Nominally, a Statute of Autonomy (Spanish: Estatuto de Autonomía, Catalan: Estatut d'Autonomia, Galician: Estatuto de Autonomía, Asturian: Estatutu d' Autonomía, Basque: Autonomia Estatutua) is a law hierarchically located under the constitution of a country, and over any other form of legislation (including organic laws). This legislative corpus concedes autonomy (self-government) to a subnational unit, and the articles usually mimic the form of a constitution, establishing the organization of the autonomous government, the electoral rules, the distribution of competences between different levels of governance and other regional-specific provisions, like the protection of cultural or lingual realities.
In Spain, the process of devolution after the transition to democracy (1979) created 17 autonomous communities and 2 autonomous cities, each having its own Statute of Autonomy. On June 18, 2006, Catalonia approved in referendum a new but controversial Catalan Statute of Autonomy, enhancing the degree of autonomy of this Spanish territory. The original such statute was granted by the Spanish Republic in 1932.
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