Spanish Politics

Parliamentary democracy was implemented (restored, in fact) in Spain following the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975. Franco had ruled as dictator since 1939 (the end of the Spanish Civil War), his death sparked major political reformation: the greatest change in Spanish politics came in 1978 when a new constitution was created, establishing Spain as a parliamentary monarchy.

Spanish Parliament

The Spanish parliament is called Las Cortes Generales and is a bicameral parliament consisting of the Congress of Deputies (El Congreso de Diputados), the Upper and Lower Houses (La Cámara Alta and La Cámara Baja respectively) and the Senate (El Senado). Government and members of the Spanish parliament are chosen by general elections held every four years. The Spanish Prime Minister (el Presidente del Gobierno) responsible to the Cortes is elected by Spanish parliament.

Spanish Local government

The 1978 constitution led to the creation of autonomous regions. By 1985, 17 nationalities and regions covering all of peninsular Spain, the Canary Islands, and the Balearic Islands had negotiated territorial constitutions with the central government. In 1979, the first autonomous elections were held in the Basque Country and Catalonia, which have the strongest local traditions by virtue of their history and separate languages. Since then, autonomous governments have been created in the remainder of the 17 nationalities and regions.
Politics in Spain

Politics in Spain is largely contested by two main parties: the PSOE (el Partido Socialista de Obreros Españoles) and the PP (el Partido Popular), however any regional parties are becoming increasingly influential.

The PSOE is centre-left and the PP, centre-right. Historically the ideologies of the two parties were more extreme and so further away from eachother on the political continuum. Nowadays there is not a great deal of light between the two.

Regional parties like the PNV (el Partido Nacionalista Vasco) in the Basque Country and CiU (Convergencia i Unió) in Catalonia have a significant influence on Spanish politics.