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Spain Index
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Constitutional Background

The monarchy was re-established in Spain after the death of the General Franco in 1975. King Juan Carlos I directed the transition of the dictatorial franquist regime towards democracy. This transition was expressed in the elaboration the 1978 Constitution based on changes of the fundamental franquist Laws. The Constitution of 1978 allowed to develop a democratic, social, and regional state, whose only challenge was the intended military coup, hindered by the King in 1981.

The last constitutional amendment (27 Aug 1992) only added to Art. 13 (2) the right of EU-citizens to be elected during municipal elections.

History and News

  • Jan 2000: President José María Aznar calls a new general election to the national Parliament (Congress and Senate) for the 12 March 2000.
  • 1999: Amendment to the organic Act of the constitutional court regulates a new procedure to solve the constitutional conflicts between the municipalities and the State or the Autonomous Communities.
  • 1999: Act of solidarity with the victims of terrorism and a new Organic Act about the rights and liberties of foreign citizens are enacted. 
  • 1999: Amsterdam Treaty of 1997 modifying the European Union Treaty is ratified by the spanish government after parliamentary authorisation.
  • July 1999: Constitutional Court reverses the opinion of the highest court of november 1997, whereby the directive comitee of the basque nationalist party, Herri Batasuna, was imprisioned for collaborating with the terrorist Band ETA, and reestablishes the members of this comitee to their full constitutional rights.
  • 1999: In the elections to the European Parliament, the conservative party (PP) reached 27, meanwhile the socialist party (PSOE) 24 seats of the total 64. In the elections to the parliaments in 13 of 19 Autonomous Communities the conservative party won in 9, the socialist in 3 and the Cannary Island's nationalist party in the last one. This electoral victory of the conservative party was repeated in the elections to the municipal councils.
  • Nov 1998: The spanish judge Baltasar Garzî"n requires the British Government to extraditate the chilean General Augusto Pinochet. In March1999 the House of Lords authorizes the extradition, but it cannot be fulfilled due to the bad health of the general, according to the medical examination of three doctors designated by the British Government. 
  • Oct 1998 to Dec 1999: The basque terrorist organisation, ETA, declares unilaterally a ceasefire, but broke unilaterally breaks it at the end of 1999.
  • Nov 1997: The Spanish Parliament approves the "Government's Act" rugulating composition of the Cabinet and the respective competences of its members.
  • May 1997: The organic act 1/1997 changes the organic electoral act to adapt Spanish electoral rules for municipal elections to the EU Directive 94/80/CE (municipal elections within the EU).
  • 4 May 1996: Jose Maria Aznar is invested as Prime Minister. His government coalition encompasses regional groupings (Catalan National Party CIU, Basque Nationalist Pary PNV, Canary Islands Party CC) which, however, did not accept ministries. 
  • 3 March 1996: The conservative People's Party (PP) of Jose Maria Aznar wins parliamentary elections with a relative majority in the House of Representatives and an absolute majority in the Senate. 
  • 1996: José Barrionuevo, former minister of the Interior, is impeached for his alleged implication in the activities of the GAL. 
  • Aug 1995: The Supreme Court starts examination of Socialist Government Member's involvement in the GAL-Scandal (a terrorist band destined to combat the ETA's terrorism). 
  • May 1995: The Jury's Organic Act 5/1995 establishes for some criminal matters a Jury trial, according to Art. 125 of the Spanish Constitution.
  • 1995: The new criminal code is approved, conforming to the new constitution and therefore named "Penal Code of the Democracy". 
  • 1995: The PP is due on the municipal and autonomous elections. 
  • 1994: The People's Party (PP) wins the elections to the European Parliament, thereby obtaining its first electoral victory. 
  • 1993: The PSOE is due on the parliamentary premature elections. 
  • 1991: Alfonso Guerra, Vice-president of the Government, resigns because of a scandal involving his businessman brother. 
  • 1989: New socialist victory in parliamentary elections. 
  • 1986: Spain becomes member of the EEC. Permanent membership within NATO was decided by referendum. The PSOE obtains, again, the absolute majority in parliamentary elections. 
  • 28 Oct 1982: Parliamentary elections with victory, for absolute majority, of the Socialist Worker's Party (PSOE). Felipe González becomes Prime Minister. 
  • 1982: Spain becomes member of the NATO
  • 23 Feb 1981: Adolfo Suárez resigns from Government. An intended military coup is hindered by the King Juan Carlos. Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo is named new Prime Minister. 
  • 1979: Parliamentary election with victory of UCD. First municipal democratic elections. 
  • 1978: Adoption of the Spanish Constitution. 
  • 1977: Legalization of the Communist Party. Parliamentary elections with victory of Union of Democratic Center (UCD).
  • 1976: Adolfo Suárez is named Prime Minister by the King. The Law for the Political Reformation is approved.
  • 1975: Death of General Franco. King Juan Carlos becomes Head of State.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - December 16th, 2010 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.