Political system

The Spanish Constitution of 1978(opens in new window) establishes the institutional organisation of Spain and leads our legal system. Other regulations implement it. It is a great achievement of consensus and working together. It was approved via a referendum by a broad majority of voters and electors.

Here, there is a general outline with the main traits of the institutional system that lets us work together and take decisions:

  • Spain is a democracy, ruled by law and a welfare state. We have a social market economy.
  • The values of our model for harmoniously living together are: freedom, justice, equality, solidarity, political pluralism, dignity of the person and respect for fundamental rights and public freedoms.
  • The Constitution protects the fundamental rights of people and establishes principles to guide the actions of public powers. Some traits are particularly important in this constitutional framework:
    • The rights to equality, non-discrimination, freedom of ideology, religion, sexual orientation, expression, education, meeting, demonstration, association, political parties, unions, business associations and strike.
    • Reserving a space for private propriety and entrepreneurial freedom.
    • It fosters everyone's participation in public affairs via representatives and, in some cases, directly.
    • It emphasises education, health and social security. It speaks of employment and housing. It considers consumers, families, the elderly, the young and people with disabilities. It considers science, culture, artistic heritage and the environment, among others.
    • Our Magna Carta especially protects cultural diversity as part of all of our heritage.
    • Spanish is the official language and co-official languages are Catalan, Galician and Basque in their respective regions.
    • Rights are complemented with duties for everyone: respect for legality and the rights of others, contributing to public spending and defending Spain.
  • Sovereignty corresponds to the Spanish people, that is, to all Spaniards, from which state powers are derived: legislative, executive, judicial.
  • It establishes a parliamentary monarchy and a system of governance based on parliamentary representation. See the section Government institutions .
  • It establishes the unity of the state and the autonomy of autonomous communities (regions)
  • Territorially, Spain is one of the most decentralised states in the world. One can differentiate (See the section Autonomous communities and local administrations ):
    • several common institutions in all of Spain;
    • 17 autonomous communities (regions) with broad powers,
    • two autonomous cities and
    • More than 8100 local entities.
  • Spain is a member of the European Union and participates in this economic and political project. Like other states, it has assigned economic and political competences to European institutions; it shares this with other 28 member states and their citizens. See the European Union .

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