Spain is a democratic, parliamentary constitutional monarchy. It is also a social democratic nation. The Spanish Government is headed by the prime minister, whose term is typically four years. Several other ministers are appointed by the King. Depending on the laws of the country, the Prime Minister has some authority to call for early elections.
The Spanish Parliament consists of two main chambers. They are the lower house (Congreso de los Diputados) and the upper house (Senate). Both chambers are bicameral. In addition, there is a separate court, the Supreme Court, which has jurisdiction in all of Spain.
The lower chamber is known as the Congress of Deputies and it is composed of 350 members. Each province is represented by a multimember constituency. Elections are held in each region every four years. During this time, the regional parliament is elected, and a new set of parliamentary representatives are elected. This election is called general elections and the current parliament’s term ends in 2023.
The Senate is the upper chamber and it is composed of 208 members. Each of the three major islands is represented by a senator. Regional legislatures elect 58 senators.
There are numerous national and regional political parties in Spain. These parties differ in terms of political beliefs and policies. A party’s electoral share depends on the social context of the country. Generally, regional parties gain the most seats. If a party has a majority in the lower chamber, it forms a government. Parties without a majority can form a coalition. Depending on the laws of the country, a party can use commercial bank loans to finance its campaign.
The Council of Ministers is a formally constituted body that is made up of all the ministers and the Prime Minister. Every Friday, the Council of Ministers meets at the Palace of Moncloa in Madrid.
Various ministries are created to carry out administrative functions. Ministries usually cover similar sectors of government. The Prime Minister is responsible for determining the scope of the Ministry and appointing other members of the Cabinet. He or she is also the president of the Government.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country. It hears appeals on cases of constitutional violation, and individual petitions for protection. Although the Supreme Court is superior in all matters but Constitutional guarantees, it does not have exclusive jurisdiction. The General Council of Judiciary appoints the President of the Supreme Court.
The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party was a Marxist party until reorienting its philosophy towards social democracy. It was a major player in the transition from dictatorship to a more representative democratic government.
Since the early 1980s, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party has been an important part of the Spanish political landscape. The former President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was a member of the party. His successor, Felipe Gonzalez, renounced the socialist ideology and appoints a more centre-left policy.
The Parliament of Spain consists of the lower chamber (Congreso de los Diputados), and the upper chamber (Senate). Members of both chambers serve four-year terms. As a result, the lower chamber has more legislative power than the Senate.