EMBAJADA DE ESPAŅA EN ESTADOS UNIDOS
- OFICINA DE INFORMACION -
THE SPANISH CONSTITUTION
The political parties are the expression of political pluralism, they contribute to the formation and expression of the will of the people and are a fundamental instrument for political participation. Their creation and the exercise of their activity are free in so far as they respect the Constitution and the law. Their internal structure and working must be democratic.
Spaniards legally come of age at eighteen.
1. Aliens shall enjoy the public freedoms guaranteed by the present Title, under the terms to be laid down by treaties and the law.
2. Only Spaniards shall be entitled to the rights recognized in Article 23, except in cases which may be established by treaty or by law concerning the right of active suffrage in municipal elections, in accordance with the principle of reciprocity.
3. Extradition shall be granted only in compliance with a treaty or with the law, on the basis of the principle of reciprocity. Extradition shall be excluded for political offences; but acts of terrorism shall not be regarded as such.
4. The law shall establish the terms under which citizens from other countries and stateless persons may enjoy the right of asylum in Spain.
1. Citizens have the right to participate in public affairs, directly or through their representatives freely elected in periodic elections by universal suffrage.
2. They likewise have the right to access on equal terms to public office, in accordance with the requirements to be provided by law.
It is incumbent upon the King:
a) to sanction and promulgate the laws;
b) to summon and dissolve the Cortes Generales and to call elections under the terms provided in the Constitution;
c) to call a referendum in the circumstances provided for in the Constitution;
d) to propose a candidate for President of the Government and, as the case may be, appoint him or remove him from office, as provided in the Constitution;
e) to appoint and dismiss members of the Government on the proposal of its President; to issue the decrees agreed upon by the Council of Ministers, to confer civil and military employments and award honours and distinctions in conformity with the law;
g) to keep himself informed regarding affairs of State and, for this purpose, to preside over the meetings of the Council of Ministers whenever he deems opportune, at the request of the President of the Government;
h) to exercise supreme command of the Armed Forces;
i) to exercise the right to grant pardons in accordance with the law, which may not authorize general pardons;
j) to exercise the High Patronage of the Royal Academies.
1. Congress consists of a minimum of three hundred and a maximum of four hundred deputies, elected by universal, free, equal, direct and secret suffrage, under the terms to be laid down by the law.
2. The electoral district is the province. The cities of Ceuta and Melilla shall each be represented by a Deputy. The total number of Deputies shall be distributed in accordance with the law, each electoral district being assigned a minimum initial representation and the remainder being distributed in proportion to the population.
3. The election in each electoral district shall be conducted on the basis of proportional representation.
4. Congress is elected for four years. The term of office of the Deputies ends four years after their election or on the day that the House is dissolved.
5. All Spaniards who are entitled to the full exercise of their political rights are electors and eligible for election.
The law shall recognize and the State shall facilitate the exercise of the right of suffrage of Spaniards who are outside Spanish territory.
6. Elections shall take place between thirty and sixty days after the end of the previous term of office. The Congress so elected must be convened within twenty-five days following the holding of elections.
1. The Senate is the House of territorial representation.
2. In each province, four Senators shall be elected by the voters thereof by universal, free, equal, direct and secret suffrage, under the terms to be laid down by an organic law.
3. In the island provinces, each island or group of islands with a "Cabildo" or Island Council shall constitute an electoral district for the purpose of electing Senators, of whom there shall be three for each of the larger islands -Gran Canaria, Mallorca and Tenerife- and one for each of the following islands or groups of islands: Ibiza-Formentera, Menorca, Fuerteventura, Gomera, Hierro, Lanzarote and La Palma.
4. The cities of Ceuta and Melilla shall each elect two Senators.
5. The Autonomous Communities shall, moreover, nominate one Senator and a further Senator for each million inhabitants in their respective territories The nomination shall be incumbent upon the Legislative Assembly or, in default thereof, upon the Autonomous Community's highest corporate body, in accordance with the provisions of the Statutes, which shall, in any case, guarantee adequate proportional representation.
6. The Senate is elected for four years. The Senators' term of office shall end four years after their election or on the day that the House is dissolved.
1. The electoral law shall establish grounds for ineligibility and disability for Deputies and Senators, which shall in any case include those who are:
a) members of the Constitutional Court;
b) the holders of high State Administrative offices, as may be laid down by law, with the exception of members of the Government;
c) the Defender of the People;
d) Magistrates, Judges and Public Prosecutors when in office;
e) professional soldiers and members of the Security and Police Forces and Corps on active service;
f) members of the Electoral Commissions.
2. The validity of the certificates of election and credentials of the members of both Houses shall be subject to judicial control, under the terms to be established in the electoral law.
1. The Government, the Congress and the Senate are competent to propose legislation, in accordance with the Constitution and the Standing Orders of the Houses.
2. The Assemblies of the Autonomous Communities may request the Government to pass a bill or refer a non-governmental bill to the Congressional Steering Committee and to delegate a maximum of three Assembly members to defend it.
3. An organic law shall establish the manner in which popular initiative in connection with the submitting of non-govermental bills shall be regulated, as well as the requirements therefor. In any case, no fewer than 500,000 authenticated signatures shall be required. This initiative may not touch on matters concerning organic laws, taxation, international affairs or the prerogative of granting pardons.
1. Political decisions of special importance may be submitted to all citizens in a consultative referendum.
2. The referendum shall be called by the King on the proposal of the President of the Government, following authorization by the Congress of Deputies.
3. An organic law shall regulate the terms and procedures for the different kinds of referendum provided for in this Constitution.
1. After renewal of the Congress of Deputies, and in other cases provided under the Constitution, the King, after consultation with the representatives appointed by the political groups with Parliamentary representation, and through the President of Congress, shall propose a candidate for President of the Government.
2. The candidate proposed in accordance with the provisions of the foregoing paragraph shall submit to the Congress of Deputies the political programme of the Government that he intends to form and shall seek the confidence of the Houses.
3. If the Congress of Deputies, by vote of the absolute majority of its members, invests said candidate with its confidence, the King shall appoint him President. If an absolute majority is not obtained, the same proposal shall be submitted for a fresh vote forty-eight hours after the previous vote, and it shall be considered that confidence has been secured if it passes by a simple majority.
4. If, after this voting, confidence for the investiture has not been obtained, successive proposals shall be voted upon in the manner provided. in the foregoing paragraphs.
5. If within two months after the first vote for investiture no candidate has obtained the confidence of Congress, the King shall dissolve Congress and call new elections, following endorsement by the President of Congress.
The Constitution guarantees the autonomy of the municipalities, which shall enjoy full legal personality. Their government and administration shall be incumbent on their respective Town Councils, consisting of Mayors and Councillors. The Councillors shall be elected by the residents of the municipalities by universal, equal, free and secret suffrage, in the manner laid down by the law. The Mayors shall be elected by the Councillors or by the residents. The law shall regulate the terms under which an open Council system shall be applicable.
1. The State holds exclusive jurisdiction over the following matters:
i) regulation of the basic conditions guaranteeing the equality of all Spaniards in the exercise of their rights and in the fulfilment of their constitutional duties;
ii) nationality, immigration, emigration, status of aliens, and right of asylum;
iii) international relations;
iv) defence and the Armed Forces;
v) Administration of justice;
vi) commercial, criminal and penitentiary legislation; procedural legislation, without prejudice to the necessary Special applications in these fields derived from the peculiar features of the substantive law of the Autonomous Communities;
vii) fabour legislation without prejudice to its execution by the agencies of the Autonomous Communities;
viii) civil legislation, without prejudice to the preservation, modification and development by the Autonomous Communities of their civil rights, "fueros" or special rights, whenever these exist; in any event the enactments relative to the application and effectiveness of legal provisions, legal-civil relations arising from the forms of marriage, the keeping of records and drawing up of public instruments, bases of contractual obligations, rules for resolving conflicts of law and determination of the sources of law in conformity, in this last case, with the rules of the "fueros" or with those of special laws.
ix) legislation on intellectual and industrial property;
x) customs and tariff regulations; foreign trade;
xi) monetary system: foreign currency, exchange and convertibility; bases for the regulations concerning credit, banking and insurance;
xii) legislation on weights and measures, determination of the official time;
xiii) bases and co-ordination of general planning of economic activity;
xiv) General Finances and the State Debt;
xv) promotion and general co-ordination of scientific and technical research;
xvi) external health measures; bases and general co-ordination of health matters; legislation on pharmaceutical products;
xvii) basic legislation and financial system of the Social Security, without prejudice to the implementation of its services by the Antonomous Communities;
xviii) the bases of the legal system of Public Administrations and the statutes of their public officials which shall, in any case, guarantee that all persons under said administration will receive equal treatment; the common administrative procedure, without prejudice to the special features of the Autonomous Communities' own organizations; legislation on compulsory expropriation; basic legislation on contracts and administrative concessions and the system of liability of all Public Administrations;
xix) sea fishing, without prejudice to the powers which, in the regulations governing this sector, shall be conferred on the Autonomous Communities;
xx) the Merchant Navy and the registering of ships; lighting of coasts and signals at sea; general purpose ports; general-purpose airports; control of the air space, air traffic and transport; meteorological services and registration of aircraft;
xxi) railways and land transport passing through the territory of more than one Autonomous Community; general system of communications; motor vehicle traffic; Post Office services and telecommunications; air and underwater cables and radiocommunications;
xxii) legislation, regulation and concession of hydraulic resources and development when the waters flow through more than one Autonomous Community, and authorization for hydro-electrical installations when their development affects another Community or when energy transport leaves its territorial area;
xxiii) basic legislation on environmental protection, without prejudice to the powers of the Autonomous Communities to establish additional protective measures; basic legislation on woodlands, forestry, and cattle trails;
xxiv) public works of general benefit or whose execution affects more than one Autonomous Community;
xxv) bases of the organization of mining and energy;
xxvi) system of production, sale, possession and use of arms and explosives;
xxvii) basic rules relating to the organization of the press, radio and television and, in general, all the means of social communication, without prejudice to the powers vested in the Autonomous Communities relative to their development and implementation;
xxviii) protection of Spain's cultural and artistic heritage and national monuments against exportation and despoliation; museums, libraries and archives belonging to the State, without prejudice to their management by the Autonomous Communities;
xxix) public safety, without prejudice to the possibility of the creation of police forces by the Autonomous Communities, in the manner to be laid down in their respective Statutes and within the framework to be established by an organic law;
xxx) regulation of the conditions relative to the obtaining, issuing and standardization of academic degrees and professional qualifications and basic rules for the development of Article 27 of the Constitution, in order to guarantee the fulfillment of the obligations of the public authorities in this matter;
xxxi) statistics for State purposes;
xxxii) authorization for popular consultations through the holding of referendums.
2. Without prejudice to the jurisdiction which may be assumed by the Autonomous Communities, the State shall consider the promotion of culture a duty and an essential function and shall facilitate i cultural communication between the Autonomous Communities, in collaboration with them.
3. Matters not expressly assigned to the State by virtue of the present Constitution may fall under the jurisdiction of the Autonomous Communities by virtue of their respective Statutes. Matters for which jurisdiction has not been assumed by the Statutes of Autonomy shall fall within the jurisdiction of the State, whose laws shall prevail, in case of conflict, over those of the Autonomous Communities regarding all matters over which exclusive jurisdiction has not been conferred upon the latter. State law shall, in all cases, be supplementary to that of the Autonomous Communities.
1. It shall not be necessary to wait for the five-year period referred to in clause 2 of Article 148 to elapse when the initiative for attaining self-government is agreed upon within the time limit specified in Article 143, clause 2, not only by the corresponding Provincial Councils or inter-island bodies but also by three-quarters of the Municipalities of each province concerned, representing at least the majority of the electorate of each one, and said initiative is ratified in a referendum by the absolute majority of the electors in each province, under the terms to be laid down by an organic law.
2. In the case provided for in the foregoing clause, the procedure for drafting the Statute shall be as follows:
i) The Government shall summon all the Deputies and Senators elected in the electoral districts within the territorial area seeking self-government in order that they may-resolve themselves into an Assembly for the sole purpose of drawing up the corresponding draft Statute for Autonomy, to be passed by the absolute majority of its members.
ii) Once the draft Statute has been passed by the Parliamentary Assembly, it shall be remitted to the Constitutional Committee of Congress which shall examine it within the space of two months with the co-operation and assistance of a delegation from the Assembly which has proposed it, in order to decide in common agreement upon its final form.
iii) If such an agreement is reached, the resulting text shall be submitted in a referendum to the electorate of the provinces within the territorial area to be covered by the proposed Statute.
iv) If the draft Statute is approved in each procedure referred to in the foregoing article, the province by the majority of validly cast votes, it shall be referred to the Cortes Generales. Both Houses, in plenary assembly, shall decide upon the text by means of a vote of ratification. Once the Statute been passed, the King shall - give it his assent and shall promulgate it as a law.
v) If the agreement referred to in sub-clause ii) of this clause is not reached, the legislative process for the draft Statute in the Cortes Generales shall be the same as that for a bill. The text passed by the latter shall be submitted in a referendum to. the electorate of the provinces within the territorial area to be covered by the draft Statute. In the event that it is passed by the majority of the validly cast votes in each province, it shall be promulgated in the manner outlined in the foregoing sub-clause.
3. In the cases described in sub-clauses iv) and v) of the foregoing clause, failure to pass the draft Statute by one or several of the provinces shall not prevent the constitution of the remaining provinces into an Autonomous Community in the manner to be prescribed by the organic law envisaged in clause 1 of this article.
1. In the case of Statutes passed by means of the procedure referred to in the foregoing article, the institutional Autonomous organization shall be based on a Legislative Assembly elected by universal suffrage in accordance with a system of proportional representation which shall assure, moreover, the representation of the various areas of the territory; a Governing Council with executive and administrative functions and a President elected by the Assembly from among its members and appointed by the King. The President shall be responsible for, directing the Governing Council, which Constitutes the supreme representation of the respective Community as well as the State's ordinary representation in the latter. The President and the members of the Governing Council shall be politically accountable to the Assembly.
A High Court of justice, without prejudice to the jurisdiction exercised by the Supreme Court, shall head the judiciary within the territorial area of the Autonomous Community. The Statutes of the Autonomous Communities shall establish the circumstances and manner in which they will participate in the organization of the judicial demarcations of the territory, all of which must be in conformity with the provisions of the organic law on judicial power and compatible with its unity and independence.
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 123, successive proceedings, if any, shall be held before judicial bodies located in the same territory of the Autonomous Community as that in which the competent Court of the First Instance is located.
2. Once the respective Statutes have been sanctioned and promulgated, they may only be amended by means of the procedures established therein and through a referendum of the electors registered in the corresponding electoral rolls.
3. By grouping the bordering municipalities together, the Statutes may set up their own territorial electoral districts, which will enjoy full legal personality.
1. Bills on Constitutional amendment must be approved by a majority of three-fifths of the members of each House. If there is no agreement between the Houses, an effort to reach it shall be made by setting up a joint Commission of Deputies and Senators which shall submit a text to be voted on by the Congress and the Senate.
2. If approval is not obtained by means of the procedure outlined in the foregoing clause, and provided that the text has been passed by an absolute majority of the members of the Senate, Congress may pass the amendment by a two-thirds vote in favour.
3. Once the amendment has been passed by the Cortes Generales, it shall be submitted to ratification by referendum, if so requested by one tenth of the members, of either House within fifteen days after its passage.
1. If a total revision of the Constitution is proposed, or a partial revision thereof, affecting the Preliminary Title, Chapter Two, Section 1 of Title 1, or Title 11, the principle shall be approved by a two-thirds majority of the members of each House, and the Cortes shall immediately be dissolved.
2. The Houses elected must ratify the decision and proceed to examine the new Constitutional text, which must be approved by a. two-thirds majority of the members of both Houses.
3. Once the amendment has been passed by the Cortes Generales, it shall be submitted to ratification by referendum,