants. At this time the Cortes already had the power to oppose the King's decisions, thus effectively vetoing them. In addition, some representatives (elected from the Cortes members by itself) were permanent advisors to the King, even when the Cortes were not.


Catholic Monarchs (15th century)

Isabella I of Castile Isabella I ( es, Isabel I, 22 April 1451 – 26 November 1504) was Queen of Castile This is a list of kings and queens of the Kingdom and Crown of Castile The Crown of Castile was a medieval polity in the Iberian Peninsula that fo ...
and
Ferdinand II of Aragon Ferdinand II of Aragon ( an, Ferrando; ca, Ferran; eu, Errando; es, Fernando; 10 March 1452 – 23 January 1516), also called ''Ferdinand the Catholic'', was King of Aragon from 1479, King of Sicily (as Ferdinand II) from 1469, List of monar ...
, the
Catholic Monarchs The term Catholic Monarchs refers to Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with th ...
, started a specific policy to diminish the power of the bourgeoisie and nobility. They greatly reduced the powers of the Cortes to the point where they simply rubberstamped the monarch's acts, and brought the nobility to their side. One of the major points of friction between the Cortes and the monarchs was the power of raising and lowering taxes. It was the only matter that the Cortes had under some direct control; when Queen Isabella wanted to fund
Voyages of Christopher Columbus Between 1492 and 1504, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born betwee ...
, she had a hard time battling with the bourgeoisie to get the Cortes' approval.


Imperial Cortes (16th–17th centuries)

The role of the Cortes during the
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) during the Early Modern period, was a colonial empire ...

Spanish Empire
was mainly to rubberstamp the decisions of the ruling monarch. However, they had some power over economic and American affairs, especially taxes. The '' Siglo de oro'', the Spanish Golden Age of arts and literature, was a dark age in Spanish politics: the Netherlands declared itself independent and started a war, while some of the last
Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de Habsburgo ; hu, Habsburg-család), also known as the House of Austria (german: link=no, Haus Österreich; es, link=no, Casa de Austria), ...

Habsburg
monarchs did not rule the country, leaving this task in the hands of
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
s governing in their name, the most famous being the Count-Duke of Olivares,
Philip IV
Philip IV
's deputy. This allowed the Cortes to become more influential, even when they did not directly oppose the King's decisions (or prime minister' decisions in the name of the King). The institutions in charge of enforcing the decisions of the Imperial Cortes was the ''Diputación General de Cortes'', a body of representatives elected by the different
estates of the realm The estates of the realm, or three estates, were the broad orders of social hierarchy Social stratification refers to a society's categorization Categorization is the ability and activity to recognize shared features or similarities bet ...
. The ''Diputación'' dealt with the implementetion of previous agreements and the collection of taxes. This was established after the comunero rebellion to improve the relationship between the king and the local assemblies. There were also Diputaciones in the Kingdoms of Aragon and Navarre.


Cortes in Aragon and in Navarre

Some lands of the
Crown of Aragon The Crown of Aragon (; an, Corona d'Aragón; ca, Corona d'Aragó; es, Corona de Aragón)' ()' (, , )' ()' (). was a composite monarchy A composite monarchy (or composite state) is a historical category, introduced by H. G. Koenigsberger ...
(
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in acc ...

Aragon
,
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in the northeastern corner of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, na ...

Catalonia
and
Valencia Valencia ( va, València) is the capital of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Valencian Community, Valencia and the Municipalities of Spain, third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, surpassing 800,000 ...

Valencia
) and the
Kingdom of Navarre ) , religion = , common_languages = , title_leader = Monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity) ...
were self-governing entities until the
Nueva Planta Decrees The Nueva Planta decrees ( es, link=no, Decretos de Nueva Planta, ca, Decrets de Nova Planta) were a number of decree A decree is a rule of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements ...
of 1716 abolished their autonomy and united Aragon with Castile in a centralised Spanish state. The abolition in the realms of Aragon was completed by 1716, whilst Navarre retained its autonomy until the
1833 territorial division of Spain The 1833 territorial division of Spain divided the country into provinces, in turn classified into "historic regions" ( es, link=no, regiones históricas).Fuero confirming the ''fueros'' of Biscay at Guernica (town), Guernica in 1476 ''Fuero'' (), ''Fur'' (), ''Foro'' () or ''Foru'' () is a Spain, Spanish legal term and concept. The word comes from Latin ''Forum (Roman), forum'', an open space used as a ...

Fuero
s: its
Statute of Autonomy Nominally, a Statute of Autonomy ( es, Estatuto de Autonomía, ca, Estatut d'Autonomia, gl, Estatuto de Autonomía, ast, Estatutu d' Autonomía, eu, Autonomia Estatutua) is a law hierarchically located under the constitution A constitutio ...
specifically cites them and recognizes their special status, while also recognizing the supremacy of the Spanish Constitution. Cortes (or ''Corts'' in Catalonia and Valencia) existed in each of
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in acc ...
,
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in the northeastern corner of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, na ...
,
Valencia Valencia ( va, València) is the capital of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Valencian Community, Valencia and the Municipalities of Spain, third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, surpassing 800,000 ...
and
Navarre Navarre (; es, Navarra ; eu, Nafarroa ), officially the Chartered Community of Navarre ( es, Comunidad Foral de Navarra, links=no ; eu, Nafarroako Foru Komunitatea, links=no ), is a Fuero, foral autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous co ...
. It is thought that these legislatures exercised more real power over local affairs than the Castilian Cortes did. Executive councils also existed in each of these realms, which were initially tasked with overseeing the implementation of decisions made by the Cortes.


Cádiz Cortes (1808–14) and three liberal years (1820–23)

Cortes of Cádiz The Cortes of Cádiz was a revival of the traditional ''cortes'' (Spanish parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislature, legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: R ...
operated as a government in exile. France under
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...
had taken control of most of Spain during the
Peninsular War The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was the military conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or paramilitary groups such as Mercenary, mercenaries, Insurgency, insurg ...

Peninsular War
after 1808. The Cortes found refuge in the fortified, coastal city of
Cádiz Cádiz (, also , ; see more below) is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight that make up the autonomous community of Andalusia Andalusia (, ; es, Andalucía ) is the southernmost ...

Cádiz
. General Cortes were assembled in Cádiz, but since many provinces could not send representatives due to the French occupation, substitutes were chosen among the people of the city – thus the name Congress of Deputies. Liberal factions dominated the body and pushed through the
Spanish Constitution of 1812 The Political Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy ( es, Constitución Política de la Monarquía Española), also known as the Constitution of Cádiz ( es, Constitución de Cádiz) and as ''La Pepa'', was the List of Constitutions of Spain, firs ...
.
Ferdinand VII Ferdinand VII ( es, Fernando; 14 October 1784 – 29 September 1833) was the during the early- to mid-19th century. He reigned over the Spanish Kingdom in 1808 and again from 1813 to his death in 1833. He was known to his supporters as ' (the De ...
, however, tossed it aside upon his restoration in 1814 and pursued conservative policies, making the constitution an icon for liberal movements in Spain. Many military coups were attempted, and finally Col.
Rafael del Riego Rafael del Riego y Flórez (7 April 1784 – 7 November 1823) was a Spain, Spanish general and liberal politician, who played a key role in the outbreak of the Trienio Liberal, Liberal Triennium (''Trienio liberal'' in Spanish). Early life Riego ...
's one succeeded and forced the King to accept the liberal constitution, which resulted in the Three Liberal Years (
Trienio Liberal #REDIRECT Trienio Liberal The ''Trienio Liberal'' (, "Liberal Triennium") is a period of three years in the modern history of Spain between 1820 and 1823, when a liberal government ruled Spain after a military uprising in January 1820 by the lieu ...
). The monarch not only did everything he could to obstruct the Government (vetoing nearly every law, for instance), but also asked many powers, including the
Holy Alliance The Holy Alliance in 1840: The Holy Alliance (german: Heilige Allianz; russian: Священный союз, ''Svyashchennyy soyuz''; also called the Grand Alliance) was a coalition linking the monarchist great powers of Austria Aust ...

Holy Alliance
, to invade his own country and restore his absolutist powers. He finally received a French army ( The Hundred Thousand Sons of St. Louis) which only met resistance in the liberal cities, but easily crushed the National Militia and forced many liberals to exile to, ironically, France. In his second absolutist period up to his death in 1833, Ferdinand VII was more cautious and did not try a full restoration of the
Ancien Régime The Ancien Régime (; ; literally "old rule"), also known as the Old Regime was the political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms o ...
.


First Spanish Republic (1873–1874)

When the monarchy was overthrown in 1873, the
King of Spain , coatofarms = Coat of Arms of Spanish Monarch.svg , coatofarms_article = Coat of arms of the King of Spain , image = King Felipe VI of Spain.jpg , incumbent = Felipe VI Felipe VI or Philip VI (; Felipe Juan ...

King of Spain
was forced into exile. The
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...

Senate
was abolished because of its royally appointed nature. A republic was proclaimed and the
Congress of Deputies The Congress of Deputies ( es, link=no, Congreso de los Diputados) is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chamb ...
members started writing a Constitution, supposedly that of a
federal republic A federal republic is a federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of I ...
, with the power of Parliament being nearly supreme (see
parliamentary supremacy Parliamentary sovereignty (also called parliamentary supremacy or legislative supremacy) is a concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracies. It holds that the legislative body has absolute sovereignty Sovereignty is th ...
, although Spain did not use the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ...
). However, due to numerous issues Spain was not poised to become a republic; after several crises the republic collapsed, and the monarchy was restored in 1874.


Restoration (1874–1930)

The regime just after the First Republic is called the
Bourbon RestorationBourbon Restoration may refer to: * Bourbon Restoration in France The Bourbon Restoration was the period of French history The first written records for the history of France appeared in the Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the ...
. It was formally a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
, with the monarch as a rubberstamp to the Cortes' acts but with some reserve powers, such as appointing and dismissing the Prime Minister and appointing senators for the new
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...

Senate
, remade as an elected House. Soon after the
Soviet revolution
Soviet revolution
(1917), the Spanish political parties started polarizing, and the left-wing
Communist Party A communist party is a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and part ...
(PCE) and
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party ( es, Partido Socialista Obrero Español ; PSOE ) is a social-democraticThe PSOE is described as a social-democratic party by numerous sources: * * * * political party A political party is an organi ...
(PSOE) blamed the Government for supposed election fraud in small towns ('' caciquismo''), which was incorrectly supposed to have been wiped out in the 1900s by the failed ''regenerationist'' movement. In the meantime, spiralling violence started with the murders of many leaders by both sides. Deprived of those leaders, the regime entered a general crisis, with extreme police measures which led to a dictatorship (1921–1930) during which the Senate was again abolished.


Second Spanish Republic (1931–1939)

The dictatorship, now ruled by Admiral
Aznar-Cabañas
Aznar-Cabañas
, called for local elections. The results were overwhelmingly favorable to the monarchist cause nationally, but most provincial capitals and other sizable cities sided heavily with the republicans. This was interpreted as a victory, as the rural results were under the always-present suspicion of ''caciquismo'' and other irregularities while the urban results were harder to influence. The King left Spain, and a Republic was declared on April 14, 1931. The Second Spanish Republic was established as a
presidential republic A presidential system, or single executive system, is a form of government in which a head of government The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, ...
, with a
unicameral In government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by ...
Parliament and a President of the Republic as the
Head of State A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
. Among his powers were the appointment and dismissal of the
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
, either on the advice of Parliament or just having consulted it before, and a limited power to dissolve the Parliament and call for new elections. The first term was the constituent term charged with creating the new
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
, with the ex-monarchist leader Niceto Alcalá Zamora as President of the Republic and the left-wing leader
Manuel Azaña Manuel Azaña Díaz (; 10 January 1880 – 3 November 1940) was a Spanish politician who served as Prime Minister of Spain, Prime Minister of the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1933 and 1936), organizer of the Popular Front in 1935 and the las ...
as Prime Minister. The
election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative dem ...
gave a majority in the Cortes and thus, the Government, to a coalition between Azaña's
party A party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host A host is a person responsible for guests at an event or for providing hospitality during it. Host may also refer to: Places *Host, Pennsylvania, a village in Berks Cou ...
and the PSOE. A remarkable deed is
universal suffrage Universal suffrage (also called universal franchise, general suffrage, and common suffrage of the common man) gives the right to vote Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (a ...
, allowing women to vote, a provision highly criticized by Socialist leader
Indalecio Prieto Indalecio Prieto Tuero (30 April 1883 – 11 February 1962) was a Spanish politician, a minister and one of the leading figures of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party ( es, Partido Socialista Obrero Españo ...

Indalecio Prieto
, who said the Republic had been backstabbed. Also, for the second time in Spanish history, some regions were granted autonomous governments within the unitary state. Many on the extreme right rose up with General José Sanjurjo in 1932 against the Government's social policies, but the coup was quickly defeated. The elections for the second term were held in 1933 and won by the coalition between the Radical Party (
center Center or centre may refer to: Mathematics *Center (geometry) In geometry, a centre (or center) (from Ancient Greek language, Greek ''κέντρον'') of an object is a point in some sense in the middle of the object. According to the speci ...

center
) and the Confederación Española de Derechas Autónomas (CEDA) (
right Rights are legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is desc ...
). Initially, only the Radical Party entered the Government, with the parliamentary support of the CEDA. However, in the middle of the term, several corruption scandals (among them the
Straperlo Straperlo was a scheme which originated in the Netherlands in the 1930s and was then introduced in Spain. In essence it was a fraudulent roulette which could be controlled electrically with the push of a button. The ensuing scandal was one of the se ...
affair) sunk the Radical Party and the CEDA entered the Government in 1934. This led to uprisings by some leftist parties that were quickly suffocated. In one of them, the left wing government of Catalonia, which had been granted home rule, formally rebelled against the central government, denying its power. This provoked the dissolution of the
Generalitat de Catalunya The ''Generalitat de Catalunya'' (; in Aranese: ''Generalitat de Catalonha''; in Spanish: ''Generalidad de Cataluña''), or Government of Catalonia, is the institutional system by which Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Arane ...
and the imprisonment of their leaders. The leftist minority in the Cortes then pressed Alcalá Zamora for a dissolution, arguing that the uprising were the consequence of social rejection of the right-wing government. The President, a former monarchist Minister wary of the authoritarism of the right, dissolved Parliament. The next election was held in 1936. It was hotly contested, with all parties converging into three coalitions: the leftist
Popular Front A popular front is "any coalition of working-class and middle-class parties", including liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent ...
, the right-winged and a Centre coalition. In the end, the Popular Front won with a small edge in votes over the runner-up National Front, but achieved a solid majority due to the new electoral system introduced by the CEDA government hoping that ''they'' would get the edge in votes. The new Parliament then dismissed Alcalá-Zamora and installed
Manuel Azaña Manuel Azaña Díaz (; 10 January 1880 – 3 November 1940) was a Spanish politician who served as Prime Minister of Spain, Prime Minister of the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1933 and 1936), organizer of the Popular Front in 1935 and the las ...
in his place. During the third term, the extreme polarisation of the Spanish society was more evident than ever in Parliament, with confrontation reaching the level of death threats. The already bad political and social climate created by the long term left-right confrontation worsened, and many right-wing rebellions were started. Then, in 1936, the Army's failed coup degenerated into the
Spanish Civil War The Spanish Civil War ( es, Guerra Civil Española)) or The Revolution ( es, La Revolución) among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War ( es, Cuarta Guerra Carlista) among Carlism, Carlists, and The Rebellion ( es, La Rebelión) or Uprising ( ...

Spanish Civil War
, putting an end to the Second Republic.


Franco's dictatorship: the Cortes Españolas (1943–1977)

Francisco Franco Francisco Franco Bahamonde (; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general who led the Nationalist forces in overthrowing the Second Spanish Republic The Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, República Española), commonly ...

Francisco Franco
did not have the creation of a consultative or legislative type of assembly as priority. In 1942, following the first symptoms of change in the international panorama in favour of the Allied Powers, a law established the Cortes Españolas (Francoist Cortes), a non-democratic chamber made up of more than 400 ''procuradores'' (singular ''procurador''). Both the Cortes' founding law and the subsequent regulations were based on the principles of rejection of parliamentarism and political pluralism. Members of the Cortes were not elected and exercised only symbolic power. It had no power over government spending, and the cabinet, appointed and dismissed by Franco alone, retained real legislative authority. In 1967, with the enaction of the
Organic Law of the StateThe Organic Law of the State ( es, Ley Orgánica del Estado) (Law 1/1967, of January 11, for the Organic Law of the State)
, the accommodation of "two family representatives per province, elected by those on the electoral roll of
family heads
family heads
and married women" (the so-called ''tercio familiar'') ensued, opening a fraction of the Cortes' composition to some mechanisms of individual participation.


Cortes Generales under the Constitution of 1978

The Cortes are a bicameral parliament composed of a lower house (
Congreso de los Diputados The Congress of Deputies ( es, link=no, Congreso de los Diputados; eu, Diputatuen Kongresua; ca, Congrés dels Diputats; gl, Congreso dos Deputados) is the lower house of the Cortes Generales, Spain's legislative branch. The Congress meets i ...

Congreso de los Diputados
, ''congress of deputies'') and an upper house (
Senado
Senado
, ''senate''). Although they share legislative power, the Congress holds the power to ultimately override any decision of the Senate by a sufficient majority (usually an absolute majority or supermajority, three-fifths majority). The Congress is composed of 350 deputies (but that figure may change in the future as the constitution establishes a maximum of 400 and a minimum of 300) directly elected by universal suffrage approximately every four years. The Senate is partly directly elected in that four senators per province are elected as a general rule and partly appointed by the legislative assemblies of the Autonomous Communities of Spain, autonomous communities, one for each community and another one for every million inhabitants in their territory. Although the Senate was conceived as a territorial upper house, it has been argued by nationalist parties and the
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party ( es, Partido Socialista Obrero Español ; PSOE ) is a social-democraticThe PSOE is described as a social-democratic party by numerous sources: * * * * political party A political party is an organi ...
that it does not accomplish such a task because 208 out of 265 members of the Senate are elected by popular vote in each province, and only 58 are representatives appointed by the regional legislatures of autonomous communities. Proposals to reform the Senate have been discussed for at least ten years as of November 2007. One of the main themes of reform is to move towards a higher level of federalization and make the Senate a thorough representation of autonomous communities instead of the current system, which tries to incorporate the interests of province and autonomous communities at the same time. Presidents of the Cortes Generales since the restoration of democracy in Spain are:


Joint Committees


See also

*List of Presidents of Cortes (Spain) * Solemn Opening of the Parliament of Spain * Bureaus of the Cortes Generales


Notes


References


Further reading


O’Callaghan, Joseph F. ''The Cortes of Castile-León, 1188–1350'', 1989



External links

* {{Authority control Cortes Generales, Government of Spain Parliaments by country, Spain Bicameral legislatures, Spain National legislatures, Spain