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SPANISH POLITICS AND PARTIES
Spanish System of Government: Parliamentary Monarchy
The Politics of Spain take place within the framework established by the Constitution of 1978. Spain is a social and democratic state wherein the national sovereignty is vested in the Spanish People from which the powers of the State emanate.
Spain is a Parliamentary Monarchy in which the Monarch is Head of State and the Prime Minister (whose official title is "President of the Government") is Head of Government. Executive power is exercised by "The Government," which is composed of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Ministers, and other ministers who collectively form the Council of Ministers. Legislative power is vested in the Cortes Generales (General Courts), a bicameral Parliament consisting of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate. The Judiciary is independent of the Executive and the Legislature, administering justice on behalf of the King through several Judges and Magistrates. The Supreme Court of Spain is the highest court in the nation, has jurisdiction in all Spanish territories, and is supreme in all affairs except Constitutional matters, which are the jurisdiction of the country's Constitutional Court.
Spain's political system is a multi-party system, but since the 1990s the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and the People's Party have been predominant in politics. Regional parties, mainly the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV) of the Basque Country, the Convergence and Union (CiU), and the Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC), have also played key roles in Spanish politics. Members of the Congress of Deputies are selected through proportional representation, and the Executive Government is formed by the party or coalition that has the "Confidence of the Congress," usually the party with the largest number of seats. Since the Spanish transition to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, there have not been coalition governments; when a party has failed to obtain absolute majority, minority governments have been formed.
Spain's regional governments function under a system known as "the State of Autonomies," a highly decentralized system of territorial
administration based on asymmetrical devolution to the "Nationalities and Regions" that constitute the nation, and in which the
nation, via the central government, retains full sovereignty. The Spanish territory is divided into 17 autonomous communities and
2 autonomous cities. The form of government of each autonomous community and city is also based on a Parliamentary system, one
in which the Executive power is vested in a "President" and a Council of Ministers elected by and responsible to a unicameral