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Spain Government

    Country name:
    conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain
    conventional short form: Spain
    local short form: Espana

    Data code: SP

    Government type: parliamentary monarchy

    Capital: Madrid

    Administrative divisions: 17 autonomous communities (comunidades autonomas, singular—comunidad autonoma); Andalucia, Aragon, Asturias, Baleares (Balearic Islands), Canarias (Canary Islands), Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Cataluna, Communidad Valencian, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra, Pais Vasco (Basque Country)
    note: there are five places of sovereignty on and off the coast of Morocco: Ceuta and Melilla are administered as autonomous communities; Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera are under direct Spanish administration

    Independence: 1492 (expulsion of the Moors and unification)

    National holiday: National Day, 12 October

    Constitution: 6 December 1978, effective 29 December 1978

    Legal system: civil law system, with regional applications; does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

    Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

    Executive branch:
    chief of state: King JUAN CARLOS I (since 22 November 1975); Heir Apparent Prince FELIPE, son of the monarch, born 30 January 1968
    head of government: President of the Government Jose Maria AZNAR Lopez (since 5 May 1996); First Vice President Francisco ALVAREZ CASCOS Fernandez (since 5 May 1996) and Second Vice President (and Minister of Economy and Finance) Rodrigo RATO Figaredo (since 5 May 1996)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers designated by the president
    note: there is also a Council of State that is the supreme consultative organ of the government
    elections: the monarch is hereditary; president proposed by the monarch and elected by the National Assembly following legislative elections; election last held 3 March 1996 (next to be held by NA April 2000); vice presidents appointed by the monarch on proposal of the president
    election results: Jose Maria AZNAR elected president; percent of National Assembly vote—NA

    Legislative branch: bicameral; the General Courts or National Assembly or Las Cortes Generales consists of the Senate or Senado (256 seats—208 members directly elected by popular vote and the other 48 appointed by the regional legislatures to serve four-year terms) and the Congress of Deputies or Congreso de los Diputados (350 seats; members are elected by popular vote on block lists by proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
    elections: Senate—last held 3 March 1996 (next to be held by April 2000); Congress of Deputies—last held 3 March 1996 (next to be held by April 2000)
    election results: Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—PP 132, PSOE 96, CiU 11, PNV 6, IU 2, others 9; Congress of Deputies—percent of vote by party—PP 38.9%, PSOE 37.5%, IU 10.7%, CiU 4.6%; seats by party—PP 156, PSOE 141, IU 21, CiU 16, other 16

    Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo

    Political parties and leaders:
    principal national parties, from right to left: Popular Party or PP [Jose Maria AZNAR Lopez]; Spanish Socialist Workers Party or PSOE [Joaquin ALMUNIA Amann, secretary general]; Spanish Communist Party or PCE [Julio ANGUITA Gonzalez]; United Left or IU (a coalition of parties including the PCE and other small parties) [Julio ANGUITA Gonzalez]
    chief regional parties: Convergence and Union or CiU [Jordi PUJOL i Soley, secretary general] (a coalition of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia or CDC [Jordi PUJOL i Soley] and the Democratic Union of Catalonia or UDC [Josep Antoni DURAN y LLEIDA]); Basque Nationalist Party or PNV [Xabier ARZALLUS Antia]; Canarian Coalition or CC (a coalition of five parties) [Lorenzo OLLARTE Cullen]

    Political pressure groups and leaders: on the extreme left, the Basque Fatherland and Liberty or ETA and the First of October Antifascist Resistance Group or GRAPO use terrorism to oppose the government; Euskal Herritarok or EH [Herri BATASUNA]; free labor unions (authorized in April 1977); Workers Confederation or CC.OO; the Socialist General Union of Workers or UGT and the smaller independent Workers Syndical Union or USO; business and landowning interests; the Catholic Church; Opus Dei; university students

    International organization participation: AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MTCR, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIBH, UNU, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Antonio OYARZABAL MARCHESI
    chancery: 2375 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
    telephone: [1] (202) 452-0100, 728-2340
    FAX: [1] (202) 833-5670
    consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Edward L. ROMERO
    embassy: Serrano 75, 28006 Madrid
    mailing address: APO AE 09642
    telephone: [34] (91) 587-2200
    FAX: [34] (91) 587-2303
    consulate(s) general: Barcelona

    Flag description: three horizontal bands of red (top), yellow (double width), and red with the national coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band; the coat of arms includes the royal seal framed by the Pillars of Hercules, which are the two promontories (Gibraltar and Ceuta) on either side of the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)