Spain/Government

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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, Cataluña, Communidad Valencian, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia and País Vasco.
note: there are five places of sovereignty near 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 12 March 2000 (next to be held NA 2004); vice presidents appointed by the monarch on proposal of the president
election results: Jose Maria AZNAR Lopez (PP) elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 44%

Legislative branch: bicameral; General Courts or National Assembly or Las Cortes Generales consists of the Senate or Senado (259 seats - 208 members directly elected by popular vote and the other 51 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 12 March 2000 (next to be held NA March 2004); Congress of Deputies - last held 12 March 2000 (next to be held NA March 2004)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PP 127, PSOE 61, CiU 8, PNV 6, CC 5, PIL 1; Congress of Deputies - percent of vote by party - PP 44.5%, PSOE 34%, CiU 4.2%, IU 5.4%, PNV 1.5%, CC 1%, BNG 1.3%; seats by party - PP 183, PSOE 125, CiU 15, IU 8, PNV 7, CC 4, BNG 3, other 5

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo

Political parties and leaders: Popular Party or PP [Jose Maria AZNAR Lopez]; Spanish Communist Party or PCE [Francisco FRUTOS]; Spanish Socialist Workers Party or PSOE [Joaquin ALMUNIA Amann, secretary general]; United Left or IU (a coalition of parties including the PCE and other small parties) [Francisco FRUTOS]; Basque Nationalist Party or PNV [Xabier ARZALLUS Antia]; Canarian Coalition or CC (a coalition of five parties) [Lorenzo OLARTE Cullen]; 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]); Galician Nationalist Bloc or BNG [Xose Manuel BEIRAS]; Party of Independents from Lanzarote or PIL [leader NA];

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

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), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNTAET, 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