Basque Country (autonomous community)
The Basque Country the Basque Autonomous Community is an autonomous community in northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava and Gipuzkoa; the Basque Country or Basque Autonomous Community was granted the status of nationality within Spain, attributed by the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The autonomous community is based on the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country, a foundational legal document providing the framework for the development of the Basque people on Spanish soil. Navarre, which had narrowly rejected a joint statue of autonomy with Gipuzkoa, Álava and Biscay in 1932, was granted a separate statute in 1982. There is no official capital in the autonomous community, but the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, in the province of Álava, is the de facto capital as the location of the Basque Parliament, the headquarters of the Basque Government, the residence of the President of the Basque Autonomous Community; the High Court of Justice of the Basque Country has its headquarters in the city of Bilbao.
Whilst Vitoria-Gasteiz is the largest municipality in area, with 277 km2, Bilbao is the largest in population, with 353,187 people, located in the province of Biscay within a conurbation of 875,552 people. The term Basque Country may refer to the larger cultural region, the home of the Basque people, which includes the autonomous community; the following provinces make up the autonomous community: Álava, capital Vitoria-Gasteiz Biscay, capital Bilbao-Bilbo Gipuzkoa, capital Donostia-San Sebastián The Basque Country borders Cantabria and the Burgos province to the west, the Bay of Biscay to the north and Navarre to the east and La Rioja to the south. The territory has three distinct areas, which are defined by the two parallel ranges of the Basque Mountains; the main range of mountains forms the watershed between the Mediterranean basins. The highest point of the range is in the Aizkorri massif; the three areas are: Formed by many valleys with short rivers that flow from the mountains to the Bay of Biscay, like the Nervión, Urola or Oria.
The coast is rough, with small inlets. The main features of the coast are the Bilbao Abra Bay and the Estuary of Bilbao, the Urdaibai estuary and the Bidasoa-Txingudi Bay that forms the border with France. Between the two mountain ranges, the area is occupied by a high plateau called Llanada Alavesa, where the capital Vitoria-Gasteiz is located; the rivers flow south from the mountains to the Ebro River. The main rivers are the Zadorra Bayas River. From the southern mountains to the Ebro is the so-called Rioja Alavesa, which shares the Mediterranean characteristics of other Ebro Valley zones; some of Spain's production of Rioja wine takes place here. The Basque Mountains form the watershed and mark the distinct climatic areas of the Basque Country: The northern valleys, in Biscay and Gipuzkoa and the valley of Ayala in Álava, are part of Green Spain, where the oceanic climate is predominant, with its wet weather all year round and moderate temperatures. Precipitation average is about 1200 mm; the middle section is influenced more by the continental climate, but with a varying degree of the northern oceanic climate.
This gives cold, snowy winters. The Ebro valley has a pure continental climate: winters are cold and dry and summers warm and dry, with precipitation peaking in spring and autumn. Precipitation is irregular, as low as 300 mm. Half of the 2,155,546 inhabitants of the Basque Autonomous Community live in Greater Bilbao, Bilbao's metropolitan area. Of the ten most populous cities, six form part of Bilbao's conurbation, known as Greater Bilbao. With 28.2% of the Basque population born outside this region, immigration is crucial to Basque demographics. Over the 20th century most of this immigration came from other parts of Spain from Galicia or Castile and León. Over recent years, sizeable numbers of this population have returned to their birthplaces and most immigration to the Basque country now comes from abroad, chiefly from South America. Roman Catholicism is, by far, the largest religion in the Basque Country. In 2012, the proportion of Basques that identified themselves as Roman Catholic was 58.6%, while it is one of the most secularised communities of Spain: 24.6% were non-religious and 12.3% of Basques were atheist.
Bilbao-Bilbo Vitoria-Gasteiz San Sebastián-Donostia Barakaldo Getxo Irun Portugalete Santurtzi Basauri Errenteria Spanish and Basque are co-official in all territories of the autonomous community. The Basque-speaking areas in the modern-day autonomous community are set against the wider context of the Basque language, spoken to the east in Navarre and the French Basque Country; the whole Basque speaking territory has experienced both expansion in its history. The Basque language experienced a gradual territorial contraction throughout the last nine centuries, severe deterioration of its sociolinguistic status for much of the 20th century due to heavy immigration from other parts of Spain, the virtual nonexistence of Basque language schooling, national policies implemented by the different Spanish régimes. After the advent of the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Countr
Basque nationalism is a form of nationalism that asserts that Basques, an ethnic group indigenous to the western Pyrenees, are a nation, promotes the political unity of the Basques. Since its inception in the late 19th century, Basque nationalism has included separatist movements. Basque nationalism, spanning three different regions in two states is "irredentist in nature" as it favors political unification of all the Basque-speaking provinces. Basque nationalism is rooted in Carlism and the loss, by the laws of 1839 and 1876, of the Ancien Régime relationship between the Spanish Basque provinces and the crown of Spain. During this period, the reactionary and the liberal brand of the pro-fueros movement pleaded for the maintenance of the fueros system and territorial autonomy against the centralizing pressures from liberal or conservative governments in Madrid; the Spanish government suppressed the fueros after the Third Carlist War. The fueros were the native decision making and justice system issued from consuetudinary law prevailing in the Basque territories and Pyrenees.
They are first recorded in the Kingdom of Navarre, confirming its charter system across the western Basque territories during the High Middle Ages. In the wake of Castile's conquest of Gipuzkoa, Álava and Durango, the fueros were ratified by the kings of Castile and acted as part of the Basque legal system dealing with matters regarding the political ties of the Basque districts with the crown; the Fueros guaranteed the Basques a separate position in Spain with their own tax and political status. While its corpus is extensive, prerogatives contained in them set out for one that Basques were not subject to direct levee to the Castilian army, although many volunteered; the native Basque institutions and laws were abolished in 1876 after the Third Carlist War, replaced by the Basque Economic Agreements. The levelling process with other Spanish regions disquieted the Basques. According to Sabino Arana's views, the Biscayan personality was being diluted in the idea of an exclusive Spanish nation fostered by centralist authorities in Madrid.
Arana was inspired by his brother Luis, a co-designer of the Basque flag ikurriña, a major nationalist figure after Sabino's death. Arana felt that not only the Basque personality was endangered but its former religious institutions, like Church or the Society of Jesus, which still spoke in Basque to its parishioners, unlike school or administration. Sabino characterized Catholicism as a sort of shelter for Basque personality; this became a point of contention with other personalities holding like views and clustering around Arana's manifesto Bizkaya por su independencia. Industrialist and prominent Basque nationalist Ramon de la Sota dismissed Sabino's positions of Catholicism as inherent to the national issue. In 1893, the Gamazada popular uprising erupted in Navarre against the breach by the Spanish government of several foundations of the treaties ending the Carlist Wars. Arana eagerly supported the Navarrese outbreak by participating; the widespread protest in Navarre sparked solidarity in Biscay.
In 1893, after a support meeting held in Gernika attended by pro-fueros personalities, a group led by Arana overtly blamed Spain for the current state of matters, going on to set a Spanish flag ablaze. This rebellion, called the Sanrocada, is held as the beginning of political Basque nationalism. In 1895, the Basque Nationalist Party was founded around Arana, his nationalism shifted from a focus on Biscay to the rest of Basque territories. The program of Arana was specified as follows: The Basques represent a nation, with their own history and culture; this nation consists of language and an own political system. The liberty of Euzkadi has been destroyed by France and by Spain, who subjugated by force the different Basque territories, including the former Kingdom of Navarre’s territories, with the exception La Rioja, as well as Lapurdi and Zuberoa; as a consequence of the lack of independence of the country, the country has a political despondency, which has its last expression in the suppression of the Basque Traditional Laws and its own institutional system, the economic submission towards France and Spain, the disappearance of the signs of identity.
The solution to all these problems is to restore independence, by breaking the political ties with France and Spain, the construction of a Basque state with its own sovereignty. By the end of the 19th century, Arana differed from the Carlists, his initial background, he accompanied his views with an ideology centred on the purity of the Basque race and its alleged moral supremacy over other Spaniards, deep opposition to the mass-immigration of other Spaniards to the Basque Country. The immigration had started after the boom of manufacturing related to the ore exportation to England and privatization of communal lands and exploitations as the fueros were lost. Arana died in 1903 months after releasing a controversial manifesto renouncing his former tenets while in prison for supporting Cuban independence, just months after the Basque leader congratulated US president Theodore Roosevelt for its support to Cuba; the nature of that document is still subject to discussion. Luis Arana took the reins of the Basque Nationalist Party.
In the early 20th century, Basque nationalism, developed from a nucleus of enthusiasts (
Lekeitio is a town and municipality located in the province of Biscay, in the Spanish Autonomous Community of Basque Country, 53 km northeast from Bilbao. The municipality has 7,293 inhabitants and is one of the most important fishing ports of the Basque coast. Tourism has an important role during the summer seasons, when the town is a resort with one beach called Isunza and the nearby Carraspio beach in the town of Mendexa; the most important monument is the church of a gothic basilica from the 15th century. Lekeitio is the birthplace of Resurrección María de Azkue, one of the most important Basque scholars of the 19th century; the celebration of San Pedro takes place from June 29, saints day, to July 1. It begins with a mass in honor of a procession with his image; the mass is celebrated in the church of Santa Maria, from there the procession starts to walk the streets of the town. The festivities are in honor of the patron of the town, San Antolin, are celebrated from 1 to 8 September. One of the most popular parts of the festival geese.
This is held on 5 September, the aim being to hold on for as long as possible to a goose, hanging from a rope that crosses the harbor from one dock to the other. The rope has one side fixed and on the other side there is a group of men pulling the rope to raise and lower it. In the middle of the rope there is a goose drenched in oil. There are a lot of boats that take part and all of them have to go, in the order assigned through a random lottery in the morning, to the place the goose is and one participant from each boat has to grab the goose by the neck as as possible. Once the boat has advanced to the front, the men at the end of the rope start pulling it, lifting the goose with the member holding it. Once the participants reach the top, the men let him drop from there, before pulling him up again, they continue like that until the participant lets the goose go or until the neck of the goose gets broken. The one who makes most elevations wins the competition; this day has been documented since the 5th century and it is said that its origins are older.
This act has been celebrated since 1877. The geese run, as it is called, was done on land. Several changes have taken place in this festival because in the past all the boats were sailed by 13 sailors. Only sailors were allowed to participate and there were strict regulations governing the speed and size of the boat, which had to be manned by 12 oarsmen and the captain. If there was any doubt about the winner they arranged a race; the festival is controversial among animal rights activists, who have called for it to be stopped. During the festival people wear denim work clothes combined with a white shirt. A 15m-long panel of etchings was discovered in the Armintxe Cave in 2016. Two of the etchings were of lions - the first seen in Basque Country; the art dates from 12,000 to 14,500 years ago. Resurrección María de Azkue: Priest, writer and culture promoter. One of the creators of Euskaltzaindia and the first Euskaltzailburu, or head of Euskaltzaindia. Santiago Brouard: Doctor and politician, member of Herri Batasuna.
Member of the Spanish senate and deputy mayor of Bilbao. Buenaventura Zapirain: Composer and organist. Eusebio Erkiaga: Writer. Miren Agur Meabe: Writer. LEKEITIO in the Bernardo Estornés Lasa - Auñamendi Encyclopedia Lekeitio Town Hall Basilic of Lekeitio and Assumption of Saint Mary Basque Country, Without Borders Lekitxo Interneten. Web site information of Lekeitio
Revolutionary socialism is the socialist doctrine that social revolution is necessary in order to bring about structural changes to society. More it is the view that revolution is a necessary precondition for a transition from capitalism to socialism. Revolution is not defined as a violent insurrection. Revolutionary socialists believe such a state of affairs is a precondition for establishing socialism and orthodox Marxists believe that it is inevitable but not predetermined. Revolutionary socialism encompasses multiple political and social movements that may define "revolution" differently from one another; these include movements based on orthodox Marxist theory, such as De Leonism and Luxemburgism. Revolutionary socialism includes non-Marxist movements, such as those found in anarchism, revolutionary syndicalism, democratic socialism, it is used in contrast to the reformism of social democracy and other evolutionary approaches to socialism. Revolutionary socialism is opposed to social movements that seek to ameliorate the economic and social problems of capitalism through political reform.
Revolutionary socialism exists in contrast to the concept of small revolutionary groups seizing power without first achieving mass support, termed Blanquism. In The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote: The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air. Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle; the proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie. In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat; the Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class.
They declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. Twenty-four years after The Communist Manifesto and Engels admitted that in developed countries "labour may attain its goal by peaceful means". Marxist scholar Adam Schaff argued that Marx and Lenin have expressed such view "on many occasions". By contrast, the Blanquist view emphasised the overthrow by force of the ruling elite in government by an active minority of revolutionaries, who proceed to implement socialist change, disregarding the state of readiness of society as a whole and the mass of the population in particular for revolutionary change. In 1875, the Social Democratic Party of Germany published a somewhat reformist Gotha Program, attacked by Marx in Critique of the Gotha Program, where he reiterated the need for dictatorship of the proletariat; the reformist viewpoint was introduced into Marxist thought by Eduard Bernstein, one of the leaders of the SPD.
From 1896 to 1898, Bernstein published a series of articles entitled "Probleme des Sozialismus". These articles led to a debate on revisionism in the SPD and can be seen as the origins of a reformist trend within Marxism. In 1900, Rosa Luxemburg wrote a polemic against Bernstein's position; the work of reforms, Luxemburg argued, could only be carried on "in the framework of the social form created by the last revolution". In order to advance society to socialism from the capitalist'social form', a social revolution will be necessary: Bernstein, thundering against the conquest of political power as a theory of Blanquist violence, has the misfortune of labeling as a Blanquist error that which has always been the pivot and the motive force of human history. From the first appearance of class societies, having class struggle as the essential content of their history, the conquest of political power has been the aim of all rising classes. Here is the starting point and end of every historic period…In modern times, we see it in the struggle of the bourgeoisie against feudalism.
Vladimir Lenin attacked Bernstein's position in his What Is To Be Done? When Bernstein first put forward his ideas, the majority of the SPD rejected them; the 1899 Congress of the SPD reaffirmed the Erfurt programme. The 1903 congress denounced "revisionist efforts". On 4 August 1914, the SPD members of the Reichstag voted for the government's war budget while the French and Belgium socialists publicly supported and joined their governments; the Zimmerwald Conference in September 1915, attended by Lenin and Leon Trotsky, saw the beginning of the end of the uneasy coexistence of revolutionary socialists and reformist socialists in the parties of Second International. The conference adopted a proposal by Trotsky to avoid an immediate split with the Second International. At first opposed to it, in the end Lenin voted for Trotsky's resolution to avoid a split among anti-war socialists. In December, 1915 and March, 1916, eighteen Social Democratic representatives, the Haase-Ledebour Group, voted against war credits and were expelled from the So
Basque Country (greater region)
The Basque Country is the name given to the home of the Basque people. The Basque country is located in the western Pyrenees, straddling the border between France and Spain on the coast of the Bay of Biscay. Euskal Herria is the oldest documented Basque name for the area they inhabit, dating from the 16th century, it comprises the Autonomous Communities of the Basque Country and Navarre in Spain and the Northern Basque Country in France. The region is home to the Basque people, their language and traditions; the area is neither linguistically nor culturally homogeneous, certain areas have a majority of people who do not consider themselves Basque, such as the south of Navarre. The name in Basque is Euskal Herria; the name is difficult to translate into other languages due to the wide range of meanings of the Basque word herri. It can be translated as nation; the first part, Euskal, is the adjectival form of Euskara "the Basque language". Thus a more literal translation would be "country/nation/people/settlement of the Basque language", a concept difficult to render into a single word in most other languages.
The two earliest references are in Joan Perez de Lazarraga's manuscript, dated around 1564–1567 as eusquel erria and eusquel erriau and heuscal herrian and Heuscal-Herrian in Joanes Leizarraga's Bible translation, published in 1571. The term Basque Country refers to a collection of regions inhabited by the Basque people, known as Euskal Herria in Basque language, it is first attested as including seven traditional territories in Axular's literary work Gero, in the early 17th century; some Basques refer to the seven traditional districts collectively as Zazpiak Bat, meaning "The Seven One", a motto coined in the late 19th century. The Northern Basque Country, known in Basque as Iparralde is the part of the Basque Country that lies within France as part of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques départment of France, as such it is usually known as French Basque Country. In most contemporary sources it covers the arrondissement of Bayonne and the cantons of Mauléon-Licharre and Tardets-Sorholus, but sources disagree on the status of the village of Esquiule.
Within these conventions, the area of Northern Basque Country is 2,995 square kilometres. The French Basque Country is traditionally subdivided into three provinces: Labourd, historical capital Ustaritz, main settlement today Bayonne Lower Navarre, historical capitals Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and Saint-Palais, main settlement today Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port Soule, historical capital Mauléon However, this summary presentation makes it hard to justify the inclusion of a few communes in the lower Adour region; as emphasized by Jean Goyhenetche, it would be more accurate to depict it as the reunion of five entities: Labourd, Lower Navarre, Soule but Bayonne and Gramont. The Southern Basque Country, known in Basque as Hegoalde is the part of the Basque region that lies within Spain, as such it is also known as Spanish Basque Country, it is the largest and most populated part of the Basque Country. It includes two main regions: the Basque Autonomous Community and the Chartered Community of Navarre; the Basque Autonomous Community consists of three provinces designated "historical territories": Álava Biscay Gipuzkoa The Chartered Community of Navarre is a single-province autonomous community.
Its name refers to the Fueros of Navarre. The Spanish Constitution of 1978 states that Navarre may become a part of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country if it is so decided by its people and institutions. To date, there has been no implementation of this law. Despite demands for a referendum by minority leftist forces and Basque nationalists in Navarre, it has been opposed by mainstream Spanish parties and Navarrese People's Union; the latter has asked for an amendment to the Constitution to remove this clause. In addition to those, two enclaves located outside of the respective autonomous community are cited as being part of both the Basque Autonomous Community and the Basque Country: The Treviño enclave, a Castilian enclave in Álava Valle de Villaverde, a Cantabrian exclave in Biscay Navarre holds two small administrative strips in Aragon, organised as Petilla de Aragón; the Basque Country region is dominated by a warm and wet oceanic climate and the coastal area is part of Green Spain and by extension it affects Bayonne and Biarritz as well.
Inland areas in Navarre and the southern regions of the autonomous community are transitional with continental mediterranean climate with somewhat larger temperature swings between seasons. The list only sources locations in Spain, but Bayonne/Biarritz have a similar climate as nearby Hondarribia on the Spanish side of the border; the values do not apply to San Sebastián since its weather station is at a higher elevation than the urban core where temperatures are higher year-round and similar to those in Bilbao and Hon
Supreme Court of Spain
The Supreme Court is the highest court in Spain for all matters not pertaining to the Spanish Constitution. The court meets in the Convent of the Salesas Reales in Madrid and consists of a president and an indeterminate number of magistrates, appointed to the five chambers of the court; the Supreme Court can provide finality in all legal issues. It can exercise original jurisdiction over matters of great importance but functions as an appellate court able to investigate procedural irregularities arising from actions in the national courts or Provincial courts, it can order ordinary and extraordinary remedies against decisions of lower courts according to the provisions of Spanish law. The Supreme Court is responsible for processing substantial complaints of wrongdoing against prominent persons such as government ministers, senators representatives and members of the various regional parliaments, senior judges, including the President and judges of the Constitutional Court, the highest tribunal in the country.
It processes formal applications by the procurator to outlaw political parties, there is no avenue of appeal against a Supreme Court decision although in criminal matters, the Crown may exercise the prerogative of mercy to invalidate sentences imposed or ratified by the Supreme Court, but constitutionally, such appeals are resolved by the Council of Ministers and formalized by the monarch, as head of state. Supreme Court decisions may, exceptionally, be overruled by the Constitutional Court if there has been an infringement of rights and freedoms of citizens embodied in the Spanish Constitution of 1978 or by decisions emanating from the European Court of Human Rights since Spain is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights; the Supreme Court is one of the three branches of the Spanish government, alongside the legislature and the executive The legislature formulates laws, The executive, proposes laws and regulations and enforces those actions that the legislature endorses via administrative orders which can be reinforced by police action or armed force.
The Supreme Court provides remedies where that enforcement is found to be unjust or disproportional against the standard set by either law, as defined by the legislature or the Spanish Constitution of 1978 or the Human rights provisions in forceTo ensure its independence, the Supreme Court has the prerogative to enforce its actions under the principle of obedience to final judicial decisions enshrined in the Constitution. Most its resolutions are reliable since they are solutions to appeal against the considered decisions of lower courts; the Supreme Court is the only entity that can order the detention of members of its own judiciary or the legislature or executive authorities and impeach them according to the additional civil and criminal obligations, which, by law, it must discharge diligently in the performance of their official duties. Peer review is provided by the General Council of the Judiciary, a panel of senior Supreme Court judges that monitors the Supreme Court practice and operation, but the decisions of this Council are advisory and may be annulled by due process in a Supreme Court action.
The Supreme Court is divided into five chambers, each dealing with a specific areas of Spanish law that may affect ordinary citizens and four special chambers dealing with state issues. First Chamber of Civil Law Second Chamber of Criminal Law Third Chamber of Contentious-Administrative law Fourth Chamber of Labour law Fifth Chamber of Military Law The Special unnamed Chamber of Article #61 of the General law of the Judiciary deals with process of outlawing political parties, the investigation and correction of judicial error on reporting and accountability in the exercise of judicial functions and other legal processes of particular importance; the tribunal is composed of the Chief Justice, sitting with the serving presidents of the five Chambers, one independent senior judge. The Board of Conflicts of Jurisdiction resolves conflicts of jurisdiction arising between members of different judicial branches such as overlaps or lacunas between different courts or where claims or denials of competence by different chambers are incompatible.
The Chief Justice and one Judge drawn of each of the Boards supervising jurisdictions where conflict has arisen. The Board of Jurisdictional Disputes resolves conflicts and deficiencies arising between the ordinary civil courts and organs of military justice; the Chief Justice, two Judges of the Board for the relevant civil court plus two judges from the military chamber. The Court of Jurisdictional Disputes resolves conflicts and deficiencies arising between the jurisdictional responsibilities of a civil court, the Courts Martial or Administrative courts, it is composed of the Chief Justice, two Judges of the Sala Tercera, three permanent directors of the Spanish Council of State. President of the First Chamber: Francisco Marín Castán. President of the Second Chamber: Manuel Marchena. President of the Third Chamber: Luis María Díez-Picazo Giménez. President of the Fourth Chamber: Jesús Gullón Rodríguez. President of the Fifth Chamber: Ángel Calderón Cerezo. In subordination to the General Council of the Judiciary, the Supreme Court's governing bodies are responsible for hearing and resolving administrative issues that may arise: The Office of The Chief Justice.
The Administration Division of the Supreme Court, comprising the Chief Justice, the Pre
Congress of Deputies
The Congress of Deputies is the lower house of the Cortes Generales, Spain's legislative branch. It is located in the Palace of the Parliament, it has 350 members elected by constituencies by proportional representation using the D'Hondt method. Deputies serve four-year terms; the President of the Congress of Deputies presides over debates. In the Congress, members of the Parliament from the political parties, or groups of parties, form parliamentary groups. Groups must be formed by at least 15 deputies, but a group can be formed with only five deputies if the parties got at least 5% of the nationwide vote, or 15% of the votes in the constituencies in which they ran; the deputies belonging to parties who cannot create their own parliamentary group form the Mixed Group.. In June 2018, 41.72% of the deputies were women, being the third European country with more women in the lower house, after Sweden and Finland and same proportion as Norway. The Spanish Constitution establishes in the Article 68.1 that the Congress of Deputies must be composed of among 300 deputies at least and 400 deputies at most.
At present, the chamber has 350 deputies, determined by the General Electoral Regime Organic Law, approved in 1985. The Spanish Constitution establishes that the deputies are chosen by universal, equal and secret suffrage; the election is held every four years or before in case of snap election. The members of the Congress are elected by proportional representation with closed lists in each constituency, which means they are appointed by the political parties. There are 50 multi-member constituencies for the Congress of Deputies which belong to the 50 provinces of Spain and the two single-member constituencies which belong to two autonomous cities. According to the Spanish Electoral Law, each province must elect two deputies at least. In this way, there are 102 deputies apportioned; the other 248 deputies are allocated proportionally to the citizenships. This distribution can change a bit in each election and it is specified when writs are dropped. After the General Election, seats are assigned to the electoral lists in each constituency.
For this distribution the D'Hondt method is used in each constituency separately. This distributes seats to parties in proportion to the number of votes each received in the constituency. A proportional system would result in fractional seats; the D'Hondt method resolves this, in a manner that favors larger parties. Moreover, there is an election threshold of 3%; the 5/1985 Organic Law, 19 June, of the General Electoral Regime establishes a 3% minimum valid votes in its constituency requirement in order to take a party into account in the seats' distribution in that constituency. The last item is only applied in the provinces. At present, this condition is only fulfilled by Barcelona. In March 2011, the General Electoral Regime Organic Law was remodeled so that the parties which are not represented neither at the Congress nor at the Senate have to collect signatures to support the candidacy in order to be able to run in the election. 0.1% of signatures of the electoral register in each constituency are needed.
Each citizen can only sign once for each candidacy. The Electoral Board will establish the details of the collection of signatures. With this system, the least populated provinces are overrepresented as the population is lower than other provinces which are still awarded one seat, than if the seats would be distributed in proportion to the population of each province; the most populated provinces are underrepresented. This system tends to favour the biggest political parties. In spite of using a proportional representation system, the electoral system of the Congress of Deputies favours the creation of a two-party system, it is due to different reasons such as: The large disparity of population between the provinces. Despite the smaller provinces being overrepresented, the number of deputies assigned to each one is small and tends to go to the two main parties; the election threshold of 3% only acts in the provincies which elect more than 30 deputies, Madrid and Barcelona. In the rest of constituencies where fewer seats are distributed, the real barrier to enter to the Congress is meaningfully larger.
For example, the barrier of the provinces which have 3 seats is 25%. The average of seats per constituency is one of the lowest of Europe; that is because of the use of provinces as constituencies. The number of useful votes is big, there is a great number of votes which can not affect to the result because they have been emitted for a political party which has not got representation in the constituency where votes have been emitted; the D'Hondt method favours the biggest parties compared to other electoral formulas such as the Webster/Sainte-Laguë method or the largest remainder method. However, the influence of the D'Hondt method in the bipolarization of the electoral system is limited compared to the factors mentioned above; the size of the Congress of Deputies is small, together with the aforementioned factors, may favour the biggest parties and a disproportional distribution. The deputies' term of office finishes four ye