Politics of Spain
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Politics of Spain
Politics of SpainBenedict (Viktor) Gombocz
Geography of Spain Location: Southern Europe, bordering theMediterranean Sea, North AtlanticOcean, Bay of Biscay, and PyreneesMountains, between Portugal and France Area◦ Total: 505,370 sq km◦ Country comparison to the world: 52◦ Land: 498,980 sq km◦ Water: 6,390 sq km (note: there are two self-governing cities – Ceuta and Melilla – and 17 self-governing communities, including the BalearicIslands and Canary Islands, and three smallSpanish islands off Morocco’s coast – IslasChafarinas, Peñón de Alhucemas, and Peñón deVélez de la Gomera Area – comparative: Slightly more than twicethe size of Oregon Land boundaries:◦ Total: 1,917.8 km◦ Border countries: Andorra 63.7 km, France 623km, Gibraltar 1.2 km, Portugal 1,214 km, Morocco(Ceuta) 6.3 km, Morocco (Melilla) 9.6 km Coastline: 4,964 km
Physical Map of Spain
Religion in Spain Roman Catholicism is by a long way the dominatebranch of Christianity present in Spain. According to a February 2013 study conducted bythe Spanish Center of SociologicalResearch, approximately 70.5% of Spaniardsidentify themselves as Roman Catholics, 3.1%other faith, and almost 24.1% non-religious. Most Spaniards do not partake in religiousservices on a regular basis; the same studyshows that of those Spaniards who self-identify asreligious, 56% attends mass a few times peryear, 15% go to mass many times per year, 9%some time every month, and 16% every Sundayor numerous times every week. Even though a majority of Spaniards are RomanCatholics, most, in particular the youngergeneration, overlook the Church’s conventionalethical principles, including pre-marital sex, sexualorientation, or contraception. The total number of parish priests hasdiminished from 24,300 in 1975 to 19,307 in2005; the number of Nuns likewise declined6.9% between 2000-2005.
Religion statistics Roman Catholic 94% Other 6%
Overview of Spain’s politicalsystem The politics of Spain functions under the frameworkestablished by the 1978 constitution. Spain is a social and democratic state, with the nationalsovereignty is vested in the people, from which theState’s powers come. Spain’s form of government is a parliamentarymonarchy, i.e., a social representative, democraticconstitutional monarchy where the head of state is themonarch and the PM – whose official title is “Presidentof the Government” – is the head of government. The government, which includes the PM, the deputyPMs, and other ministers (which jointly make up theCabinet, or Council of Ministers), exercises executivepower. Legislative power is vested in the Cortes Generales(General Courts), a bicameral parliament representedby the Congress of Deputies and the Senate. The judiciary, independent of both the executive and thelegislature, directs justice on the King’s behalf by judgesand magistrates. The most supreme court in Spain is the Supreme Courtof Spain, with control in all Spanish territories; it is higherthan all in all affairs, excluding constitutionalissues, which are the authority of a separate court, theConstitutional Court of Spain.
Overview of Spain’s political system– cont. The political structure of Spain is a multi-party structure, although two parties, since the1990s, have been predominant in politics: the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) andthe People’s Party (PP). Regional parties, chiefly the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV-PNB) from the BasqueCountry, and Convergence and Union (CiU) and the Socialists’ Party of Catalonia (PSC) fromCatalonia, have likewise played large roles in Spanish politics. Members of the Congress of Deputies are chosen through proportional representation; thegovernment is formed through the party or coalition that has the Congress’ trust, generally theparty with the biggest number of seats. Since the Spanish transition to democracy, there has not been a coalition government;consequently, a party’s failure to win an absolute majority results in minority governments. Regional government functions under a system called the state of autonomies, a highlydecentralized structure of administration modeled off asymmetrical devolution to the“nationalities and regions” that make up the nation, and in which the nation, by way of thecentral government, maintains complete sovereignty. The “nationalities and regions”, exercising the freedom to autonomy permitted by theconstitution, have been created as 17 self-governing communities and two self-governingcities. The form of government of every self-governing community and self-governing city isadditionally modeled off a parliamentary structure, with the executive authority vested on a“president” and a Council of Ministers elected by and liable to a unicameral legislativeassembly.
Government of Spain Capital (and largest city): Madrid Official language(s): Spanish◦ Recognised regional languages:Basque, Catalan, Galician, Occitan◦ Partially recognised languages:Aragonese, Asturian, Leonese Demonym: Spanish, Spaniard Government: Unitary parliamentaryconstitutional monarchy King: Juan Carlos I Prime Minister: Mariano Rajoy Deputy Prime Minister: Soraya Sáenzde Santamaría Legislature: General Courts Upper house: Senate Lower house: Congress of Deputies
Political parties in the Congress ofDeputies People’s Party (Partido Popular, PP) Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (Partido SocialistaObrero Español, PSOE) United Left (Izquierda Unida, IU) Union, Progress and Democracy (Unión Progreso yDemocracia, UPyD) Convergence and Union (Convergència i Unió, CiU) Amaiur (Amaiur) Basque Nationalist Party – PNV (Euzko AlderdiJeltzalea; Partido Nacionalista Vasco; Parti NationalBasque) Republican Left of Catalonia (Esquerra Republicana deCatalunya, ERC) Galician Nationalist Bloc (Bloque NacionalistaGalego, BNG) Canarian Coalition (Coalición Canaria, CC) Initiative for Catalonia Greens (Iniciativa per CatalunyaVerds, ICV) Commitment Coalition (Coalición Canaria) Asturian Forum (Foro Austurias, FAC) Yes to the Future (Gerora Bai, GBai) Navarrese People’s Union (Unión del PuebloNavarro, UPN) Aragonese Union (Chunta Aragonesista, CHA)
Juan Carlos I Born in Rome on 5 January 1938. Current King of Spain, since 22 November 1975. Was named by General Francisco Franco as the nexthead of state, in 1969; became King on 22 November1975, two days after Franco died, making him the firstreigning monarch since 1931. Introduced changes, subsequent to being crowned, todismantle the Franco régime and begin Spain’stransition to democracy; this led to the ratification of the1978 Spanish Constitution in a referendum, establishinga constitutional monarchy. Additionally played a large role in stopping the coupattempt of 1981. The monarch, as said by the Spanish Constitution, isthe head-of-state and commander-in-chief of theSpanish Armed Forces and additionally plays a role inadvancing Ibero-Americans, the “nations of its historicalcommunity”. In this position, the King of Spain serves as thepresident of the Ibero-American StatesOrganization, representing over 700,000,000 people in24 member countries around the world. Was in 2008 regarded the most admired leader in allIbero-America, even though he and the Crown ofSpain, according to recent polls, are not favourablyviewed by Spaniards.
Mariano Rajoy Born in Santiago de Compostela on 27March 1955. Current PM of Spain; assumed office on21 December 2011, following his election. Leader of the People’s Party since 11March 2004. Served as Minister of PublicAdministration from 1996-1999 andMinister of Education from 1999-2000under PM José María Aznar;subsequently served as Deputy PM from2000-2003. Led the People’s Party into the March2004 general election, although theopposition Spanish Socialist Workers’Party (PSOE) won that election after the2004 Madrid train bombings. Was Leader of the Opposition from 2004-2011.
Soraya Sáenz deSantamaría Born in Valladolid on10 June 1971. Current Deputy PM of Spain andMinister of the Presidency; wassworn into both offices on 22December 2011. Was the executive secretary of thePeople’s Party’s domesticpolicy, and a representative forMadrid, in the VIII legislature ofSpain (2004-2008). Was nominated by Mariano Rajoyas spokesperson for the People’sGroup in the Congress of Deputiesin the IX legislature; replacedEduardo Zaplana.
People’s Party Conservative political party in Spain. Was founded in 1989 as a re-establishment of thePeople’s Alliance (Spanish: Alianza Popular, AP), aparty founded and led by Manuel Fraga Iribarne, an ex-Minister of the Interior and Minister of Tourism underFrancisco Franco’s fascist dictatorship; the new partymerged the conservative AP with several smallChristian democratic and liberal parties (the party refersto this fusion of views Reformist centre). Manuel Fraga was given the honorary title of “FoundingChairman” in 2002. Was the leading opposition party, with 153/350delegates, in the Congress of Deputies until November2011; it was also the biggest party represented in theSenate, with 101/208 senators. Its youth organization is New Generations of thePeople’s Party of Spain (NNGG). Won a majority in the November 2011 elections with186 seats in the Deputies. Member of the right of centre European People’s Party(EPP, European affiliation); its 23 MEPs sit in the EPPGroup in the EP. Also a member of the Centrist Democrat Internationaland the International Democrat Union (bothinternational affiliation).
Spanish Socialist Workers’Party Social-democratic political party in Spain; itspolitical position is left of centre. Formerly Spain’s governing party, until itsdefeat in the November 2011 elections and thesecond oldest, only younger than the PartidoCarlista, founded in 1833. Has had close ties with the General Union ofWorkers (UGT), a Spanish trade union, andthe membership of which was a necessity formembership in the PSOE. However, in the 1980s, UGT criticized thePSOE’s economic policies; called for a generalstrike on 14 December 1988. Was recently defeated in the general electionsheld on 20 November 2011. Full member of the Party of EuropeanSocialists (European affiliation) and SocialistInternational (International affiliation). The PSOE’s 21 MEPs sit in the Socialists andDemocrats European parliamentary group inthe EP.
The End (El fin)