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THE CONSTITUTION

PASSED BY THE CORTES GENERALES

IN PLENARY MEETINGS OF THE CONGRESS

OF DEPUTIES AND THE SENATE HELD ON OCTOBER 31,1978

RATIFIED BY THE SPANISH PEOPLE IN

THE REFERENDUM OF DECEMBER 7,1978

SANCTIONED BY HIS MAJESTY THE KING BEFORE THE CORTES ON DECEMBER 27,1978

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PRELIMINARY TITLE

Article 1

1. Spain is hereby established as a social and democratic State, subject to the rule of law, and advocating as higher values of its, legal order, liberty, justice, equality and political pluralism.

2. National sovereignty is vested in the Spanish people, from whom emanate the powers of the State.

3. The Political form of the Spanish State is that of a Parliamentary Monarchy.

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Article 6

The political parties are the expression of political pluralism, they contribute to the formation and expression of the will of the people and are a fundamental instrument for political participation. Their creation and the exercise of their activity are free in so far as they respect the Constitution and the law. Their internal structure and working must be democratic.

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CHAPTER ONE

Concerning Spaniards and Aliens

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Article 12

Spaniards legally come of age at eighteen.

Article 13

1. Aliens shall enjoy the public freedoms guaranteed by the present Title, under the terms to be laid down by treaties and the law.

2. Only Spaniards shall be entitled to the rights recognized in Article 23, except in cases which may be established by treaty or by law concerning the right of active suffrage in municipal elections, in accordance with the principle of reciprocity.

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CHAPTER TWO

Concerning Rights and Liberties

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SECTION 1

Concerning Fundamental Rights and Public Liberties

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Article 23

1. Citizens have the right to participate in public affairs, directly or through their representatives freely elected in periodic elections by universal suffrage.

2. They likewise have the right to access on equal terms to public office, in accordance with the requirements to be provided by law.

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TITLE III

Concerning the Cortes Generales

CRAPTER ONE

Concerning the Houses

Article 66

1. The Cortes Generales represent the Spanish people and consist of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate.

2. The Cortes Generales exercise the legislative power of the State, approve its Budget, control Government action and hold all the other powers vested in them by the Constitution.

3. The Cortes Generales are inviolable.

Article 67

1. No person may be a member of both Houses simultaneously, or be a representative in the Assembly, of an Autonomous Community at the same time that he is a Deputy to Congress.

2. The members of the Cortes Generales shall not be bound by a compulsory mandate.

3. Meetings of members of Parliament which are held without having been called in the statutory manner shall not be binding an the Houses, and members may not exercise their functions therein nor enjoy the privileges deriving from their office.

Article 68

1. Congress consists of a minimum of three hundred and a maximum of four hundred deputies, elected by universal, free, equal, direct and secret suffrage, under the terms to be laid down by the law.

2. The electoral district is the province. The cities of Ceuta and Melilla shall each be represented by a Deputy. The total number of Deputies shall be distributed in accordance with the law, each electoral district being assigned a minimum initial representation and the remainder being distributed in proportion to the population.

3. The election in each electoral district shall be conducted on the basis of proportional representation.

4. Congress is elected for four years. The term of office of the Deputies ends four years after their election or on the day that the House is dissolved.

5. All Spaniards who are entitled to the full exercise of their political rights are electors and eligible for election.

The law shall recognize and the State shall facilitate the exercise of the right of suffrage of Spaniards who are outside Spanish territory.

6. Elections shall take place between thirty and sixty days after the end of the previous term of office. The Congress so elected must be convened within twenty-five days following the holding of elections.

Article 69

1. The Senate is the House of territorial representation.

2. In each province, four Senators shall be elected by the voters thereof by universal, free, equal, direct and secret suffrage, under the terms to be laid down by an organic law.

3. In the island provinces, each island or group of islands with a "Cabildo" or Island Council shall constitute an electoral district for the purpose of electing Senators, of whom there shall be three for each of the larger islands -Gran Canaria, Mallorca and Tenerife- and one for each of the following islands or groups of islands: Ibiza-Formentera, Menorca, Fuerteventura, Gomera, Hierro, Lanzarote and La Palma.

4. The cities of Ceuta and Melilla shall each elect two Senators.

5. The Autonomous Communities shall, moreover, nominate one Senator and a further Senator for each million inhabitants in their respective territories The nomination shall be incumbent upon the Legislative Assembly or, in default thereof, upon the Autonomous Community's highest corporate body, in accordance with the provisions of the Statutes, which shall, in any case, guarantee adequate proportional representation.

6. The Senate is elected for four years. The Senators' term of office shall end four years after their election or on the day that the House is dissolved.

Article 70

1. The electoral law shall establish grounds for ineligibility and disability for Deputies and Senators, which shall in any case include those who are:

a) members of the Constitutional Court;

b) the holders of high State Administrative offices, as may be laid down by law, with the exception of members of the Government;

c) the Defender of the People;

d) Magistrates, Judges and Public Prosecutors when in office;

e) professional soldiers and members of the Security and Police Forces and Corps on active service;

f) members of the Electoral Commissions.

2. The validity of the certificates of election and credentials of the members of both Houses shall be subject to judicial control, under the terms to be established in the electoral law.

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CHAPTER TWO

Concerning the Drafting of Bills

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Article 92

1. Political decisions of special importance may be submitted to all citizens in a consultative referendum.

2. The referendum shall be called by the King on the proposal of the President of the Government, following authorization by the Congress of Deputies.

3. An organic law shall regulate the terms and procedures for the different kinds of referendum provided for in this Constitution.

 

TITLE VIII

Concerning the Territorial Organization of the State

CHAPTER ONE

General Principles

Article 137

The State is organized territorially into municipalities, provinces and any Autonomous Communities that may be constituted. All these bodies shall enjoy self government for the management of their respective interests.

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CHAPTER TWO

Concerning Local Administration

Article 140

The Constitution guarantees the autonomy of the municipalities, which shall enjoy full legal personality. Their government and administration shall be incumbent on their respective Town Councils, consisting of Mayors and Councillors. The Councillors shall be elected by the residents of the municipalities by universal, equal, free and secret suffrage, in the manner laid down by the law. The Mayors shall be elected by the Councillors or by the residents. The law shall regulate the terms under which an open Council system shall be applicable.

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CHAPTER THREE

Concerning the Autonomous Communities

Article 148

1. The Autonomous Communities may assume jurisdiction in respect of the following matters:

i) organization of their institutions of self. government;

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2. After five years have elapsed, the Autonomous Communities may, by amendment of their Statutes, successively enlarge their powers within the framework established in Article 149.

Article 150

1. The Cortes Generales, in matters of State jurisdiction, shall confer upon all or any of the Autonomous Communities the power to enact legislation for themselves within the framework of the principles, bases and guidelines established by State law. Without prejudice to the jurisdiction of the Courts, each basic law shall contain the method of control by the Cortes Generales over the Autonomous Communities' legislation.

2. The State may transfer or delegate to the Autonomous Communities, through an organic law, powers appertaining to it which by their very nature lend themselves to transfer or delegation. 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.

3. The State. may enact laws establishing the principles necessary for harmonizing the rule-making provisions of the Autonomous Communities, even in the case of matters over which jurisdiction has been conferred upon the latter, when this is necessary in the general interest. It is incumbent upon the Cortes Generales, by an absolute majority of the members of each House, to evaluate this necessity.

Article 151

1. It shall not be necessary to wait for the five-year period referred to in clause 2 of Article 148 to elapse when the initiative for attaining self-government is agreed upon within the time limit specified in Article 143, clause 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 absolute majority of the electors in each province, under the terms to be laid down by an organic law.

2. In the case provided for in the foregoing clause, the procedure for drafting the Statute shall be as follows:

i) The Government shall summon all the Deputies and Senators elected in the electoral districts within the territorial area seeking self-government in order that they may-resolve themselves into an Assembly for the sole purpose of drawing up the corresponding draft Statute for Autonomy, to be passed by the absolute majority of its members.

ii) Once the draft Statute has been passed by the Parliamentary Assembly, it shall be remitted to the Constitutional Committee of Congress which shall examine it within the space of two months with the co-operation and assistance of a delegation from the Assembly which has proposed it, in order to decide in common agreement upon its final form.

iii) If such an agreement is reached, the resulting text shall be submitted in a referendum to the electorate of the provinces within the territorial area to be covered by the proposed Statute.

iv) If the draft Statute is approved in each procedure referred to in the foregoing article, the province by the majority of validly cast votes, it shall be referred to the Cortes Generales. Both Houses, in plenary assembly, shall decide upon the text by means of a vote of ratification. Once the Statute been passed, the King shall - give it his assent and shall promulgate it as a law.

v) If the agreement referred to in sub-clause ii) of this clause 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 in a referendum to. the electorate of the provinces within the territorial area to be covered by the draft Statute. In the event that it is passed by the majority of the validly cast votes in each province, it shall be promulgated in the manner outlined in the foregoing sub-clause.

3. In the cases described in sub-clauses iv) and v) of the foregoing clause, failure to pass the draft Statute by one or several of the provinces shall not prevent the constitution of the remaining provinces into an Autonomous Community in the manner to be prescribed by the organic law envisaged in clause 1 of this article.

Article 152

1. In the case of Statutes passed by means of the procedure referred to in the foregoing article, the institutional Autonomous organization shall be based on a Legislative Assembly elected by universal suffrage in accordance with a system of proportional representation which shall assure, moreover, the representation of the various areas of the territory; a Governing Council with executive and administrative functions and a President elected by the Assembly from among its members and appointed by the King. The President shall be responsible for, directing the Governing Council, which Constitutes the supreme representation of the respective Community as well as the State's ordinary representation in the latter. The President and the members of the Governing Council shall be politically accountable to the Assembly.

A High Court of justice, without prejudice to the jurisdiction exercised by the Supreme Court, shall head the judiciary within the territorial area of the Autonomous Community. The Statutes of the Autonomous Communities shall establish the circumstances and manner in which they will participate in the organization of the judicial demarcations of the territory, all of which must be in conformity with the provisions of the organic law on judicial power and compatible with its unity and independence.

Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 123, successive proceedings, if any, shall be held before judicial bodies located in the same territory of the Autonomous Community as that in which the competent Court of the First Instance is located.

2. Once the respective Statutes have been sanctioned and promulgated, they may only be amended by means of the procedures established therein and through a referendum of the electors registered in the corresponding electoral rolls.

3. By grouping the bordering municipalities together, the Statutes may set up their own territorial electoral districts, which will enjoy full legal personality.

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TITLE X

Concerning Constitutional Amendment

Article 166

The right to propose a Constitutional amendment shall be exercised under the terms contained in clauses 1 and 2 of Article 87.

Article 167

1. Bills on Constitutional amendment must be approved by a majority of three-fifths of the 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 Commission of Deputies and Senators which shall submit a text to be voted on by the Congress and the Senate.

2. If approval is not obtained by means of the procedure outlined in the foregoing clause, and provided that the text has been passed by an absolute majority of the members of the Senate, Congress may pass the amendment by a two-thirds vote in favour.

3. 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.

Article 168

1. If a total revision of the Constitution is proposed, or a partial revision thereof, affecting the Preliminary Title, Chapter Two, Section 1 of Title 1, or Title 11, the principle shall be approved by a two-thirds majority of the members of each House, and the Cortes shall immediately be dissolved.

2. The Houses elected must ratify the decision and proceed to examine the new Constitutional text, which must be approved by a. two-thirds majority of the members of both Houses.

3. Once the amendment has been passed by the Cortes Generales, it shall be submitted to ratification by referendum.

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