Source of constitutional authority, Preamble, Motives for writing constitution
The Spanish Nation, desiring to establish justice, liberty, and security, and to promote the wellbeing of all its members, in the exercise of its sovereignty, proclaims its will to:
Guarantee democratic coexistence within the Constitution and the laws, in accordance with a fair economic and social order.
Consolidate a State of Law which ensures the rule of law as the expression of the popular will.
Protect all Spaniards and peoples of Spain in the exercise of human rights, of their culture and traditions, languages and institutions.
Promote the progress of culture and of the economy to ensure a dignified quality of life for all.
Establish an advanced democratic society, and
Cooperate in the strengthening of peaceful relations and effective cooperation among all the peoples of the earth.
Therefore, the Cortes pass and the Spanish people ratifies the following.
- Spain is hereby established as a social and democratic State, subject to the rule of law, which advocates freedom, justice, equality and political pluralism as highest values of its legal system.
- National sovereignty belongs to the Spanish people, from whom all state powers emanate.
Type of government envisioned
The political form of the Spanish State is the Parliamentary Monarchy.
Reference to fraternity/solidarity
The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards; it recognizes and guarantees the right to selfgovernment of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed and the solidarity among them all.
Official or national languages
Castilian is the official Spanish language of the State. All Spaniards have the duty to know it and the right to use it.
Official or national languages
The other Spanish languages shall also be official in the respective Self-governing Communities in accordance with their Statutes.
Protection of language use
The richness of the different linguistic modalities of Spain is a cultural heritage which shall be specially respected and protected.
- The flag of Spain consists of three horizontal stripes: red, yellow and red, the yellow strip being twice as wide as each red stripe.
- The Statutes may recognize flags and ensigns of the Self-governing Communities. These shall be used together with the flag of Spain on their public buildings and in their official ceremonies.
The capital of the State is the city of Madrid.
Right to form political parties, Restrictions on political parties
Political parties are the expression of political pluralism, they contribute to the formation and expression of the will of the people and are an essential instrument for political participation. Their creation and the exercise of their activities are free in so far as they respect the Constitution and the law. Their internal structure and their functioning must be democratic.
Right to join trade unions
Trade unions and employers associations contribute to the defence and promotion of the economic and social interests which they represent. Their creation and the exercise of their activities shall be free in so far as they respect the Constitution and the law. Their internal structure and their functioning must be democratic.
- The mission of the Armed Forces, comprising the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, is to guarantee the sovereignty and independence of Spain and to defend its territorial integrity and the constitutional order.
- The basic structure of military organization shall be regulated by an Organic Act in accordance with the principles of the present Constitution.
Duty to obey the constitution
Citizens and public authorities are bound by the Constitution and all other legal previsions.
General guarantee of equality
It is the responsibility of the public authorities to promote conditions ensuring that freedom and equality of individuals and of the groups to which they belong are real and effective, to remove the obstacles preventing or hindering their full enjoyment, and to facilitate the participation of all citizens in political, economic, cultural and social life.
- The Constitution guarantees the principle of legality, the hierarchy of legal provisions, the publicity of legal statutes, the non-retroactivity of punitive provisions that are not favourable to or restrictive of individual rights, the certainty that the rule of law shall prevail, the accountability of public authorities, and the prohibition of arbitrary action of public authorities.
PART IV. Government and Administration
Establishment of cabinet/ministers, Powers of cabinet
The Government shall conduct domestic and foreign policy, civil and military administration and the defence of the State. It exercises executive authority and the power of statutory regulations in accordance with the Constitution and the laws.
Establishment of cabinet/ministers, Name/structure of executive(s), Deputy executive
The Government shall consist of the President, Vice-Presidents, when appropriate, Ministers and other members as may be created by law.
Head of government powers
The President shall direct the Governments' action and coordinate the functions of the other members thereof, without prejudice to the competence and direct responsibility of the latter in the discharge of their duties.
- Members of the Government may not perform representative functions other than those derived from their parliamentary mandate, nor any other public function not deriving from their office, nor engage in any professional or commercial activity whatsoever.
- The status and incompatibilities of members of the Government shall be laid down by law.
Head of government selection
Head of government term length
After each renewal of the Congress and in the other cases provided for under the Constitution, the King shall, after consultation with the representatives appointed by the political groups with parliamentary representation, and through the Speaker of the Congress, nominate a candidate for the Presidency of the Government.
- The candidate nominated in accordance with the provisions of the foregoing subsection shall submit to the Congress the political programme of the Government he or she intends to form and shall seek the confidence of the House.
- If the Congress, by vote of the overall majority of its members, grants to said candidate its confidence, the King shall appoint him or her President. If overall majority is not obtained, the same proposal shall be submitted for a fresh vote forty-eight hours after the previous vote, and confidence shall be deemed to have been secured if granted by single majority.
- If, after this vote, confidence for the investiture has not been obtained, successive proposals shall be voted upon in the manner provided for in the foregoing paragraphs.
Dismissal of the legislature
If within two months of the first vote for investiture no candidate has obtained the confidence of the Congress, the King shall dissolve both Houses and call for new elections, with the countersignature of the Speaker of the Congress.
The other members of the Government shall be appointed and dismissed by the King at the President's proposal.
The Government shall resign after the holding of general elections, in the event of loss of parliamentary confidence as provided in the Constitution, or on the resignation or death of the President.
- The outgoing Government shall continue as acting body until the new Government takes office.
- The President and other members of the Government shall be held criminally liable, should the occasion arise, before the Criminal Section of the Supreme Court.
Head of government immunity
If the charge were treason or any offence against the security of the State committed in the discharge of office, it may only be brought against them on the initiative of one quarter of Members of Congress and with the approval of the overall majority thereof.
- The Royal prerogative of pardon shall not apply any of the cases provided for under the present section.
- The Public Administration shall serve the general interest in a spirit of objectivity and shall act in accordance with the principles of efficiency, hierarchy, decentralization, deconcentration and coordination, and in full subordination to the law.
- The organs of State Administration are set up, directed and coordinated in accordance with the law.
Civil service recruitment
The law shall lay down the status of civil servants, the entry into the civil service in accordance with the principles of merit and ability, the special features of the exercise of their right to union membership, the system of incompatibilities and the guarantees regarding impartiality in the discharge of their duties.
- The Security Forces and Corps serving under the Government shall have the duty to protect the free exercise of rights and freedoms and to guarantee the safety of citizens.
- An organic act shall specify the duties, basic principles of action and statutes of the Security Forces and Corps.
The law shall make provision for:
- The hearing of citizens, directly, or through the organizations and associations recognized by the law, in the process of drawing up the administrative provisions which affect them.
Right to information
The access of citizens to administrative files and records, except to the extent that they may concern the security and defence of the State, the investigation of crimes and the privacy of persons.
- The procedures for the taking of administrative action, with due safeguards for the hearing of interested parties when appropriate.
- The Courts shall check the power to issue regulations and ensure that the rule of law prevails in administrative action, and that the latter is subordinated to the ends which justify it.
- Private individuals shall, under the terms laid down by law, be entitled to compensation for any harm they may suffer in any of their property and rights, except in cases of force majeure, whenever such harm is the result of the operation of public services.
Advisory bodies to the head of state
The Council of State is the supreme consultative body of the Government. An organic act shall make provision for its membership and its terms of reference.
PART V. Relations between the Government and the Cortes Generales
Cabinet removal, Legislative oversight of the executive
The Government is jointly accountable before the Congress for its conduct of political business.
Legislative oversight of the executive
The Houses and their Committees may, through their respective Speaker, request any kind of information and help they may need from the Government and Government Departments and from any authorities of the State and Selfgoverning Communities.
Legislative oversight of the executive
The Houses and their Committees may summon members of the Government.
- Members of the Government are entitled to attend meetings of the Houses and their Committees and to be heard in them and may request that officials from their Departments are allowed to report to them.
Legislative oversight of the executive
The Government and each of its members are subject to interpellations and questions put to them in the Houses. The Standing Orders shall set aside a minimum weekly time for this type of debate.
- Any interpellation may give rise to a motion in which the House states its position.
The President of the Government, after deliberation by the Council of Ministers, may ask the Congress for a vote of confidence in favour of his or her programme or of a general policy statement. Confidence shall be deemed to have been obtained when a single majority of the Members of Congress vote in favour.
Head of government removal, Cabinet removal
- The Congress may require political responsibility from the Government by adopting a motion of censure by overall majority of its Members.
- The motion of censure must be proposed by at least one tenth of the Members of Congress and shall include a candidate for the office of the Presidency of the Government.
- The motion of censure may not be voted until five days after it has been submitted. During the first two days of this period, alternative motions may be submitted.
Limits on removing head of government
If the motion of censure is not adopted by the Congress, its signatories may not submit another during the same period of sessions.
Head of government removal, Cabinet removal
If the Congress withholds its confidence from the Government, the latter shall submit its resignation to the King, whereafter the President of the Government shall be nominated in accordance with the provisions of section 99.
Head of government replacement
If the Congress adopts a motion of censure, the Government shall submit its resignation to the King, and the candidate proposed in the motion of censure shall be deemed to have the confidence of the House for the purposes provided in section 99. The King shall appoint him or her President of the Government.
Dismissal of the legislature
The President of the Government, after deliberation by the Council of Ministers, and under his or her sole responsibility, may propose the dissolution of the Congress, the Senate or the Cortes Generales, which shall be proclaimed by the King. The decree of dissolution shall set a date for the elections.
- The proposal for dissolution may not be submitted while a motion of censure is pending.
- There shall be no further dissolution until a year has elapsed since the previous one, except as provided for in section 99, subsection 5.
- An organic act shall make provision for the states of alarm, emergency and siege (martial law) and the powers and restrictions attached to each of them.
- A state of alarm shall be proclaimed by the Government, by means of a decree agreed in Council of Ministers, for a maximum period of fifteen days. The Congress shall be informed and must meet immediately, and without its authorization the said period may not be extended. The decree shall specify the territory to which the effects of the proclamation apply.
- A state of emergency shall be proclaimed by the Government by decree agreed in Council of Ministers, after prior authorization by the Congress. The authorization for and proclamation of a state of emergency must specifically state the effects thereof, the territory to which it is to apply and its duration, which may not exceed thirty days, subject to extension for a further thirty-day period, with the same requirements.
- A state of siege (martial law) shall be proclaimed by overall majority of Congress solely on the Government's proposal. Congress shall determine its territorial extension, duration and terms.
- The Congress may not be dissolved while any of the states referred to in the present section remains in force, and if the Houses are not in session, they shall be automatically convened. Their functioning, as well as that of the other constitutional State authorities, may not be interrupted while any of these states is in force.
If, in the event that the Congress has been dissolved or its term has expired, a situation giving rise to any of these states should occur, the powers of the Congress shall be assumed by its Permanent Deputation.
- Proclamation of states of alarm, emergency and siege shall not affect the principle of liability of the Government or its agents as recognized in the Constitution and the laws.
PART VI. Judicial Power
Justice emanates from the people and is administered on behalf of the King by judges and magistrates members of the Judicial Power who shall be independent, shall have fixity of tenure, shall be accountable for their acts and subject only to the rule of law.
Supreme/ordinary court judge removal
Judges and magistrates may only be dismissed, suspended, transferred or retired on the grounds and subject to the safeguards provided for by the law.
- The exercise of judicial authority in any kind of action, both in ruling and having judgments executed, is vested exclusively in the courts and tribunals laid down by the law, in accordance with the rules of jurisdiction and procedure which may be established therein.
- Judges and courts shall not exercise any powers other than those indicated in the foregoing subsection and those which are expressly allocated to them by law as a guarantee of any right.
- The principle of jurisdictional unity is the basis of the organization and operation of the courts. The law shall make provision for the exercise of military jurisdiction strictly within military framework and in cases of state of siege (martial law), in accordance with the principles of the Constitution.
- Courts of exception are prohibited.
It is compulsory to comply with sentences and other final resolutions of judges and courts, as well as to pay them such assistance as they may require in the course of trials and for the execution of judgments.
Justice shall be free when thus provided for by law, and shall in any case be so in respect of those who have insufficient means to sue in court.
Right to public trial
Judicial proceedings shall be public, with the exceptions contemplated in the laws on procedure.
- Proceedings shall be predominantly oral, especially in criminal cases.
- Judgments shall always specify the grounds therefore, and they shall be delivered in a public hearing.
Protection from false imprisonment
Damages caused by judicial error as well as those arising from irregularities in the administration of justice shall give rise to a right to compensation by the State, in accordance with the law.
- The Organic Act of the Judicial Power shall make provision for the setting up, operation and internal administration of courts and tribunals as well as for the legal status of professional judges and magistrates, who shall form a single body, and of the staff serving in the administration of justice.
Establishment of judicial council
The General Council of the Judicial Power is its governing body. An organic act shall lay down its status and the system of incompatibilities applicable to its members and their functions, especially in connection with appointments, promotions, inspection and the disciplinary system.
Establishment of judicial council
The General Council of the Judicial Power shall consist of the President of the Supreme Court, who shall preside it, and of twenty members appointed by the King for a five-year period, of which twelve shall be judges and magistrates of all judicial categories, under the terms provided for by the organic act; four nominated by the Congress and four by the Senate, elected in both cases by three-fifths of their members amongst lawyers and other jurists of acknowledged competence with more than fifteen years of professional practice.
Structure of the courts
The Supreme Court, with jurisdiction over the whole of Spain, is the highest judicial body in all branches of justice, except with regard to provisions concerning constitutional guarantees.
Supreme court selection
The President of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the King, on the General Council of the Judicial Power proposal in the manner to be laid down by the law.
The Office of Public Prosecutor, without prejudice to functions entrusted to other bodies, has the task of promoting the operation of justice in the defence of the rule of law, of citizens' rights and of the public interest as safeguarded by the law, whether ex officio or at the request of interested parties, as well as that of protecting the independence of the courts and securing before them the satisfaction of social interest.
The Office of Public Prosecutor shall discharge its duties through its own bodies in accordance with the principles of unity of operation and hierarchical subordination, subject in all cases to the principles of the rule of law and of impartiality.
- The organic statute of the Office of the Public Prosecutor shall be laid down by law.
- The State's Public Prosecutor shall be appointed by the King on the Government's proposal after consultation with the General Council of the Judicial Power.
Citizens may engage in popular action and take part in the administration of justice through the institution of the jury, in the manner and with respect to those criminal trials as may be determined by law, as well as in customary and traditional courts.
The judicial police shall report to the judges, the courts and the Public Prosecutor when discharging their duties of crime investigation and the discovery and arrest of offenders, under the terms to be laid down by the law.
- Judges and magistrates as well as public prosecutors, whilst actively in office, may not hold other public office nor belong to political parties or unions. The law shall make provision for the system and methods of professional association for judges, magistrates and prosecutors.
- The law shall make provision for the system of incompatibilities for members of the Judicial Power, which must ensure their total independence.
PART VII. Economy and Finance
- The entire wealth of the country in its different forms, irrespective of ownership, shall be subordinated to the general interest.
- Public initiative in economic activity is recognized. Essential resources or services may be reserved by law to the public sector especially in the case of monopolies. Likewise, State intervention in companies may be imposed when the public interest so demands.
- The law shall establish the forms of participation of the persons concerned in Social Security and in the activities of those public bodies whose operation directly affects quality of life or general welfare.
- The public authorities shall efficiently promote the various forms of participation in the enterprise and shall encourage cooperative societies by means of appropriate legislation.
They shall also establish means to facilitate access by workers to ownership of the means of production.
Right to reasonable standard of living
The public authorities shall promote the modernization and development of all economic sectors and, in particular, of agriculture, livestock raising, fishing and handicrafts, in order to bring the standard of living of all Spaniards up to the same level.
- For the same purpose, special treatment shall be given to mountain areas.
The State shall be empowered to plan general economic activity by an act in order to meet collective needs, to balance and harmonize regional and sectorial development and to stimulate the growth of income and wealth and their more equitable distribution.
- The Government shall draft planning projects in accordance with forecasts supplied by Self-governing Communities and with the advice and cooperation of unions and other professional, employers' and financial organizations. A council shall be set up for this purpose, whose membership and duties shall be laid down by the law.
- The law shall lay down the rules governing public and communal property, on the basis that it shall be inalienable, exempt from prescription and cannot be attached under any circumstances, and it shall also provide for the case of disaffectation from public purpose.
- The goods of the State's public property shall be that established by law and shall, in any case, include the foreshore beaches, territorial waters and the natural resources of the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf.
- The State's Domain and the National Heritage, as well as their administration, protection and preservation, shall be regulated by law.
- The primary power to raise taxes is vested exclusively in the State by means of law.
- Self-governing Communities and local Corporations may impose and levy taxes, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws.
- Any fiscal benefit affecting State taxes must be established by virtue of law.
- Public Administrations may only contract financial liabilities and incur expenditures in accordance with the law.
- It is incumbent upon the Government to draft the State Budget and upon the Cortes Generales to examine, amend and adopt it.
- The State Budget shall be drafted annually and shall include the entire expenditure and income of the State public sector and a specific mention shall be made of the amount of the fiscal benefits affecting State taxes.
- The Government must submit the draft State Budget to the Congress at least three months before the expiration of that of the previous year.
- If the Budget Bill is not passed before the first day of the corresponding financial year, the Budget of the previous financial year shall be automatically extended until the new one is approved.
- Once the Budget Bill has been adopted, the Government may submit bills involving increases in public expenditure or decreases in the revenue corresponding to the same financial year.
- Any non-governmental bill or amendment which involves an increase in appropriations or a decrease in budget revenue shall require previous approval by the Government before its passage.
- The Budget Act may not establish new taxes. It may modify them, wherever a tax law of a substantive nature so provides.
Balanced budget, Budget bills
- All public administrations will conform to the principle of budgetary stability.
- The State and the Self-governing Communities may not incur a structural deficit that exceeds the limits established by the European Union for their member states.
An Organic Act shall determine the maximum structural deficit the state and the Self-governing Communities may have, in relation to its gross domestic product. Local authorities must submit a balanced budget.
- The State and the Self-governing Communities must be authorized by Act in order to issue Public Debt bonds or to contract loans.
Loans to meet payment on the interest and capital of the State’s Public Debt shall always be deemed to be included in budget expenditure and their payment shall have absolute priority. These appropriations may not be subject to amendment or modification as long as they conform to the terms of issue.
The volume of public debt of all the public administrations in relation to the State’ gross domestic product may not exceed the benchmark laid down by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
- The limits of the structural deficit and public debt volume may be exceeded only in case of natural disasters, economic recession or extraordinary emergency situations that are beyond the control of the State and significantly impair either the financial situation or the economic or social sustainability of the State, as appreciated by an absolute majority of the members of the Congress of Deputies.
- An Organic Act shall develop the principles referred to in this article, as well as participation in the respective procedures of the organs of institutional coordination between government fiscal policy and financial support. In any case, the Organic Act shall address:
- The distribution of the limits of deficit and debt among the different public administrations, the exceptional circumstances to overcome them and the manner and time in which to correct the deviations on each other.
- The methodology and procedure for calculating the structural deficit.
- The responsibility of each public administration in case of breach of budgetary stability objectives.
- The Self-governing Communities, in accordance with their respective laws and within the limits referred to in this article, shall take the appropriate procedures for effective implementation of the principle of stability in their rules and budgetary decisions.
- The Auditing Court is the supreme body charged with auditing the State's accounts and financial management, as well as those of the public sector.
It shall be directly accountable to the Cortes Generales and shall discharge its duties by delegation of the same when examining and verifying the General State Accounts.
- The State Accounts and those of the State's public sector shall be submitted to the Auditing Court and shall be audited by the latter.
The Auditing Court, without prejudice to its own jurisdiction, shall send an annual report to the Cortes Generales informing them, where applicable, of any infringements that may, in its opinion, have been committed, or any liabilities that may have been incurred.
- Members of the Auditing Court shall enjoy the same independence and fixity of tenure and shall be subject to the same incompatibilities as judges.
- An organic act shall make provision for membership, organization and duties of the Auditing Court.
PART VIII. Territorial Organization of the State
CHAPTER 1. General Principles
Subsidiary unit government
The State is organized territorially into municipalities, provinces and the Selfgoverning Communities that may be constituted. All these bodies shall enjoy selfgovernment for the management of their respective interests.
Reference to fraternity/solidarity
The State guarantees the effective implementation of the principle of solidarity proclaimed in section 2 of the Constitution, by endeavouring to establish a fair and adequate economic balance between the different areas of the Spanish territory and taking into special consideration the circumstances pertaining to those which are islands.
- Differences between Statutes of the different Self-governing Communities may in no case imply economic or social privileges.
- All Spaniards have the same rights and obligations in any part of the State territory.
- No authority may adopt measures which directly or indirectly hinder freedom of movement and settlement of persons and free movement of goods throughout the Spanish territory.
CHAPTER 2. Local Government
The Constitution guarantees the autonomy of municipalities. These shall enjoy full legal personality. Their government and administration shall be vested in their Town Councils, consisting of Mayors and councillors. Councillors shall be elected by residents of the municipality by universal, equal, free, direct and secret suffrage, in the manner provided for by the law. The Mayors shall be elected by the councillors or by the residents. The law shall lay down the terms under which an open council of all residents may proceed.
- The province is a local entity, with its own legal personality, arising from the grouping of municipalities, and a territorial division designed to carry out the activities of the State. Any alteration of provincial boundaries must be approved by the Cortes Generales in an organic act.
- The government and autonomous administration of the provinces shall be entrusted to Provincial Councils (Diputaciones) or other Corporations that must be representative in character.
- Groups of municipalities other than provinces may be formed.
- In the archipelagos, each island shall also have its own administration in the form of Cabildo or Insular Council.
Local treasuries must have sufficient funds available in order to perform the tasks assigned by law to the respective Corporations, and shall mainly be financed by their own taxation as well as by their share of State taxes and those of Selfgoverning Communities.
Subsidiary unit government
CHAPTER 3. Self-governing Communities
- In the exercise of the right to self-government recognized in section 2 of the Constitution, ordering provinces with common historic, cultural and economic characteristics, insular territories and provinces with a historic regional status may accede to self-government and form Self-governing Communities (Comunidades Autónomas) in conformity with the provisions contained in this Part and in the respective Statutes.
- The right to initiate the process towards self-government lies with all the Provincial councils concerned or with the corresponding inter-island body and with two thirds of the municipalities whose population represents at least the majority of the electorate of ach province or island. These requirements must be met within six months from the initial agreement reached to this aim by any of the local Corporations concerned.
- If this initiative is not successful, it may be repeated only after five years have elapsed.
The Cortes Generales may, in the national interest, and by an organic act:
- Authorize the setting-up of a Self-governing Community, where its territory does not exceed that of a province and does not possess the characteristics outlined in section 143, paragraph 1.
- Authorize or grant, as the case may be, a Statute of Autonomy to territories which are not integrated into the provincial organization.
- Take over the initiative of the local Corporations referred to in section 143, paragraph 2.
- Under no circumstances shall a federation of Self-governing Communities be allowed.
- Statutes of Autonomy may provide for the circumstances, requirements and terms under which Self-governing Communities may reach agreements among themselves for the management and rendering of services in matters pertaining to them, as well as for the nature and effects of the corresponding notification to be sent to the Cortes Generales. In all other cases, cooperation agreements among Self-governing Communities shall require authorization by the Cortes Generales.
The draft Statute of Autonomy shall be drawn up by an assembly consisting of members of the Provincial Council or inter-island body of the provinces concerned, and the respective Members of Congress and Senators elected in them, and shall be sent to the Cortes Generales for its drafting as an Act.
- Within the terms of the present Constitution, Statutes of Autonomy shall be the basic institutional rule of each Self-governing Community and the State shall recognize and protect them as an integral part of its legal system.
- The Statutes of Autonomy must contain:
- The name of the Community which best corresponds to its historic identity.
- Its territorial boundaries.
- The name, organization and seat of its own autonomous institutions.
- The powers assumed within the framework laid down by the Constitution and the basic rules for the transfer of the corresponding services.
- Amendment of Statutes of Autonomy shall conform to the procedure established therein and shall in any case require approval of the Cortes Generales through an organic act.
- The Self-governing Communities may assume competences over the following matters:
- Organization of their institutions of self-government.
- Changes in municipal boundaries within their territory and, in general, functions appertaining to the State Administration regarding local Corporations, whose transfer may be authorized by legislation on local government.
- Town and country planning and housing.
- Public works of interest to the Self-governing Community, within its own territory.
- Railways and roads whose routes lie exclusively within the territory of the Selfgoverning Community and transport by the above means or by cable fulfilling the same conditions.
- Ports of haven, recreational ports and airports and, in general, those which are not engaged in commercial activities.
- Agriculture and livestock raising, in accordance with general economic planning.
- Woodlands and forestry.
Protection of environment
Management of environmental protection.
- Planning, construction and exploitation of hydraulic projects, canals and irrigation of interest to the Self-governing Community; mineral and thermal waters.
- Inland water fishing, shellfish industry and fishfarming, hunting and river fishing.
- Local fairs.
- Promotion of economic development of the Self-governing Community within the objectives set by national economic policy.
- Museums, libraries and music conservatories of interest to the Self-governing Community.
- The Self-governing Community's monuments of interest.
- The promotion of culture and research and, where applicable, the teaching of the Selfgoverning Community's language.
- The promotion and planning of tourism within its territorial area.
- The promotion of sports and the proper use of leisure.
- Social assistance.
- Health and hygiene.
- The supervision and protection of its buildings and installations. Coordination and other powers relating to local police forces under the terms to be laid down by an organic act.
- After five years, the Self-governing Communities may, by amendment of their Statutes of Autonomy, progressively enlarge their powers within the framework laid down in section 149.
- The State shall have exclusive competence over the following matters:
- Regulation of basic conditions guaranteeing the equality of all Spaniards in the exercise of their rights and in the fulfilment of their constitutional duties.
- Nationality, immigration, emigration, status of aliens, and right of asylum.
- International relations.
- Defence and the Armed Forces.
- Administration of Justice.
- Commercial, criminal and penitentiary legislation; procedural legislation, without prejudice to the necessary specialities in these fields arising from the peculiar features of the substantive law of the Self-governing Communities.
- Labour legislation, without prejudice to its execution by bodies of the Self- governing Communities.
- Civil legislation, without prejudice to the preservation, modification and development by the Self-governing Communities of their civil law, foral or special, whenever these exist, and traditional charts. In any event rules for the application and effectiveness of legal provisions, civil relations arising from the forms of marriage, keeping of records and drawing up to public instruments, bases of contractual liability, rules for resolving conflicts of law and determination of the sources of law in conformity, in this last case, with the rules of traditional charts or with those of foral or special laws.
- Legislation on copyright and industrial property.
- Customs and tariff regulations; foreign trade.
- Monetary system: foreign currency, exchange and convertibility; bases for the regulations concerning credit, banking and insurance.
- Legislation on weights and measures and determination of the official time.
- Basic rules and coordination of general economic planning.
- General financial affairs and State Debt.
- Promotion and general coordination of scientific and technical research.
- External health measures; basic conditions and general coordination of health matters; legislation on pharmaceutical products.
- Basic legislation and financial system of Social Security, without prejudice to implementation of its services by the Self-governing Communities.
- Basic rules of the legal system of Public Administrations and the status of their officials which shall, in any case, guarantee that all persons under said administrations will receive equal treatment; the common administrative procedure, without prejudice to the special features of the Self-governing Communities' own organizations; legislation on compulsory expropriation; basic legislation on contracts and administrative concessions and the system of liability of all Public Administrations.
- Sea fishing, without prejudice to the powers which, in regulations governing this sector, may be vested to the Self-governing Communities.
- Merchant navy and registering of ships; lighting of coasts and signals at sea; general interest ports; general-interest airports; control of the air space, air traffic and transport; meteorological services and aircraft registration.
Railways and land transport crossing through the territory of more than one Selfgoverning Community; general system of communications; motor vehicle traffic; Post Office services and telecommunications; air and underwater cables and radio communications.
- Legislation, regulation and concession of hydraulic resources and development where the water-streams flow through more than one Self-governing Community, and authorization for hydro-electrical power plants whenever their operation affects other Communities or the lines of energy transportation are extended over other Communities.
Protection of environment
Basic legislation on environmental protection, without prejudice to powers of the Self-governing Communities to take additional protective measures; basic legislation on woodlands, forestry and cattle trails.
- Public works of general benefit or whose execution affects more than one Selfgoverning Community.
- Basic regulation of mining and energy.
- Manufacturing, sale, possession and use of arms and explosives.
Basic rules relating to organization of the press, radio and television and, in general, all mass-communications media without prejudice to powers vested in the Self- governing Communities for their development and implementation.
- Protection of Spain's cultural and artistic heritage and national monuments against exportation and spoliation; museums, libraries, and archives belonging to the State, without prejudice to their management by the Self-governing Communities.
- Public safety, without prejudice to the possibility of creation of police forces by the Self-governing Communities, in the manner to be provided for in their respective Statutes of Autonomy and within the framework to be laid down by an organic act.
- Regulation of the requirements for obtention, issue and standardization of academic degrees and professional qualifications and basic rules for implementation of section 27 of the Constitution, in order to guarantee the fulfilment of the duties of public authorities in this matter.
- Statistics for State purposes.
Authorization of popular consultations through the holding of referendums.
- Without prejudice to the competences that may be assumed by the Self-governing Communities, the State shall consider the promotion of culture a duty and an essential function and shall facilitate cultural communication among the Self-governing Communities, in cooperation with them.
National vs subnational laws
Matters not expressly assigned to the State by this Constitution may fall under the jurisdiction of the Self-governing Communities by virtue of their Statutes of Autonomy. Jurisdiction on matters not claimed by Statutes of Autonomy shall fall with the State, whose laws shall prevail, in case of conflict, over those of the Self-governing Communities regarding all matters in which exclusive jurisdiction has not been conferred upon the latter. State law shall in any case be suppletory of that of the Self-governing Communities.
National vs subnational laws
The Cortes Generales, in matters of State jurisdiction, may confer upon all or any of the Self-governing Communities the power to pass legislation for themselves within the framework of the principles, bases and guidelines laid down by a State act. Without prejudice to the jurisdiction of the Courts, each enabling act shall make provision for the method of supervision by the Cortes Generales over the Communities' legislation.
- The State may transfer or delegate to the Self-governing Communities, through an organic act, some of its powers which by their very nature can be transferred or delegated. The law shall, in each case, provide for the appropriate transfer of financial means, as well as specify the forms of control to be retained by the State.
- The State may enact laws laying down the necessary principles for harmonizing the rulemaking provisions of the Self-governing Communities, even in the case of matters over which jurisdiction has been vested to the latter, where this is necessary in the general interest. It is incumbent upon the Cortes Generales, by overall majority of the members of each House, to evaluate this necessity.
- It shall not be necessary to wait for the five-year period referred to in section 148, subsection 2, to elapse when the initiative for the autonomy process is agreed upon within the time limit specified in section 143, subsection 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 overall majority of electors in each province, under the terms to be laid down by an organic act.
- In the case referred to in the foregoing paragraph, procedure for drafting the Statute of Autonomy shall be as follows:
- The Government shall convene all Members of Congress and Senators elected in the constituencies of the territory seeking self-government, in order that they may set themselves up as an Assembly for the sole purpose of drawing up a Statute of Autonomy, to be adopted by the overall majority of its members.
- Once the draft Statute has been passed by the Parliamentarians' Assembly, it is to be sent to the Constitutional Committee of the Congress which shall examine it within two months with the cooperation and assistance of a delegation from the Assembly which has proposed it, in order to decide by common agreement upon its final form.
- If such agreement is reached, the resulting text shall be submitted in a referendum to the electorate in the provinces within the territory to be covered by the proposed Statute.
- If the draft Statute is approved in each province by the majority of validly cast votes, it shall be referred to the Cortes Generales. Each House, in plenary sitting, shall decide upon the text by means of a vote of ratification. Once the Statute been passed, the King shall give his assent and promulgate it as an act.
- If the agreement referred to in paragraph ii) of this subsection 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 to a referendum of the electorate of the provinces within the territory to be covered by the draft Statute. In the event that it is approved by the majority of validly cast votes in each province, it shall be promulgated as provided in the foregoing paragraph.
- In the cases described in paragraphs iv) and v) of the foregoing subsection, failure by one or several of the provinces to ratify the draft Statute shall not prevent constitution of the remaining provinces into a Self-governing Community in the manner to be provided for by the organic act contemplated in subsection 1 of this section.
Claim of universal suffrage
In the case of Statutes passed by means of the procedure referred to in the foregoing section, the institutional self-government organization shall be based on a Legislative Assembly elected by universal suffrage under a system of proportional representation which shall also assure the representation of the various areas of the territory; an Executive Council with executive and administrative functions and a President elected by the Assembly among its members and appointed by the King. The President shall assume leadership of the Executive Council, the supreme representation of the Community and the State's ordinary representation in the latter. The President and the members of the Executive Council shall be politically accountable to the Assembly.
A High Court of Justice, without prejudice to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, shall be the head of Judicial Power in the territory of the Self-governing Community. The Statutes of Autonomy may make provision for the circumstances and the manner in which the Community is to take part in the setting-up of the judicial districts of the territory. Provided that they must conform to the provisions of the Organic Act on the Judicial Power and to the principles of unity and independence of the judicial power.
Without prejudice to the provisions of section 123, successive proceedings, if any, shall be held before judicial bodies located in the same territory of the Self-governing Community in which the Court having jurisdiction in the first instance is located.
- Once the Statutes have received the Royal Assent and been promulgated, they may be amended only by the procedure provided for therein and a referendum of registered electors in the Self-governing Community.
- By grouping bordering municipalities together, the Statutes may set up their own territorial constituencies which shall enjoy full legal personality.
Control over the bodies of the Self-governing Communities shall be exercised by:
- The Constitutional Court, in matters pertaining to the constitutionality of their regulatory provisions having the force of law.
- The Government, after the handing down by the Council of State of its opinion, regarding the exercise of delegated functions referred to in section 150, subsection 2.
- Jurisdictional bodies of administrative litigation with regard to autonomic administration and its regulations.
- The Auditing Court, with regard to financial and budgetary matters.
A delegate appointed by the Government shall be responsible for the State administration in the territory of each Self-governing Community and shall coordinate it, when necessary, with the Community's own administration.
- If a Self-governing Community does not fulfil the obligations imposed upon it by the Constitution or other laws, or acts in a way that is seriously prejudicial to the general interest of Spain, the Government, after having lodged a complaint with the President of the Self-governing Community and failed to receive satisfaction therefore, may, following approval granted by the overall majority of the Senate, take all measures necessary to compel the Community to meet said obligations, or to protect the abovementioned general interest.
- With a view to implementing the measures provided for in the foregoing paragraph, the Government may issue instructions to all the authorities of the Self- governing Communities.
Reference to fraternity/solidarity
The Self-governing Communities shall enjoy financial autonomy for the development and exercise of their powers, in conformity with the principles of coordination with the State Treasury and solidarity among all Spaniards.
- The Self-governing Communities may act as delegates or agents of the State for the collection, management and assessment of the latter's tax resources, in conformity with the law and their Statutes.
- The resources of the Self-governing Communities shall consist of:
- Taxes wholly or partially made over to them by the State; surcharges on State taxes and other shares in State revenue.
- Their own taxes, rates and special levies.
- Transfers from an inter-territorial compensation fund and other allocations to be charged to the State Budget.
- Revenues accruing from their property and private law income.
- Interest from loan operations.
- The Self-governing Communities may under no circumstances introduce measures to raise taxes on property located outside their territory or likely to hinder the free movement of goods or services.
- Exercise of the financial powers set out in subsection 1 above, rules for settling the conflicts which may arise, and possible forms of financial cooperation between the Selfgoverning Communities and the State may be laid down by an organic act.
Provisions for wealth redistribution
An allocation may be made in the State Budget to the Self-governing Communities in proportion to the amount of State services and activities for which they have assumed responsibility and to guarantee a minimum level of basic public services throughout Spanish territory.
- With the aim of redressing interterritorial economic imbalances and implementing the principle of solidarity, a compensation fund shall be set up for investment expenditure, the resources of which shall be distributed by the Cortes Generales among the Selfgoverning Communities and provinces, as the case may be.
Establishment of constitutional court
Part IX. The Constitutional Court
Constitutional court selection
The Constitutional Court shall consist of twelve members appointed by the King. Of these, four shall be nominated by the Congress by a majority of three-fifths of its members, four shall be nominated by the Senate with the same majority, two shall be nominated by the Government, and two by the General Council of the Judicial Power.
Eligibility for const court judges
Members of the Constitutional Court shall be appointed among magistrates and prosecutors, university professors, public officials and lawyers, all of whom must have a recognized standing with at least fifteen years' practice in their profession.
Constitutional court term length
Members of the Constitutional Court shall be appointed for a period of nine years and shall be renewed by thirds every three years.
- Membership of the Constitutional Court is incompatible with any position of a representative nature, any political or administrative office, a management position in a political party or a trade union as well as any employment in their service, active service as a judge or prosecutor and any professional or business activity whatsoever.
Incompatibilities for members of the Judicial Power shall also apply to members of the Constitutional Court.
Members of the Constitutional Court shall be independent and enjoy fixity of tenure during their term of office.
The President of the Constitutional Court shall be appointed by the King among its members, on the proposal of the full Court itself, for a term of three years.
Constitutional court powers
The Constitutional Court has jurisdiction over the whole Spanish territory and is entitled to hear:
Constitutionality of legislation
against the alleged unconstitutionality of acts and statutes having the force of an act. A declaration of unconstitutionality of a legal provision having the force of an act and that has already been applied by the Courts, shall also affect the case-law doctrine built up by the latter, but the decisions handed down shall not lose their status of res judicata.
Right to amparo
Individual appeals for protection (recursos de amparo) against violation of the rights and freedoms contained in section 53(2) of the Constitution, in the circumstances and manner to be laid down by law.
- Conflicts of jurisdiction between the State and the Self-governing Communities or between the Self-governing Communities themselves.
- Other matters assigned to it by the Constitution or by organic acts.
- The Government may appeal to the Constitutional Court against provisions and resolutions adopted by the bodies of the Self-governing Communities, which shall bring about the suspension of the contested provisions or resolutions, but the Court must either ratify or lift the suspension, as the case may be, within a period of not more than five months.
- The following are entitled to:
Constitutionality of legislation
Lodge an appeal of unconstitutionality: the President of the Government, the Defender of the People, fifty Members of Congress, fifty Senators, the Executive body of a Self-governing Community and, where applicable, its Assembly.
Right to amparo
Lodge an individual appeal for protection (recurso de amparo): any individual or body corporate with a legitimate interest, as well as the Defender of the People and the Public Prosecutor's Office.
- In all other cases, the organic act shall determine which persons and bodies shall have right of appeal to the Court.
Constitutionality of legislation
If a judicial body considers, when hearing a case, that a regulation having the force of an act which is applicable thereto and upon the validity of which the judgment depends, might be contrary to the Constitution, it may bring the matter before the Constitutional Court in the circumstances, manner and subject to the consequences to be laid down by law, which shall in no case have a suspensive effect.
Constitutionality of legislation, Publication of deliberations
The judgments of the Constitutional Court shall be published in the Official State Gazette (Boletín Oficial del Estado), with the dissenting opinions, if any. They have the force of res judicata from the day following their publication, and no appeal may be brought against them. Those declaring the unconstitutionality of an act or of a statute with the force of an act and all those which are not limited to the acknowledgment of an individual right, shall be fully binding on all persons.
Constitutionality of legislation
Unless the judgment rules otherwise, the part of the act not affected by unconstitutionality shall remain in force.
An organic act shall make provision for the functioning of the Constitutional Court, the status of its members, the procedure to be followed before it, and the conditions governing actions brought before it.
Constitution amendment procedure
PART X. Constitutional Amendment
The right to propose a constitutional amendment shall be exercised under the provisions of section 87, subsections 1 and 2.
- Bills on constitutional amendments must be approved by a majority of three- fifths of 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 Committee of an equal number of Members of Congress and Senators which shall submit a text to be voted on by the Congress and the Senate.
- If approval is not obtained by means of the procedure outlined in the foregoing subsection, and provided that the text has been passed by the overall majority of the members of the Senate, the Congress may pass the amendment by a two-thirds vote in favour.
- 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.
- If a total revision of the Constitution is proposed, or a partial revision thereof, affecting the Introductory Part, Chapter II, Division 1 of Part I, or Part II, the principle of the proposed reform shall be approved by a two-thirds majority of the members of each House, and the Cortes Generales shall immediately be dissolved.
- The Houses elected thereupon must ratify the decision and proceed to examine the new constitutional text, which must be passed by a two-thirds majority of the members of each House.
- Once the amendment has been passed by the Cortes Generales, it shall be submitted to ratification by referendum.
The process of constitutional amendment may not be initiated in time of war or under any of the states contemplated in section 116.
This Constitution shall come into force on the day of publication of its official text in the Official State Gazette (Boletín Oficial del Estado). It shall also be published in the other languages of Spain.