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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 River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
,
Asturleonese Asturleonese ( ast, Asturlleonés, es, Asturleonés; pt, Asturo-leonês) is a Romance language The Romance languages (less commonly Latin languages, or Neo-Latin languages) are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the ...
, and gl, Constitución Española; eu, Espainiako Konstituzioa; ca, Constitució Espanyola; oc, Constitucion espanhòla) is the
democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: Politics *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people ...

democratic
law that is supreme in the
Kingdom 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 ...
. It was enacted after its approval in a constitutional referendum, and it is the culmination of the
Spanish transition to democracy The Spanish transition to democracy, known in Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map ...
. The Constitution of 1978 is one of about a dozen of other historical Spanish constitutions and constitution-like documents; however, it is one of two fully democratic constitutions (the other being the
Spanish Constitution of 1931 The Spanish Constitution of 1931 was approved by the Constituent Cortes, Constituent Assembly on 9 December 1931. It was the constitution of the Second Spanish Republic (founded 14 April 1931) and was in force until 1 April 1939. This was the sec ...
). It was sanctioned by King
Juan Carlos I Juan Carlos I (;, * ca, Joan Carles I, * gl, Xoán Carlos I, Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias, born 5 January 1938) is a member of the Spanish royal family#REDIRECT Spanish royal family The House of B ...
on 27 December, and published in the ' (the
government gazette A government gazette (also known as an official gazette, official journal, official newspaper, official monitor or official bulletin) is a periodical publication that has been authorised to publish public or legal notices. It is usually establis ...
of Spain) on 29 December, the date in which it became effective. The promulgation of the constitution marked the culmination of the Spanish transition to democracy after the death of general
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
, on 20 November 1975, who ruled over Spain as a military dictator for nearly 40 years. This led to the country undergoing a series of political, social and historical changes that transformed the
Francoist Francoist Spain ( es, España franquista) or the Francoist dictatorship ( es, dictadura franquista, links=no), was the period of Spanish history Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group ind ...
regime into a democratic state. The Spanish transition to democracy was a complex process that gradually transformed the legal framework of the Francoist regime into a democratic state. The Spanish state did not abolish the Francoist regime, but rather slowly transformed the institutions and approved and/or derogated laws so as to establish a democratic nation and approve the Constitution, all under the guidance of King
Juan Carlos I of Spain Juan Carlos I (;, * ca, Joan Carles I, * gl, Xoán Carlos I, Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias, born 5 January 1938) is a member of the Spanish royal family#REDIRECT Spanish royal family The House of B ...
. The Constitution was redacted, debated and approved by the
constituent assembly A constituent assembly (also known as a constitutional convention, constitutional congress, or constitutional assembly) is a body assembled for the purpose of drafting or revising a constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental ...

constituent assembly
( es, Cortes Constituyentes) that emerged from the 1977 general election. The Constitution then repealed all the
Fundamental Laws of the Realm The Fundamental Laws of the Realm ( es, Leyes Fundamentales del Reino) were a set of constitutional laws organizing the powers of the Francoist Spain, Francoist regime in Spain, the dictatorship of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. In 1977, during t ...
(the pseudo-constitution of the Francoist regime), as well as other major historical laws and every pre-existing law that contradicted what the Constitution establishes. The constitution takes cues both from older Spanish constitutions as well as from other then-current European constitutions including the provision for a
constructive vote of no confidence The constructive vote of no confidence (german: konstruktives Misstrauensvotum, es, moción de censura constructiva) is a variation on the motion of no confidence A motion of no confidence, vote of no confidence, or no confidence motion, some ...
taken from the
German Basic Law The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the constitution of the Germany, Federal Republic of Germany. The West German Constitution was approved in Bonn on 8 May 1949 and ...
. Article 1 of the Constitution defines the Spanish state. Article 1.1 states that "Spain is established as a
social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology The word "Social" derives fr ...
and democratic State, subject to the
rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a compreh ...

rule of law
, which advocates as the highest values of its
legal order A court order is an official proclamation by a judge (or panel of judges) that defines the legal relationships between the parties to a Hearing (law), hearing, a lawsuit, trial, an appeal or other court proceedings. Such ruling requires or authori ...
the following:
liberty Broadly speaking, liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It is a synonym for the word freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change withou ...

liberty
,
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, ...

justice
,
equality Equality may refer to: Society * Political equality, in which all members of a society are of equal standing ** Consociationalism, in which an ethnically, religiously, or linguistically divided state functions by cooperation of each group's elite ...
and political pluralism. Article 1.2 refers to
national sovereignty Westphalian sovereignty, or state sovereignty, is a principle in international law that each Sovereign state, state has exclusive sovereignty over its territory. The principle underlies the modern International relations, international system of so ...
, which is vested in the Spanish people, "from whom the powers of the State emanate". Article 1.3 establishes
parliamentary 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 ...
as the "political form of the Spanish state". The Constitution is organized in ten parts ( es, Títulos) and an additional introduction ( es, Título Preliminar), as well as a preamble, several additional and interim provisions and a series of repeals, and it ends with a final provision. Part I refers to fundamental rights and duties, which receive special treatment and protection under Spanish law. Part II refers to the regulation of
the Crown The Crown is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...
and lays out the King's role in the Spanish state. Part III elaborates on Spain's legislature, the
Cortes Generales 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 ...
. Part IV refers to the
Government of Spain gl, Goberno de España eu, Espainiako Gobernua , image = , caption = Logo of the Government of Spain , headerstyle = background-color: #efefef , label1 = Role , data1 = Executive power The executive (short for exe ...
, the executive power, and the Public Administration, which is managed by the executive. Part V refers to the relations between the Government and the Cortes Generales; as a parliamentary monarchy, the Prime Minister ( es, Presidente del Gobierno) is invested by the legislature and the Government is responsible before the legislature. Part VI refers to the organization of the
judicial power The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government i ...
, establishing that justice emanates from the people and is administered on behalf of the king by
judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In th ...

judge
s and
magistrate The term magistrate is used in a variety of systems of governments and laws to refer to a civilian officer who administers the law. In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– ...
s who are independent, irrevocable, liable and subject to the rule of law only. Part VII refers to the principles that shall guide the
economy An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ...
and the finances of the Spanish state, subjecting all the wealth in the country to the general interest and recognizing public initiative in the economy, while also protecting
private property Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the prope ...
in the framework of a
market economy A market economy is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The ide ...
. It also establishes the
Court of Accounts A Court of Audit or Court of Accounts is a Supreme audit institution, i.e. a government institution performing financial and/or legal audit (i.e. Statutory audit or External audit) on the executive branch of power. See also *Most of those insti ...
and the principles that shall guide the approval of the state budget. Part VIII refers to the "territorial organization of the State" and establishes a unitary state that is nevertheless heavily decentralized through delegation and transfer of powers. The result is a ''de facto''
federal Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy, a federation of monarchies *Federation, or ''Federal state'' (federal system), a type of government characterized by both a central (federal) government and states or ...
model, with some differences from federal states. This is referred to as an autonomous state ( es, Estado Autonómico) or state of the autonomies ( es, Estado de las Autonomías). Part IX refers to the
Constitutional Court A constitutional court is a high court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Ad ...
, which oversees the constitutionality of all laws and protects the fundamental rights enshrined in Part I. Finally, Part X refers to constitutional amendments, of which there have been only two since 1978 (in 1995 and 2011).


History

The constitutional history of Spain dates back to the
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, fir ...
. After the death of dictator
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
in 1975, a
general election A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary legislative body, and are different from by-election ...
in 1977 convened the
Constituent Cortes The Constituent Cortes ( es, Las Cortes Constituyentes) is the description of Spain's parliament, the Cortes, when convened as a constituent assembly. In the 20th century, only one Constituent Cortes was officially opened (Cortes are "opened" in ...
(the Spanish Parliament, in its capacity as a constitutional assembly) for the purpose of drafting and approving the constitution. A seven-member panel was selected among the elected members of the ' to work on a draft of the Constitution to be submitted to the body. These came to be known, as the media put it, as the ' or "fathers of the Constitution". These seven people were chosen to represent the wide (and often, deeply divided) political spectrum within the Spanish Parliament, while the leading role was given to then ruling party and now defunct Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD). *
Gabriel Cisneros Gabriel Cisneros Laborda (14 August 1940 – 27 July 2007) was a Spain, Spanish Lawyer, attorney and politician who is mostly known for being one of the Fathers of the Constitution, Fathers of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 He is also credited w ...
(UCD) * José Pedro Pérez-Llorca (UCD) * Miguel Herrero y Rodríguez de Miñón (UCD) *
Miquel Roca i Junyent Miquel Roca i Junyent (Bordeaux Bordeaux ( , ; Gascon oc, Bordèu ) is a port city on the river Garonne in the Gironde Departments of France, department in Southwestern France. The municipality (Communes of France, commune) of Bordeaux ...
(
CDC CDC may refer to: Organizations Government * Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous Unite ...
) *
Manuel Fraga Iribarne Manuel Fraga Iribarne (; 23 November 1922 – 15 January 2012) was a Spanish professor and politician in Francoist Spain Francoist Spain ( es, España franquista) or the Francoist dictatorship ( es, dictadura franquista, links=no), was the ...
( AP) *
Gregorio Peces-Barba Gregorio Peces-Barba (13 January 1938 – 24 July 2012) was a Spanish politician and jurist. He was one of the seven jurists who wrote the Spanish Constitution of 1978, acting as a representative of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. Peces- ...
(
PSOE The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party ( es, Partido Socialista Obrero Español ; PSOE ) is a Social democracy, social-democraticThe PSOE is described as a social-democratic party by numerous sources: * * * * List of political parties in Spain ...
) * Jordi Solé Tura (
PSUC The Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia ( ca, Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya, PSUC) was a Communism, communist political party active in Catalonia between 1936 and 1997. It was the Catalan branch of the Communist Party of Spain and the o ...
) The writer (and Senator by Royal appointment)
Camilo José Cela
Camilo José Cela
later polished the draft Constitution's wording. However, since much of the consensus depended on keeping the wording ambiguous, few of Cela's proposed re-wordings were approved. One of those accepted was the substitution of the archaic ' (" weld-colored") for the plain ' (yellow) in the description of the
flag of Spain #REDIRECT Flag of Spain#REDIRECT Flag of Spain The flag of Spain ( es, Bandera de España), as it is defined in the Spanish Constitution of 1978, consists of three horizontal stripes: red, yellow and red, the yellow stripe being twice the size of ...

flag of Spain
. The constitution was approved by the
Cortes Generales 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 ...
on 31 October 1978, and by the Spanish people in a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...
on 6 December 1978. 91.81% of voters supported the new constitution. Finally, it was sanctioned by King Juan Carlos on 27 December in a ceremony in the presence of parliamentarians. It came into effect on 29 December, the day it was published in the Official Gazette.
Constitution Day Constitution Day is a holiday to honor the constitution of a country. Constitution Day is often celebrated on the anniversary of the signing, promulgation or adoption of the constitution, or in some cases, to commemorate the change to constitutio ...

Constitution Day
( es, Día de la Constitución) on 6 December has since been a national holiday in Spain.


Structure

The Constitution recognizes the existence of nationalities and regions (Preliminary Title).


Preamble

Traditionally, writing the preamble to the constitution was considered an honour, and a task requiring great literary ability. The person chosen for this purpose was . The full text of the preamble may be translated as follows:


Preliminary Title

:Section 1. Spain is hereby established as a
social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology The word "Social" derives fr ...
and
democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: Politics *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people ...

democratic
State, subject to the
rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a compreh ...

rule of law
, which advocates freedom, justice, equality and political pluralism as highest values of its legal system. National sovereignty belongs to the Spanish people, from whom all state powers emanate. The political form of the Spanish State is the Parliamentary Monarchy. :Section 2. The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards; it recognizes and guarantees the right to self-government of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed and the solidarity among them all. As a result, Spain is now composed entirely of 17 Autonomous Communities and two autonomous cities with varying degrees of autonomy, to the extent that, even though the Constitution does not formally state that Spain is a federation (nor a unitary state), actual power shows, depending on the issue considered, widely varying grades of decentralization, ranging from the quasi-confederal status of tax management in Navarre and the Basque Country to the total centralization in airport management.


Part I: fundamental rights and duties

Part I of the Spanish Constitution encompasses Sections 10 to 55, establishing fundamental rights and duties. The scope of the rights recognised by the text is the largest in Spanish constitutional history. Scholars deem the enumeration open insofar as new rights can be included under the principle of human dignity as a foundation of the political order and social peace (Section 10). This can achieved by means of constitutional reform, jurisprudential developments or the ratification of new international treaties. The effect of fundamental rights is twofold. They are
subjective rights
subjective rights
to be exercised both individually and collectively. In addition to this, they are a binding principle for all public authorities, which allows for peaceful coexistence and legitimates the political and social order.


Chapter One: Spaniards and Aliens

Chapter One deals with the entitlement of constitutional rights. Section 11 provides for the regulation by statute of Spanish nationality whilst providing for its inalienability for Spaniards. Section 12 establishes the
age of majority The age of majority is the threshold of adulthood as recognized or declared in law. It is the moment when minor (law), minors cease to be considered such and assume legal control over their persons, actions, and decisions, thus terminating the ...

age of majority
in Spain at 18. Section 13 limits the entitlement of public freedoms to aliens to the provisions of statutes and international treaties.
Legal persons In law, a legal person is any person or 'thing' (less ambiguously, any legal entity) that can do the things a human person is usually able to do in law – such as enter into contracts, Lawsuit, sue and be sued, Ownership, own property, and so on ...
are entitled to a reduced array of rights, among which the right of association, the right to honour, the right to due process of law, freedom of speech and the inviolability of the home are included.


Chapter Two: Rights and Freedoms

Chapter Two begins with Section 14, an equal rights clause. ;Section One, fundamental rights and freedoms Section One (Sections 15 to 29) includes an enumeration of fundamental rights and public freedoms. This section is entrenched, meaning it is extremely difficult to modify or repeal, in order to prevent the establishment of a '' legal dictatorship'' via constitutional amendment. Furthermore, an individual can request the protection of a justice court if any of these rights are infringed. Individual rights include the
right to life The right to life is the belief that a being has the right to live Live may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''Live!'' (2007 film), 2007 American film * ''Live'' (2014 film), a 2014 Japanese film *'' ''Live'' (Apocalyptica DVD) ...
(Section 15),
freedom of conscience Freedom of thought (also called freedom of conscience or ideas) is the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its presen ...
(Section 16), right to freedom and security (Section 17), honour, privacy and inviolability of the home (Section 18),
freedom of movement Freedom of movement, mobility rights, or the right to travel is a human rights concept encompassing the right of individuals to travel from place to place within the territory of a country,Jérémiee Gilbert, ''Nomadic Peoples and Human Rights'' ...
and residence (Section 19), and
freedom of speech Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philoso ...

freedom of speech
(Section 20). The list of collective rights include the right of assembly (Section 21),
right of association Freedom of association encompasses both an individual's right to join or leave groups voluntarily, the right of the group to take collective action to pursue the interests of its members, and the right of an club (organization), association to acc ...
(Section 22),
right of suffrage
right of suffrage
(Section 23),
right to education The right to educationThe right to education has been recognized as a human right in a number of international conventions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights The International Covenant on Economic, S ...

right to education
(Section 27) and the
right to strike Strike action, also called labor strike, labour strike, or simply strike, is a work stoppage, caused by the mass refusal of employees to Labor (economics), work. A strike usually takes place in response to grievance (labour), employee grievance ...
(Section 28). The
due process of law Due process is the legal requirement that the State (polity), state must respect all legal rights that are owed to a person. Due process balances the power of law of the land and protects the individual person from it. When a government harms a ...
is covered by Sections 24 to 26. ;Section two, other rights and obligations Section Two of Chapter Two (Sections 30 to 38) includes a list of civic rights and duties. Section 30 includes
military duties
military duties
with guarantees and alternatives for
conscientious objectors A conscientious objector (often shortened to conchie) is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "ar ...
(this section has been inactive since 2002). Section 31 establishes a progressive and non-confiscatory
tax system A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act accord ...
. The principles of
family law Family law (also called matrimonial law or the ''law of domestic relations'') is an area of the law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to for ...
are laid out in Section 32. Chapter Two also deals with the
right to property The right to property, or the right to own property (cf. ownership Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive right In Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the En ...
(Section 33), to create foundations (Section 34),
to work
to work
(Section 35), to create
professional associations A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) usually seeks to further Further or Furthur may refer to: *Furthur (bus), ''Furthur'' (bus), the Merry Pranksters' psychedelic bus ...
(Section 36) and to
collective bargaining Collective bargaining is a process of negotiation Negotiation is a between two or more people or parties intended to reach a beneficial outcome over one or more issues where a conflict exists with respect to at least one of these issu ...
(Section 37). This Section also guarantees
economic freedom Economic freedom, or economic liberty, is the ability of people of a society to take economic actions. This is a term used in economic and policy debate Policy debate is a form of debate competition in which teams of two advocate for and again ...
and calls for a
market economy A market economy is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The ide ...
which can be subject to government
planning Planning is the process A process is a series or set of activities that interact to produce a result; it may occur once-only or be recurrent or periodic. Things called a process include: Business and management *Business process A business p ...
(Section 38).


Chapter Three: Governing Principles of Economic and Social Policy

Chapter Three includes Sections 39 to 52. They lay out the foundations of the Spanish
welfare state The welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equal o ...
in accordance with the constitutional mandate for a social state (Section 1) and for effective freedom and equality and societal integration for all citizens and collectives (Section 9, Part 2). It includes provisions for a public
pension system
pension system
, a social security system,
public healthcare Publicly-funded healthcare is a form of health care Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health, according to the , is "a state of complete physical, and social and not merely the absence of and ".. (2006)''Constitution ...
and
cultural rights The cultural rights movement has provoked attention to protect the rights of groups of people, or their culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, ...
.


Chapter Four: Guarantees for Fundamental Rights and Freedoms

Chapter Four includes a series of guarantees for fundamental rights. Section 53 limits the regulation of all rights in Chapter Two and Chapter Three to
statutory law Statutory law or statute law is written law passed by a body of legislature. This is as opposed to Oral law, oral or customary law; or regulatory law promulgated by the Executive (government), executive or common law of the judiciary. Statutes may ...
, which excludes administrative regulation (''reglamentos''). These statutes must respect the essential content of said rights. The fundamental rights and public freedoms included in Section One of Chapter Two can be invoked directly, and they ought to be regulated by means of
Organic Law An organic law is a law 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, ...
(which ensures greater political consensus). The creation of this statute cannot be delegated to the executive power. Section 54 calls for the creation of an
Ombudsman An ombudsman (, also , ), ombudsperson, ombud, ombuds, or public advocate is an official who is usually appointed by the government or by parliament but with a significant degree of independence. In some countries, an inspector general, citizen ...
(''Defensor del Pueblo''), accountable to the legislative power, the
Cortes Generales 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 ...
. It acts as a supervisor of administrative activity. In addition to this, it has
standing Standing, also referred to as orthostasis, is a position in which the body is held in an ''erect'' ("orthostatic") position and supported only by the feet. Although seemingly static, the body rocks slightly back and forth from the ankle The a ...
before the
Constitutional Court A constitutional court is a high court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Ad ...
to lodge unconstitutionality appeals and individual appeals for protection ''(recurso de amparo)''. Sections 14 to 29 and Section 30, Part 2, enjoy the right to a preferential and summary procedure in the ordinary courts. Once this procedure is exhausted, citizens may lodge an individual appeal for protection ''(recurso de amparo)'', a last instance unique to Spanish constitutional law and created in 1978 that, once exhausted, allows for an appeal before the European Court of Human Rights. This scope of additional protection reinforces the guarantees of the due process of law, including the process of habeas corpus. In addition to this, the Prime Minister, the Ombudsman, 50 members of the Congress of Deputies, 50 Senators, and regional governments and legislative assemblies may lodge unconstitutionality appeals before the
Constitutional Court A constitutional court is a high court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Ad ...
.Art. 161.1.a CEArt. 162.1 CE


Part II: Crown

The Constitution dedicates its Part II to the regulation of the monarchy, which is referred to as ''The Crown'' ( es, La Corona). Article 56 of the Constitution establishes that the monarch is the head of state and symbolizes the unity of the Spanish state. It refers to the monarch's role as a "moderator" whose main role is to oversee and ensure the regular functioning of the institutions. The monarch is also the highest-ranked representative of the Spanish state in international relations and only exercises the functions that are explicitly attributed to him by the Constitution and the laws. The King's official title is "King of Spain" ( es, Rey de España), but he is allowed to use any List of titles and honours of the Spanish Crown, other titles that are associated to the Spanish Crown. The King of Spain enjoys immunity and is not subject to legal accountability. In a broad sense, this means that the King cannot be legally prosecuted. Some jurists say that this only refers to criminal procedures, while others claim this immunity is also present in civil procedures; in practice, the King has never been prosecuted and it is unlikely that he would be prosecuted even if it was proven that the monarch had committed a crime. The legal justification for royal immunity is that the King is mandated by the Constitution to fulfill several roles as the head of state; thus, the King is obligated to perform his actions and fulfill his duties, so the King cannot be judged for actions that he is constitutionally obligated to perform.


Refrendo

The fact that the King is not personally responsible for his actions does not mean that his actions are free of responsibility. The responsibility for the King's actions falls into the persons who hold actual political power and who actually take political decisions, which the King only formally and symbolically ratifies. This is done through a procedure or institution called the ''refrendo'' ("countersigning" in the official English translation of the constitution). All the King's actions have to undergo the refrendo procedure. Through the refrendo, the responsibility of the King is transported to other persons, who will be responsible for the King's actions, if such responsibility is demanded from them. Article 64 explains the refrendo, which transports the King's responsibility unto the Prime Minister of Spain, Prime Minister for most cases, though it also establishes the refrendo for Ministers in some cases. In general, when there is not a formed government, the responsibility is assumed by the President of the Congress of Deputies. Without the refrendo, the King's actions are null and void. There are only two royal acts that do not require the refrendo. The first encompasses all acts related to the management of the Royal House of Spain; the King can freely hire and fire any employees of the Royal House and he receives an annual amount from the state budget to operate the Royal House, which he freely distributes across the institution. The second one refers to the King's will, which enables him to distribute his material legacy and name tutors for his children, if they are not legal adults.


King's functions in the Spanish state

Article 62 of the Spanish Constitution establishes an exhaustive list of the King's functions, all of which are symbolic and do not reflect the exercise of any political power. The King sanctions and promulgates the laws, which are approved by the
Cortes Generales 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 ...
, which the King also symbolically and formally calls and dissolves. The King also calls for periodic elections and for referendums in the cases that are included by the laws or the Constitution. The King also proposes a candidate for Prime Minister, which is probably the King's most 'political' function, as he traditionally holds meetings with the leaders of all the major political parties in order to facilitate the formation of a government. If a candidate is successfully invested by the Parliament, he formally names him Prime Minister of Spain. When a Prime Minister has been named, he also formally names all the members of his government, all of which are proposed by the Prime Minister himself. The King has both a right and a duty to be informed of all the state affairs; he is also allowed to preside over the government meetings when the Prime Minister invites him to do so, although he has the ability to reject this invitation. Regarding the Government, the King also formally issues the governmental decrees, as well as bestowing all the civil and military ranks and employments, and he also grants honors and distinctions according to the laws. The King is also the supreme head of the Armed Forces of Spain, although the effective lead is held by the Government of Spain. Finally, the King holds the High Patronage of all the Royal Academies and other organizations that have a royal patronage.


Succession to the Crown

The succession to the Crown is regulated in article 57 which establishes a male preference primogeniture to the successors of King Juan Carlos I and his dynasty, the Bourbon Dynasty, Bourbon dynasty. The heir to the throne receives the title of Prince or Princess of Asturias as well as the other historic titles of the heir and the other children received the title of Infates or Infantas. If some person with rights of succession marries against the will of the King or Queen regnant or the Cortes Generales, they shall be excluded from succession to the Crown, as shall their descendants. This article also establishes that if the lines are extinguished, the Cortes Generales shall decided who will be the new King or Queen attending to the general interests of the country. Finally, article 57.5 establishes that abdications or any legal doubt about the succession must be clarified by an Organic Act. This legal forecast was exercised for the first time of the current democratic period in 2014 when King Juan Carlos abdicated in favor of his son. The Organic Act 3/2014 made effective the abdication of the King. A Royal decree of the same year also modified the Royal Decree of 1987 which establishes the titles of the Royal family and the Regents and arranged that the outgoing King and Queen shall conserve their titles. And the Organic Act 4/2014 modified the Organic Act of the Judiciary to allow the former Kings to conserve their judicial prerogatives (immunity).


Regency

The Regency is regulated in article 59. The Regency is a period in which a person exercises the duties of the King or Queen regnant on behalf of the real monarch who is a minor. This article establishes that the King or Queen's mother or father shall immediately assume the office of regent and, in the absence of these, the oldest relative of legal age who is nearest in succession to the Crown. Article 59 § 2 establishes that the monarch may be declared incapacitated by Parliament if the monarch becomes unfit for the exercise of authority, in which case the Prince or Princess of Asturias shall assume the regency if they are of age; if not, the previous procedure must be followed. If there is no person entitled to exercise the regency, the Cortes Generales shall appoint one regent or a council of three or five persons known as the Council of Regency. The regent must be a Spaniard and legally of age. The Constitution also establishes in article 60 that the guardian of the King or Queen during their minority cannot be the same as the person who acts as regent, unless the regent is the father, the mother, or a direct ancestor of the King. A parent can be guardian while he or she remain widowed. If the parent marries again, the parent loses the guardianship, and the Cortes Generales shall appoint a guardian who must comply with the same requirements as to be regent. Article 60 § 2 also establishes that the exercise of the guardianship is also incompatible with the holding of any office or political representation so that no person can be the guardian of the monarch while holding a political office.


Part III: Cortes Generales

Part III (Sections 66 to 96) deals with the
Cortes Generales 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 ...
, the Spanish legislature. It consists of two chambers: the Congress of Deputies and the Senate of Spain, with the former being privileged above the latter, in contrast with other upper chambers, such as the Italian Senate of the Republic (Italy), Senate of the Republic. Each chamber is provided with internal Regulatory law, regulatory powers for governance, a Speaker (''Presidente'') and a Governing Board (''Mesa''). The Permanent Deputation exerts a limited series of powers during recesses and after the dissolution of the chambers. Joint sessions of the Cortes are presided by the Speaker of the Congress of Deputies under a common procedure code passed by a majority of each chamber. The Cortes exert legislative, budgetary and control powers over the executive. They have the power to appoint members to the
Constitutional Court A constitutional court is a high court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Ad ...
, the General Council of the Judiciary, the Court of Auditors (Spain), Court of Auditors and the
Ombudsman An ombudsman (, also , ), ombudsperson, ombud, ombuds, or public advocate is an official who is usually appointed by the government or by parliament but with a significant degree of independence. In some countries, an inspector general, citizen ...
. They have control over the line of succession of the Spanish Crown, with the power to appoint Regents, Tutors and to elect a new head of state according to the interest of Spain if all sucessory lines are exhausted. Each chambers works in a Plenary or by Commissions, work groups with a composition proportional to each party's representation. Commissions may be assigned the study of bills and matters by the Governing Board, and the Plenary may delegate unto them the passing of certain bills, excluding those related to constitutional reform, international matters, organic laws and the budget. Commissions can be legislative and non-legislative, and permanent or temporary.


Congress of Deputies

Section 68 provides for a lower chamber with a minimum of three hundred and a maximum of four hundred Deputies,Art. 68.1 CE elected by universal, free, equal, direct and secret suffrage. The electoral districts are the Provinces of Spain, provinces and the cities of Ceuta (Congress of Deputies constituency), Ceuta and Melilla (Congress of Deputies constituency), Melilla, with a minimum of two seats for each province and one seat for each city, the rest being apportioned by population.Art. 68.2 CE All deputies are elected in each district by proportional representation.


Senate

Section 69 establishes the Senate as an upper and territorial chamber. It is elected under a mixed system where 208 Senators are elected directly by universal, free, equal, direct and secret suffrage and the rest are indirectly appointed by the legislative assemblies of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous communities. Senators are elected by limited voting, with citizens being able to elect all but one members of a district. This affords the second most voted party in each district a degree of representation. The attributions of the Spanish Senate are subordinate to those of the Spanish Congress, which makes it comparable to the Senate of Canada or the House of Councillors (Japan), House of Councillors of the National Diet, National Diet of Japan insofar as it may exert limited control and review powers over the lower chamber.


Part IV: government

Section 97 vests the executive power in the
Government of Spain gl, Goberno de España eu, Espainiako Gobernua , image = , caption = Logo of the Government of Spain , headerstyle = background-color: #efefef , label1 = Role , data1 = Executive power The executive (short for exe ...
, which runs the country's domestic and foreign policy, the civil and military administration and the national defense. Section 98 states that the Government shall be composed of the President (referred to in English as the Prime Minister of Spain, Prime Minister), the Vice Presidents if any (referred to in English as the Deputy Prime Minister of Spain, Deputy Prime Ministers), and any other members listed in statute. The Prime Minister runs the Government's policy and coordinates the faculties of the others members of the Government. Section 99 describes the procedure of appointment of the Prime Minister. After an election, or any other event that triggers an appointment, the King shall meet with all the leaders of the Political party, political groups in the Cortes Generales, then choose one of them to face an investiture vote. The President of the Congress of Deputies holds veto power over the King's choice. The investiture vote is successful, and the nominee becomes Prime Minister, if he gets the absolute majority vote of the Congress of Deputies in the first Voting methods in deliberative assemblies#Recorded vote, roll call, or a simple majority (more yeas than noes) in a second roll call that takes place two days after the first. The process can be repeated with the same or other political leader chosen by the King within two months after the first roll call; after that time, a Elections in Spain#General_elections, general election to both chambers is automatically called. Section 100 states that the Minister (government), ministers are appointed and dismissed by the King by the Prime Minister's proposal. Section 101 states that the Government is dismissed after a general election, the loss of supply or motion of no confidence, confidence of the Congress of Deputies, or the resignation or death of the Prime Minister. The dismissed Government holds caretaker government, caretaker powers until a new Government is inaugurated. Section 102 stablishes the conditions for prosecution of criminal accountability for the Prime Minister or any other member of the Government, explicitly stating they cannot pardon themselves. Sections 103 to 107 stablish the role of the General State Administration, the Law enforcement in Spain, law enforcement organizations, the Spanish Council of State, Council of State, and the obligation of the Government to grant due process, to abide by judiciary decisions and to fulfill any public liability to the individuals.


Part V: relations between the Cortes Generales and the government

Article 115 deals with the mechanisms of how and when Congress, the Senate, or the Cortes Generales can be dissolved. This measure requires approval from the King of Spain, who must establish a date for the elections. The proposal for dissolution cannot be submitted during a censure.


Article 116

:''Section 1. A state of alarm (Spain), state of alarm shall be declared by the Government, by means of a decree decided upon by the Council of Ministers, for a maximum period of fifteen days. The Congress of Deputies shall be informed and must meet immediately for this purpose. Without their authorisation, the said period may not be extended. The decree shall specify the territorial area to which the effects of the proclamation shall apply.'' :''Section 2. A state of emergency shall be declared by the Government by means of a decree decided upon by the Council of Ministers, after prior authorisation by the Congress of Deputies. The authorisation for and declaration of a state of emergency must specifically state the effects thereof, the territorial area to which it is to apply and its duration, which may not exceed thirty days, subject to extension for a further thirty-day period, with the same requirements.'' :''Section 3. A state of siege (martial law) shall be declared by absolute majority of the Congress of Deputies, exclusively at the proposal of the Government. Congress shall determine its territorial extension, duration and terms.'' For the duration where any of those acts of Article 116 are declared, Congress cannot be dissolved. In the event that Congress had been dissolved or its term expires, the powers of Congress are assumed by the Standing Committee. Since the constitution of Spain was adopted, the state of alarm was only declared twice: once in 2010 for the Spanish air traffic controllers strike, and in March 2020 for the COVID-19 pandemic. The first state of emergency was declared in October 2020 as a result of continued difficulties for the COVID-19 pandemic.


Part VI: judiciary


Part VII: economy and taxation


Part VIII: territorial model


Article 143

:''Section 1. In the exercise of the right to self-government recognized in Article 2 of the Constitution, bordering provinces with common historic, cultural and economic characteristics, island territories and provinces with historic regional status may accede to self-government and form Autonomous Communities in conformity with the provisions contained in this Title and in the respective Statutes.'' The Spanish Constitution is one of the few Bill of Rights that has legal provisions for social rights, including the definition of Spain itself as a "Social and Democratic State, subject to the rule of law" ( es, Estado social y democrático de derecho) in its preliminary title. However, those rights are not at the same level of protection as the individual rights contained in articles 14 to 28, since those social rights are considered in fact principles and directives of economic policy, but never full rights of the citizens to be claimed before a court or tribunal. Other constitutional provisions recognize the right to adequate housing, employment, social welfare provision, social security, health protection and pensions. Thanks to the political influence of Santiago Carrillo of the Communist Party of Spain (main), Communist Party of Spain, and with the consensus of the other "fathers of the constitution", the right to State intervention in private companies in the public interest and the facilitation of access by workers to ownership of the means of production were also enshrined in the Constitution.


Article 155

''Section 1. If a self-governing community does not fulfil the obligations imposed upon it by the constitution or other laws, or acts in a way that is seriously prejudicial to the general interest of Spain, the government may take all measures necessary to compel the community to meet said obligations, or to protect the above-mentioned general interest.'' :''Section 2. With a view to implementing the measures provided for in the foregoing paragraph, the Government may issue instructions to all the authorities of the Self-governing Communities.'' This wording is almost identical to Article 37 of the
German Basic Law The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the constitution of the Germany, Federal Republic of Germany. The West German Constitution was approved in Bonn on 8 May 1949 and ...
. On Friday, October 27, 2017, the Senate of Spain (Senado) voted 214 to 47 to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution over Catalonia after the Catalan Parliament declared independence. Article 155 gave Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy the power to remove secessionist politicians, including Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan leader, and directly rule from Madrid.


Part IX: Constitutional Court


Part X: constitutional amendment

There are two methods of amending the Spanish Constitution, detailed below. The Government, the Congress of Deputies or the Senate can propose constitutional amendments. The Parliaments of the Autonomous Communities can also propose a constitutional amendment to the Congress or the Government, but cannot propose an amendment directly. There have been 2 amendments to the Spanish constitution, one in 1992 and one in 2011, both were passed with the necessary majority and without a referendum being requested.


Ordinary provisions

A constitutional amendment must be approved by a three-fifths majority by both the Congress of Deputies and the Senate. If there is disagreement between the Chambers, a mixed committee will present an agreed text to both chambers for a vote. Even if this procedure fails, and as long as the amendment passed with a simple majority in the Senate, Congress may pass the amendment with two-thirds majority. One-tenth of either deputies or senators may also request, with a 15-day deadline since passage, that the amendment be put to a referendum.


Entrenched provisions

Three parts of the Constitution are entrenched: the Preliminary Title, Section I of Chapter II of Title I (on Fundamental Rights and Public Liberties), and Title II (on the Crown). Under Title X, these cannot be altered except by the same process that would be required for adoption of a new constitution: * two-thirds of each House approve the amendment, * elections are called immediately thereafter, * two-thirds of each new House approves the amendment, and * the amendment is approved by the people in a referendum.


Reform

The Constitution has been amended twice. The first time, Article 13.2, Title I was altered to extend to citizens of the European Union the right to active and passive suffrage (both voting rights and eligibility as candidates) in local elections under the provisions of the Maastricht Treaty. The second time, in August/September 2011, a balanced budget amendment and debt brake was added to Article 135. The current version restricts the death penalty to military courts during wartime, but the death penalty has since been removed from the Code of Military Justice and thus lost all relevance. Amnesty International has still requested an amendment to be made to the Constitution to abolish it firmly and explicitly in all cases. Amnesty International Spain, Oxfam Intermón and Greenpeace launched a campaign in 2015. Official campaign site. to amend the article 53 so that it extends the same protection to economic economic, social social and
cultural rights The cultural rights movement has provoked attention to protect the rights of groups of people, or their culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, ...
as to other rights like right to life, life or right to freedom, freedom. After that, the campaign seeks another 24 amendments protecting human rights, the natural environment, environment and social justice.


Reform of the autonomy statutes

The "Statute of Autonomy, Statutes of Autonomy" of the different regions are the second most important Spanish legal normatives when it comes to the political structure of the country. Because of that, the reform attempts of some of them have been either rejected or produced considerable controversy. The plan conducted by the Basque president Juan José Ibarretxe (known as Ibarretxe Plan) to reform the status of the Basque Country (autonomous community), Basque Country in the Spanish state was rejected by the Spanish Cortes, on the grounds (among others) that it amounted to an implicit reform of the Constitution. The People's Party attempted to reject the admission into the Cortes of the 2005 reform of the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia, Autonomy Statute of Catalonia on the grounds that it should be dealt with as a constitutional reform rather than a mere statute reform because it allegedly contradicts the spirit of the Constitution in many points, especially the Statute's alleged breaches of the "solidarity between regions" principle enshrined by the Constitution. After failing to assemble the required majority to dismiss the text, the People's Party filed a claim of unconstitutionality against several dozen articles of the text before the Spanish Constitutional Court for them to be struck down. The amended Autonomy Statute of Catalonia has also been legally contested by the surrounding Autonomous Communities of Aragon, Balearic Islands and the Valencian Community on similar grounds as those of the PP, and others such as disputed cultural heritage. As of January 2008, the Constitutional Court of Spain has those alleged breaches and its actual compliance with the Constitution under judicial review. Prominent Spanish politicians, mostly from the People's Party but also from the Socialist Party (PSOE) and other non-nationalist parties, have advocated for the statutory reform process to be more closely compliant with the Constitution, on the grounds that the current wave of reforms threatens the functional destruction of the constitutional system itself. The most cited arguments are the self-appointed unprecedented expansions of the powers of autonomous communities present in recently reformed statutes: * The amended version of the Catalan Statute prompts the State to allot investments in Catalonia according to Catalonia's own percentage contribution to the total Spanish Gross Domestic Product, GDP. The Autonomy Statute of Andalusia, a region that contributes less to Spain's GDP than the region of Catalonia contributes, requires it in turn to allocate state investments in proportion to its population (it is the largest Spanish Autonomous Community in terms of population). These requirements are legally binding, as they are enacted as part of Autonomy Statutes, which rank only below the Constitution itself. It is self-evident that, should all autonomous communities be allowed to establish their particular financing models upon the State, the total may add up to more than 100% and that would be unviable. Despite these changes having been proposed and approved by fellow members of the PSOE, former Minister of Economy and Finance (Spain), Finance Minister Pedro Solbes disagreed with this new trend of assigning state investment quotas to territories based on any given autonomous community custom requirement"Solbes rechaza vincular la nueva financiación a las balanzas fiscales", ''El País''. 03/12/2007
/ref> and has subsequently compared the task of planning the Spanish national budget to a sudoku. * The Valencian statute, whose reform was one of the first to be enacted, includes the so-called Camps clause (named after the Valencian President Francisco Camps), which makes any powers assumed by other communities in its statutes automatically available to the Valencian Community. * Autonomous communities such as Catalonia, Aragon, Andalusia or Extremadura, have included statutory clauses claiming exclusive powers over any river flowing through their territories. Nearby communities have filed complaints before the Spanish Constitutional Court on the grounds that no Community can exercise exclusive power over rivers that cross more than one Community, not even over the part flowing through its territory because its decisions affect other Communities, both downstream or upstream.


Proposed amendments


Reform of the Senate


Other proposed amendments

In May 2021, the Spanish government headed by Pedro Sánchez Castejón proposed to amend article 49, substituting ("handicapped") with ("persons with disability") in line with the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and inclusive language, inclusive and people-first language. The change has not initially gathered the necessary support from the opposition.


See also

* List of Constitutions of Spain *
Spanish transition to democracy The Spanish transition to democracy, known in Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map ...
* Constitution * Constitutional economics * Constitutionalism * Rule according to higher law


References


External links


Government of Spain website: The Spanish Constitution

RTVE video of the event of Juan Carlos I's sanction of the constitution in the presence of parliamentarians, 27 December 1978.

The constitution on the Boletin Oficial del Estado's website
{{DEFAULTSORT:Spanish Constitution Of 1978 Spanish law Constitutions of Spain, *1978 1978 in law 1978 in Spain, Constitution Legal history of Spain, Constitution of 1978 1978 documents Political history of Spain