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The Senate ( es, Senado) is the upper house of 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 along with 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 ...

Congress of Deputies
– the
lower chamber 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 ...
– comprises the
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative 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 ...

Parliament
of 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 ...
. The Senate meets in the Palace of the Senate 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 composition of the Senate is established in Part III of the Spanish Constitution. The Senate is composed of senators, each of whom represents a
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...

province
, an
autonomous city Autonomous city is a type of autonomous administrative division An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administrative division Admi ...

autonomous city
or 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 accordance with the Spanish Constitution of 1978, Spanish constitution of 1978, with the ...
. Each mainland province, regardless of its population size, is equally represented by four senators; in the insular provinces, the big islands are represented by three senators and the minor islands are represented by a single senator. Likewise, the autonomous cities of
Ceuta Ceuta (, , ; ber, Sebta, script=Latn; ar, سَبْتَة, Sabtah) is a 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 pl ...
and
Melilla Melilla ( , ; ; ber, Mrich / Mlilt; ar, مليلية ) is an autonomous city of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , nation ...
elect two senators each. This direct election results in the election of 208 senators by the citizens. In addition, the regional legislatures also designate their own representatives, one senator for each autonomous community and another for every million person, designating a total of 58 senators. The Spanish Senate is constitutionally described as a territorial chamber. Its powers are similar to those of the Congress of Deputies. However, by virtue of its role as a territorial chamber, it is endowed with exceptional powers such as authorising the Government of the Nation to apply direct rule on a region or to dissolve city councils. The presiding officer of the Senate is the
President of the Senate President of the Senate is a title often given to the presiding officer of a 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 ...
, who is elected by the members thereof.


History

The Senate was first established under the Royal Statute of 1834 approved by Queen Regent
Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies ( it, Maria Cristina Ferdinanda di Borbone, Principessa delle Due Sicilie, es, link=no, María Cristina de Borbón, Princesa de las Dos Sicilias; 27 April 1806 – 22 August 1878) was queen consort A qu ...
under the denomination of House of Peers but it did not last long and in 1837, under the Constitution of that year, the upper house acquired the denomination of Senate. It remained under the regimes of the constitutions of 1845, 1856, 1869 and 1876. It was composed, at that latter time, of three main categories: senators by their own right,
senators for life #REDIRECT senator for life A senator for life is a member of the senate or equivalent upper chamber of a legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of socie ...
and elected senators. This house, along with the Congress of Deputies, was suppressed after the coup of General
Miguel Primo de Rivera Miguel Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja, 2nd Marquess of Estella (8 January 1870 – 16 March 1930), was a dictator, aristocrat, and military officer who served as Prime Minister of Spain The president of the Government of Spain ( es, link=no ...
in 1923. Only after 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 ...
in 1977 was it re-established.


Role

The Spanish parliamentary system is bicameral but asymmetric. 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 ...
has more independent functions, and it can also override most Senate measures. Only the Congress can grant or revoke confidence to 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 ...
. In the ordinary lawmaking process, either house may be the initiator, and the Senate can amend hostilely or veto, the proposal then being sent back to the lower house, which can override these objections by an
absolute majority A supermajority, supra-majority, qualified majority, or special majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level of support which is greater than the threshold of more than one-half used for a majority. Supermajority rules in ...
vote. Organic laws, which govern basic civil rights and regional devolutions, need an absolute majority of both congress and senate to pass. The process for constitutional amendments is slightly more tangled: the rule is to require a three fifths (60%) of both houses, but if the Senate does not achieve such a supermajority and a joint congress-senate committee fails to resolve the issues, the Congress may force the amendment through with a two-thirds vote as long as an absolute majority of the Senate was in favour. On the other hand, the Senate has certain exclusive functions in the appointment of constitutional posts, such as judges of 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 ...
or the members of the General Council of the Judicial Power. The Senate is solely responsible for disciplining regional presidents (Section 155 of the
Spanish Constitution The Spanish Constitution (Spanish language, Spanish, Asturleonese language, Asturleonese, and gl, Constitución Española; eu, Espainiako Konstituzioa; ca, Constitució Espanyola; oc, Constitucion espanhòla) is the Democracy, democratic la ...
). Only the Senate can suspend local governments ( Local Regime Framework Act, Section 61. Spanish Official Gazette
Local Regime Framework Act (Law 7/1985)
/ref>). It exercised this power in April 2006, dissolving the Marbella city council when most of its members were found to have engaged in
corrupt practices Corrupt practices in England, English election law includes bribery, treating, undue influence, personation, and aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring personation. English election law Corrupt practices were created in English law, Unite ...
. On Friday, October 26, 2017, the Senate voted 214 to 47 to invoke Section 155 of the Spanish Constitution over the region of
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
. This decision gave to prime minister
Mariano Rajoy Mariano Rajoy Brey (; born 27 March 1955) is a Spanish politician who served as 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 ''Preside ...

Mariano Rajoy
the power to remove the
regional government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government ...
and to dissolve the regional legislature, and rule directly from
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
. Senate reform has been a topic of discussion since the early days of Spanish democracy. One proposal would advance the
federalization Federalism is a mixed or compound mode of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government norm ...

federalization
of Spain by remaking the Senate to represent the
autonomous communities of Spain eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, comunidat autonoma ast, comunidá autónoma , alt_name = , map = , category = Autonomous administrative ...

autonomous communities of Spain
.


Organization

Senators form
groups A group is a number of people or things that are located, gathered, or classed together. Groups of people * Cultural group, a group whose members share the same cultural identity * Ethnic group, a group whose members share the same ethnic identi ...
along party lines. Parties with fewer than ten senators form the Mixed Group. If the membership of an existing group falls below six during a session, it is merged into the Mixed Group at the next session. For example, lost its senate caucus in 2008 after 2008 Spanish general election, electoral losses reduced its group from six to two. The Basque Nationalist Party, falling from seven to four, "borrowed" senators from the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, Socialist Party to form their group; in exchange, they supported the election of socialist Javier Rojo as President of the Senate. The PNV group is again under threshold after returning the borrowed Socialists, and it faces dissolution after the current session. Legally, 133 seats are required for an absolute majority, vacant seats notwithstanding.


Elections to the Senate

To date, senate elections have coincided with elections to the lower house, but the President of the Government (i.e., the Prime Minister) may legally advise the king to call elections for one house only, under Section 115 of the
Spanish Constitution The Spanish Constitution (Spanish language, Spanish, Asturleonese language, Asturleonese, and gl, Constitución Española; eu, Espainiako Konstituzioa; ca, Constitució Espanyola; oc, Constitucion espanhòla) is the Democracy, democratic la ...
. While 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 ...
is chosen by party list proportional representation, the members of the senate are chosen in two distinct ways: popular election by limited voting and appointment from regional legislatures.


Directly elected members

Most members of the senate (currently 208 of 266) are directly elected by the people. Each
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...

province
elects four senators without regard to population. Insular provinces are treated specially. The larger islands of the Balearics (Baleares) and Canary Islands, Canaries (Canarias)—Mallorca (Senate constituency), Mallorca, Gran Canaria, and Tenerife—are assigned three seats each, and the smaller islands—Menorca (Senate constituency), Menorca, Ibiza-Formentera (Senate constituency), Ibiza–Formentera, Fuerteventura, Gomera, Hierro, Lanzarote and La Palma—one each;
Ceuta Ceuta (, , ; ber, Sebta, script=Latn; ar, سَبْتَة, Sabtah) is a 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 pl ...
and
Melilla Melilla ( , ; ; ber, Mrich / Mlilt; ar, مليلية ) is an autonomous city of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , nation ...
are assigned two seats each. This allocation is heavily weighted in favor of small provinces; Community of Madrid, Madrid, with its 6.5 million people, and Province of Soria, Soria, with 90,000 inhabitants, are each represented by four senators. In non-insular constituencies, each party nominates three candidates. Candidates' names are organized in columns by party on a large (DIN A3 or larger) ochre-colored ballot called a ''sábana'' or ''bedsheet''. Each voter may mark up to three candidates' names, from any party. This is the only occasion when Spanish voters vote for individuals rather than a party list. Panachage is allowed, but typically voters cast all three votes for candidates of a single party. As a result, the four Senators are usually the three candidates from the most popular party and the first placed candidate from the next most popular. Before 2011, a party could not choose the order of its candidates on the ballot paper; candidates were sorted alphabetically by Spanish and Portuguese names, surname. When a party did not get all three of its candidates elected, this arrangement favored candidates with surnames early in the alphabet. This was the case for 2nd placed parties in every province and for both parties in tight races when voters did not vote for three candidates of the same party (panachage).


Regional legislatures-appointed members

Section 69.5 of the
Spanish Constitution The Spanish Constitution (Spanish language, Spanish, Asturleonese language, Asturleonese, and gl, Constitución Española; eu, Espainiako Konstituzioa; ca, Constitució Espanyola; oc, Constitucion espanhòla) is the Democracy, democratic la ...
empowers the legislative assembly of each autonomous community of Spain to appoint a senate delegation from its own ranks, with one Senator per one million citizens, rounded up. Demographic growth increased the combined size of the regional delegations from 51 to 56 in 2008 for the 9th term. Convention (norm)#Government, Conventionally, the proportions of the regional delegations mimic their legislative assemblies, as required in principle by Section 69.5 of the Constitution. However, Autonomous Communities have considerable leeway, and a motion to appoint the delegation often requires no more than a Plurality (voting), plurality. Two anomalous examples are: *After the 2007 election, the single senator from the Balearic Islands was from neither the largest bloc (the People's Party, with 28 of 59 seats), nor the second-largest (the PSOE, with 16), but in fact from the fourth-largest bloc, the Socialist Party of Majorca, which held only four of 59 seats. This arrangement was part of a five-party coalition agreement. This anomaly was resolved in 2008, when the Balearic Islands gained a second senate seat which was filled by the PP. *Since 2003, the PSOE has ruled Aragon with support from regionalist parties. In the 2007 election, it won 30 of 67 seats. Nevertheless, Aragon's two appointed senators came from the opposition People's Party (23 seats) and the regionalist Aragonese Party (9 seats). Due to population growth, Andalusia, the Balearic and Canary Islands, Catalonia, and Madrid each gained a new senator in 2008. Andalusia was the last Autonomous Community to allocate its new seat; it rebuilt its entire delegation after its 2008 regional elections. The distribution after the 2015 election was:


Composition

The April 2019 Spanish general election, last election was held on 28 April 2019. The composition of the 13th Senate is:


Committees


Presidents of the Senate of Spain

This is a list of the presidents of the Senate since the recovery of the upper house in 1977. To see previous presidents, look the full List of Presidents of the Senate of Spain, list of presidents of the Senate.


Notes


References


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Senate Of Spain Senate of Spain, Government of Spain Cortes Generales National upper houses, Spain Politics of Spain