Spanish government

Spain facts: Spanish government

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Facts about the government of Spain, and the Spanish government system.

Country name:
Conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain
Conventional short form: Spain
Local long form: Reino de España
Local short form: España

Government type: Parliamentary monarchy

Capital: Madrid
Geographic coordinates:  40 24 N, 3 41 W
Time zones: UTC plus 1 hour for Peninsular Spain and Ceuta and Melilla; UTC for the Canary Islands.
Daylight saving time: Plus 1hr (UTC plus 2 hrs. for Peninsular Spain and Ceuta and Melilla).   Plus 1 hr (UTC plus 1 hr. for the Canary Islands).  Begins the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday in October which is in alignment with all EU countries.

Administrative divisions:
17 autonomous communities (comunidades autonomas, singular - comunidad autonoma) and 2 autonomous cities* (ciudades autonomas, singular - ciudad autonoma);
Andalucia, Aragon, Asturias, Baleares (Balearic Islands), Ceuta*, Canarias (Canary Islands), Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Cataluna (Catalonia), Comunidad Valenciana (Valencian Community), Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Melilla*, Murcia, Navarra, Pais Vasco (Basque Country).
N.B. The autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla plus three small islands of Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera are administered directly by the Spanish central government and are collectively referred to as Places of Sovereignty (Plazas de Soberania).

Dependent areas: None.

Independence: In 1492 the Iberian Peninsula was characterised by a variety of independent kingdoms prior to the Muslim occupation that began in the early 8th century A.D. and lasted nearly seven centuries.  The small Christian redoubts of the north began the re-conquest almost immediately, culminating in the seizure of Granada in 1492.  This event completed the unification of several kingdoms and is traditionally considered the forging of present-day Spain.

National holiday: National Day, 12 October (1492); year when Columbus first set foot in the Americas.

Constitution: Approved by legislature 31 October 1978, passed by referendum 6 December 1978 and signed by the King on 27 December 1978.

Legal system: Civil law with regional variations.  Spanish law continues to be modified to conform with the legislative norms mandated by the European Union.

Executive branch:
Chief of state: King Juan Carlos I (since 22 November 1975); Heir Apparent Prince Felipe, son of the monarch, born 30 January 1968.
Head of government: President of the Government (Prime Minister equivalent) Mariano Rajoy (since 20 December 2011); Vice President (and Minister of the President's Office) Soraya Saenz de Santamaria (since 22 December 2011).
Cabinet: Council of Ministers designated by the President of the Government.
N.B. There is also a Council of State that is the supreme consultative organ of the government, but its recommendations are non-binding.

Elections: The monarchy is hereditary.  Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition usually becomes President of the Government and approved by the monarch and elected by the National Assembly.  The election was last held on 20 November 2011 with the next to be held in November 2015.  The vice president is appointed by the monarch on the proposal of the President of the Government.
Election results: Mariano Rajoy elected President of the Government; percent of National Assembly vote - N/A.

Legislative branch:
Bicameral; General Courts or Las Cortes Generales (National Assembly) consists of the Senate or Senado with 264 seats as of 2008 in which 208 members directly elected by popular vote and the other 56, as of 2008, appointed by the regional legislatures.  Members to serve four-year terms.
Congress of Deputies or Congreso de los Diputados with 350 seats.  Each of the 50 electoral provinces fills a minimum of two seats and the North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla fill one seat each with members serving a four-year term.  The other 248 members are determined by proportional representation based on popular vote on block lists who serve four-year terms.
Elections: Senate, last held on 20 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2015); Congress of Deputies - last held on 20 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2015)
Election results:
Percent of vote by party: N/A;
Seats by party: PP 136, PSOE 48, CiU 9, EAJ/PNV 4, Amaiur 3 and other 8.  Members appointed by regional legislatures 56;
Congress of Deputies:
Percent of vote by party: PP 44.6 percent, PSOE 28.8 percent, CiU 4.2 percent, IU 6.9 percent, Amaiur 1.4 percent, UPyD 4.7 percent, EAJ/PNV 2.4 percent and other 7.1 percent;
Seats by party: PP 186, PSOE 110, CiU 16, IU 11, Amaiur 7, UPyD 5, EAJ/PNV 5 and other 10.

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo).

Political parties and leaders:
Amaiur (collective leadership) is a coalition of parties advocating the peaceful Basque independence from Spain; Basque Nationalist Party or PNV or EAJ (Inigo Urkullu Renteria); Canarian Coalition or CC (Claudina Morales Rodriquez) (a coalition of five parties); Convergence and Union or CiU (Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida) (a coalition of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia or CDC (Artur Mas i Gavarro) and the Democratic Union of Catalonia or UDC (Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida)); Entesa Catalonia de Progress (a Senate coalition grouping four Catalan parties - PSC, ERC, ICV, EUA); Galician Nationalist Bloc or BNG (Guillerme Vazquez Vazquez); Initiative for Catalonia Greens or ICV (Joan Herra i Torres); Yes to the Future or Geroa Bai (collective leadership) (a coalition of four Navarran parties); Popular Party or PP (Mariano Rajoy Brey); Republican Left of Catalonia or ERC (Oril Junqueras i Vies); Spanish Socialist Workers Party or PSOE; Union of People of Navarra or UPN (Yolanda Barcina Angulo); Union, Progress and Democracy or UPyD (Rosa Diez Gonzalez); United Left or IU (Cayo Lara Moya) (a coalition of parties including the Communist Party of Spain or PCE and other small parties).

Flag description: Three horizontal bands of red (top), yellow (double width), and red with the national coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band. The coat of arms is quartered to display the emblems of the traditional kingdoms of Spain (clockwise from upper left, Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Aragon) while Granada is represented by the stylised pomegranate at the bottom of the shield.  The arms are framed by two columns representing the Pillars of Hercules, which are the two promontories (Gibraltar and Ceuta) on either side of the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar.  The red scroll across the two columns bears the imperial motto of "Plus Ultra" (further beyond) referring to Spanish lands beyond Europe.  The tri-band arrangement with the centre stripe twice the width of the outer, dates back to the 18th century.
N.B. The red and yellow colours are related to those of the oldest Spanish kingdoms: Aragon, Castile, Leon, and Navarre.

National anthem: Name: "Himno Nacional Español" (National Anthem of Spain)
N.B. Officially in use between 1770 and 1931 and restored in 1939; the Spanish anthem has no lyrics.  In the years prior to 1931 it became known as "Marcha Real" (The Royal March). It first appeared in a 1761 military bugle call book and was replaced by "Himno de Riego" in the years between 1931 and 1939.  The long version of the anthem is used for the King, while the short version is used for the prince, prime minister and occasions such as sporting events.


CIA World Factbook / Expatica


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