Politics

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POLITICS

How it Works:

Spain works under a parliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy, which means that the Monarch is the Head of State and the President of the Government is the head of government in a multi-party system.

Executive power in Spain lies with the Council of Ministers (Consejo de Ministros). It is headed by the President of the Government who isnominated by the King, confirmed by a vote of the lower house of parliament and then appointed by the king. After a candidate has been nominated he must win a majority of the votes of the lower house, failing which, a second vote will be held where he only needs a plurality of votes. The Prime Minister designates the rest of the members of the Council who are then appointed by the king. He directs theactivities of the government as a whole. The President of the Government can also designate various vice presidents although it is not necessary. The Council of State is the supreme consultative organ of the government.

On the national level, Spain directly elects a legislature, the Cortes Generales, which consists of two chambers, the Congress of Deputies (Congreso de los Diputados) and theSenate (Senado). Los diputados y Senadores serve concurrent terms that run for a period of four years.

There are two essential differences between the two houses. The first is of electoral practice. Both are elected on a provincial basis. The number of seats in Congress is allocated in proportion to population. However, this is only done after each province has been given two members. The resultof this is a slight over-representation for the smaller provinces. In the Senate the members are elected on a provincial basis. The electoral system used is different with proportional party closed lists being used for Congress and the Senate elected by partial bloc voting. Additionally some senators are designated by the Autonomous legislatures. The second difference is in legislative power. Withfew exceptions, every law is approved with the votes of Congress. The Senate can make changes or refuse laws but the Congress can ignore these amendments.

The Spanish Judiciary is exercised by professional judges and magistrates and composed of different courts depending on The Jurisdictional Order and what is to be judged, the highest ranking court of the judicial structure in Spain is theSupreme Court. The role of the judiciary is governed by the General Council Of the Judiciary Power of Spain whose Chairperson is also the Chairperson of the Supreme Court.

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 PSOEis 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 Spanishpolitics.

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Political Violence

The Government of Spain is involved in a long-running campaign against Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA- The group was founded in 1959 and they evolved from a group promoting traditional Basque culture to a paramilitary group with the goal of gaining Basque independence. ETA has traditionally targeted Spanish government officials, members of themilitary and security forces, journalists, and members of the Popular Party and Socialist Party for assassination. ETA operatives extort "revolutionary taxes" from businesspersons and professionals living in the Basque region, sometimes bombing their property to intimidate them into paying extortion demands. ETA supporters also engage in street violence and vandalism against government facilities,...
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