Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, hierarchy and property rights. Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as religion, parliamentary government, property rights, with the aim of emphasizing social stability and continuity; the more extreme elements—reactionaries—oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were". The first established use of the term in a political context originated in 1818 with François-René de Chateaubriand during the period of Bourbon Restoration that sought to roll back the policies of the French Revolution. Associated with right-wing politics, the term has since been used to describe a wide range of views. There is no single set of policies regarded as conservative because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time, thus conservatives from different parts of the world—each upholding their respective traditions—may disagree on a wide range of issues.
Edmund Burke, an 18th-century politician who opposed the French Revolution but supported the American Revolution, is credited as one of the main theorists of conservatism in Great Britain in the 1790s. According to Quintin Hogg, the chairman of the British Conservative Party in 1959: "Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself". In contrast to the tradition-based definition of conservatism, some political theorists such as Corey Robin define conservatism in terms of a general defense of social and economic inequality. From this perspective, conservatism is less an attempt to uphold traditional institutions and more, "a meditation on—and theoretical rendition of—the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, trying to win it back". Liberal conservatism incorporates the classical liberal view of minimal government intervention in the economy.
Individuals should be free to participate in the market and generate wealth without government interference. However, individuals cannot be depended on to act responsibly in other spheres of life, therefore liberal conservatives believe that a strong state is necessary to ensure law and order and social institutions are needed to nurture a sense of duty and responsibility to the nation. Liberal conservatism is a variant of conservatism, influenced by liberal stances; as these latter two terms have had different meanings over time and across countries, liberal conservatism has a wide variety of meanings. The term referred to the combination of economic liberalism, which champions laissez-faire markets, with the classical conservatism concern for established tradition, respect for authority and religious values, it contrasted itself with classical liberalism, which supported freedom for the individual in both the economic and social spheres. Over time, the general conservative ideology in many countries adopted economic liberal arguments and the term liberal conservatism was replaced with conservatism.
This is the case in countries where liberal economic ideas have been the tradition such as the United States and are thus considered conservative. In other countries where liberal conservative movements have entered the political mainstream, such as Italy and Spain, the terms liberal and conservative may be synonymous; the liberal conservative tradition in the United States combines the economic individualism of the classical liberals with a Burkean form of conservatism. A secondary meaning for the term liberal conservatism that has developed in Europe is a combination of more modern conservative views with those of social liberalism; this has developed as an opposition to the more collectivist views of socialism. This involves stressing what are now conservative views of free market economics and belief in individual responsibility, with social liberal views on defence of civil rights and support for a limited welfare state. In continental Europe, this is sometimes translated into English as social conservatism.
Conservative liberalism is a variant of liberalism that combines liberal values and policies with conservative stances, or more the right-wing of the liberal movement. The roots of conservative liberalism are found at the beginning of the history of liberalism; until the two World Wars, in most European countries the political class was formed by conservative liberals, from Germany to Italy. Events after World War I brought the more radical version of classical liberalism to a more conservative type of liberalism. Libertarian conservatism describes certain political ideologies within the United States and Canada which combine libertarian economic issues with aspects of conservatism, its four main branches are constitutionalism, paleolibertarianism, small government conservatism and Christian libertarianism. They differ from paleoconservatives, in that they are in favor of more personal and economic freedom. Agorists such as Samuel Edward Konkin III labeled libertarian conservatism right-libertarianism.
In contrast to paleoconservatives, libertarian conservatives support strict laissez-faire policies such as free trade, opposition to any national bank and opposition to business regulations. They are vehemently opposed to environmental regulations, corporate welfare and other areas of economic intervention. Many conservatives in the United States, be
Aragon is an autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces: Huesca and Teruel, its capital is Zaragoza. The current Statute of Autonomy declares Aragon a historic nationality of Spain. Covering an area of 47720 km2, the region's terrain ranges diversely from permanent glaciers to verdant valleys, rich pasture lands and orchards, through to the arid steppe plains of the central lowlands. Aragon is home to many rivers—most notably, the river Ebro, Spain's largest river in volume, which runs west-east across the entire region through the province of Zaragoza, it is home to the highest mountains of the Pyrenees. As of January 2016, the population of Aragon was 1308563, with over half of it living in its capital city, Zaragoza. During the same year, the economy of Aragon generates a GDP of €34687 million, which represents 3.1% of Spain's national GDP, is 6th in per capita production behind Madrid, Basque Country, Catalonia and La Rioja.
In addition to its three provinces, Aragon is subdivided into counties. All comarcas of Aragon have a rich geopolitical and cultural history from its pre-Roman and Roman days, four centuries of Islamic period as Marca Superior of Al-Andalus or kingdom of Saraqusta, as lands that once belonged to the Frankish Marca Hispanica, counties that formed the Kingdom of Aragon and the Crown of Aragon; the current coat of arms of Aragon is composed of the four barracks and is attested for the first time in 1499, consolidating since the Early Modern Ages to take root decisively in the 19th century and be approved, according to precept, by the Real Academia de la Historia in 1921. The first quartering appears at the end of the 15th century and commemorates, according to traditional interpretation, the legendary kingdom of Sobrarbe; this emblem of gules and gold was used in seals, banners and standards indistinctly, not being but a familiar emblem that denoted the authority as King of Aragon until, with the birth of Modern State, began to be a territorial symbol.
The current flag was approved in 1984, with the provisions of Article 3 of the Statute of Autonomy of Aragon, the flag is the traditional of the four horizontal red bars on a yellow background with the coat of arms of Aragon shifted towards the flagpole. The bars of Aragon, common historic element of the current four autonomous communities that once were integrated into the Crown of Aragon, present in the third quartering of the coat of arms of Spain; the anthem of Aragon was regulated in 1989 with music by the Aragonese composer Antón García Abril that combines the old Aragonese musical tradition with popular musical elements within a modern conception. The lyrics were elaborated by the Aragonese poets Ildefonso Manuel Gil, Ángel Guinda, Rosendo Tello and Manuel Vilas and highlights within its poetic framework, values such as freedom, reason, open land... that represent the expression of Aragon as a people. The Day of Aragon is celebrated on April 23 and commemorates Saint George, patron of the Kingdom of Aragon since the 15th century.
It appears in Article 3 of the Statute of Autonomy of Aragon since 1984. Institutional acts such as the delivery of the Aragon Awards by the Government of Aragon or the composition of a flag of Aragon of flowers, with the collaboration of citizens, in the Plaza de Aragón square of Zaragoza; the area of Aragon is 47720 km2 of which 15636 km2 belong to the province of Huesca, 17275 km2 to the province of Zaragoza and 14810 km2 to the province of Teruel. The total represents a 9.43% of the surface of Spain, being thus the fourth autonomous community in size behind Castile and León, Castile-La Mancha. It is located in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, at a latitude between 39º and 43º'N in the temperate zone of the Earth, its boundaries and borders are in the north with France, the regions of, in the west with the autonomous communities of Castile-La Mancha, Castile and León, La Rioja and Navarre and in the east with the autonomous communities of Catalonia and Valencian Community. The orography of the community has as central axis the Ebro valley which tr
1979 Spanish general election
The 1979 Spanish general election was held on Thursday, 1 March 1979, to elect the 1st Cortes Generales of the Kingdom of Spain. All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies were up for election, as well as all 208 seats in the Senate; this was the first election held under the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The Union of the Democratic Centre remained the largest party, winning 168 of the 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 119 of the 208 seats in the Senate; as a result, Adolfo Suárez went on to form a minority government, depending on support from Manuel Fraga's Democratic Coalition, which experienced an electoral decline. The Spanish Cortes Generales were envisaged as an imperfect bicameral system; the Congress of Deputies had greater legislative power than the Senate, having the ability to vote confidence in or withdraw it from a Prime Minister and to override Senate vetoes by an absolute majority of votes. Nonetheless, the Senate possessed a few exclusive, yet limited in number functions—such as its role in constitutional amendment—which were not subject to the Congress' override.
Voting for the Cortes Generales was on the basis of universal suffrage, which comprised all nationals over eighteen and in full enjoyment of their political rights. For the Congress of Deputies, 348 seats were elected using the D'Hondt method and a closed list proportional representation, with a threshold of 3 percent of valid votes—which included blank ballots—being applied in each constituency. Parties not reaching the threshold were not taken into consideration for seat distribution. Additionally, the use of the D'Hondt method might result in an effective threshold over three percent, depending on the district magnitude. Seats were allocated to corresponding to the provinces of Spain; each constituency was entitled to an initial minimum of two seats, with the remaining 248 fixed among the constituencies in proportion to their populations, at a rate of one seat per each 144,500 inhabitants or fraction greater than 70,000. Ceuta and Melilla were allocated the two remaining seats. For the Senate, 208 seats were elected using an open list partial block voting, with electors voting for individual candidates instead of parties.
In constituencies electing four seats, electors could vote for up to three candidates. Each of the 47 peninsular provinces was allocated four seats, whereas for insular provinces, such as the Balearic and Canary Islands, districts were the islands themselves, with the larger—Majorca, Gran Canaria and Tenerife—being allocated three seats each, the smaller—Menorca, Ibiza–Formentera, Fuerteventura, La Gomera, El Hierro, Lanzarote and La Palma—one each. Ceuta and Melilla elected two seats each; the law provided for by-elections to fill seats vacated up to two years into the legislature. Additionally, autonomous communities could appoint at least one senator each and were entitled to one additional senator per each million inhabitants; the electoral law provided that parties, federations and groupings of electors were allowed to present lists of candidates. However, groupings of electors were required to secure the signature of at least 0.1 percent of the electors registered in the constituency for which they sought election—needing to secure, in any case, the signature of 500 electors—.
Electors were barred from signing for more than one list of candidates. Concurrently and federations intending to enter in coalition to take part jointly at an election were required to inform the relevant Electoral Commission within fifteen days of the election being called; the term of the Cortes elected in the 1977 election was not to be continued beyond 15 June 1981 in the event they were not dissolved earlier. An election was required to be held within from thirty to sixty days after the date of expiry of the Cortes Generales, setting the latest possible election date for the Cortes Generales on Friday, 14 August 1981; the Prime Minister had the prerogative to dissolve both Houses at any given time—either jointly or separately—and call a snap election, provided that no motion of no confidence was in process, no state of emergency was in force and that dissolution did not occur before one year had elapsed since the previous one. Additionally, both Houses were to be dissolved and a new election called if an investiture process failed to elect a Prime Minister within a two-month period from the first ballot.
Below is a list of the main parties and coalitions which contested the election: The table below lists voting intention estimates in reverse chronological order, showing the most recent first and using the dates when the survey fieldwork was done, as opposed to the date of publication. Where the fieldwork dates are unknown, the date of publication is given instead; the highest percentage figure in each polling survey is displayed with its background shaded in the leading party's colour. If a tie ensues, this is applied to the figures with the highest percentages; the "Lead" column on the right shows the percentage-point difference between the parties with the highest percentages in a given poll. When available, seat projections are displayed below the voting estimates in a smaller font. 176 seats were required for an absolute majority in the Congress of Deputies. Carreras de Odriozola, Albert. Estadísticas históricas de España, siglos XIX-XX. Volume 1. Bilbao: Fundación BBVA. pp. 1072–1097. ISBN 84-96515-00-1.
Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Opinion poll sources Other
Navarre. The capital city is Pamplona; the first documented use of a name resembling Navarra, Nafarroa, or Naparroa is a reference to navarros, in Eginhard's early-9th-century chronicle of the feats of the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne. Other Royal Frankish Annals feature nabarros. There are two proposed etymologies for the name. Basque nabar: "brownish", "multicolour". Basque naba: "valley", "plain" + Basque herri; the linguist Joan Coromines considers naba to be linguistically part of a wider Vasconic or Aquitanian language substrate, rather than Basque per se. During the Roman Empire, the Vascones, a pre-Roman tribe, populated the southern slopes of the Pyrenees, including the area which would become Navarre. In the mountainous north, the Vascones escaped large-scale Roman settlement, except for some coastal areas—for example Oiasso —and the flatter areas to the south, which were amenable to large-scale Roman farming—vineyards and wheat crops. There is no evidence of battles fought or general hostility between Romans and Basques, as they had the same enemies.
Neither the Visigoths nor the Franks completely subjugated the area. The Vascones assimilated neighbouring tribes as of the 7th century AD. In the year 778, the Basques defeated a Frankish army at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass. Following the Battle of Roncevaux Pass, the Basque chieftain Iñigo Arista was elected King of Pamplona supported by the muwallad Banu Qasi of Tudela, establishing a Basque kingdom, called Navarre; that kingdom reached its zenith during the reign of Sancho III, comprising most of the Christian realms to the south of the Pyrenees, a short overlordship of Gascony. When Sancho III died in 1035, the kingdom was divided between his sons, it never recovered its political power, while its commercial importance increased as traders and pilgrims poured into the kingdom via the Way of Saint James. In 1200, Navarre lost the key western Basque districts to Alphonse VIII of Castile, leaving the kingdom landlocked. Navarre contributed with a small but symbolic force of 200 knights to the decisive Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 against the Almohads.
The native line of kings came to an end in 1234. However, the Navarrese kept most of their strong institutions; the death of Queen Blanche I inaugurated a civil war period between the Beaumont and Agramont confederacies with the intervention of the Castilian-Aragonese House of Trastámara in Navarre's internal affairs. In 1512, Navarre was invaded by Ferdinand the Catholic's troops, with Queen Catherine and King John III withdrawing to the north of the Pyrenees, establishing a Kingdom of Navarre-Béarn, led by Queen Joan III as of 1555. To the south of the Pyrenees, Navarre was annexed to the Crown of Castile, but kept a separate ambiguous status, a shaky balance up to 1610—King Henry III ready to march over Spanish Navarre. A Chartered Government was established, the kingdom managed to keep home rule. Tensions with the Spanish government came to a head as of 1794, when Spanish premier Manuel Godoy attempted to suppress Navarrese and Basque self-government altogether, with the end of the First Carlist War bringing the kingdom and its home rule to an end.
After the 1839 Convention of Bergara, a reduced version of home rule was passed in 1839. However, the 1841 Act for the Modification of Fueros made the kingdom into a province after a compromise was reached by the Spanish government with officials of the Provincial Council of Navarre; the relocation of customs from the Ebro river to the Pyrenees in 1841 prompted the collapse of Navarre’s customary cross-Pyrenean trade and the rise of smuggling. Amid instability in Spain, Carlists took over in the rest of the Basque provinces. An actual Basque state was established during the Third Carlist War with Estella as its capital, but King Alfonso XII's restoration in the throne of Spain and a counter-attack prompted the Carlist defeat; the end of the Third Carlist War saw a renewed wave of Spanish centralisation directly affecting Navarre. In 1893–1894 the Gamazada popular uprising took place centred in Pamplona against Madrid's governmental decisions breaching the 1841 chartered provisions. Except for a small faction, all parties in Navarre agreed on the need for a new political framework based on home rule within the Laurak Bat, the Basque districts in Spain.
Among these, the Carlists stood out, who politically dominated the province, resented an increased string of rulings and laws passed by Madrid, as well as left leaning influences. Unlike Biscay or Gipuzkoa, Navarre did not develop manufacturing during this period, remaining a rural economy. In 1932, a Basque Country's separate statute failed to take off over disagreements on the centrality of Catholicism, a scene of political radicalisation ensued dividing the leftist and rightist forces during the 2nd
People's Party (Spain)
The People's Party is a conservative, liberal-conservative and Christian-democratic political party in Spain. The People's Party was a re-foundation in 1989 of the People's Alliance, a party led and founded by Manuel Fraga Iribarne, a former Minister of the Interior and Minister of Tourism during Francisco Franco's dictatorship; the new party combined the conservative AP with several small Christian democratic and liberal parties. In 2002, Manuel Fraga received the honorary title of "Founding Chairman"; the party's youth organization is New Generations of the People's Party of Spain. The PP is a member of the center-right European People's Party, in the European Parliament its 16 MEPs sit in the EPP Group; the PP is a member of the Centrist Democrat International and the International Democrat Union. The PP was one of the founding organizations of the Budapest-based Robert Schuman Institute for Developing Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. On 24 May 2018, the National Court found that the PP profited from the illegal kickbacks-for-contracts scheme of the Gürtel case, confirming the existence of an illegal accounting and financing structure that ran in parallel with the party's official one since the party's foundation in 1989 and ruling that the PP helped establish "a genuine and effective system of institutional corruption through the manipulation of central and local public procurement".
This prompted a no confidence vote on Mariano Rajoy's government, brought down on 1 June 2018 in the first successful motion since the Spanish transition to democracy. On 5 June 2018, Rajoy announced his resignation as PP leader; the party has its roots in the People's Alliance founded on 9 October 1976 by former Francoist minister Manuel Fraga. Although Fraga was a member of the reformist faction of the Franco regime, he supported an gradual transition to democracy. However, he badly underestimated the public's distaste for Francoism. Additionally, while he attempted to convey a reformist image, the large number of former Francoists in the party led the public to perceive it as both reactionary and authoritarian. In the June 1977 general election, the AP garnered only 8.3 percent of the vote, putting it in fourth place. In the months following the 1977 elections, dissent erupted within the AP over constitutional issues that arose as the draft document was being formulated. Fraga had wanted from the beginning to brand the party as a traditional European conservative party, wanted to move the AP toward the political centre in order to form a larger centre-right party.
Fraga's wing won the struggle. The AP joined with other moderate conservatives to form the Democratic Coalition, it was hoped that this new coalition would capture the support of those who had voted for the Union of the Democratic Centre in 1977, but who had become disenchanted with the Adolfo Suárez government. In the March 1979 general election, the CD received 6.1 percent of the vote, again finishing a distant fourth. At the AP's Second Party Congress in December 1979, party leaders re-assessed their involvement in the CD. Many felt that the creation of the coalition had confused the voters, they sought to emphasise the AP's independent identity. Fraga resumed control of the party, the political resolutions adopted by the party congress reaffirmed the conservative orientation of the AP. In the early 1980s, Fraga succeeded in rallying the various components of the right around his leadership, he was aided in his efforts to revive the AP by the increasing disintegration of the UCD. In the general elections held in October 1982, the AP gained votes both from previous UCD supporters and from the far right.
It became the major opposition party to the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, securing 25.4 percent of the popular vote. Whereas the AP's parliamentary representation had dropped to 9 seats in 1979, the party allied itself with the small Christian democratic People's Democratic Party and won 106 seats in 1982; the increased strength of the AP was further evidenced in the municipal and regional elections held in May 1983, when the party drew 26 percent of the vote. A significant portion of the electorate appeared to support the AP's emphasis on law and order as well as its pro-business policies. Subsequent political developments belied the party's aspirations to continue increasing its base of support. Prior to the June 1986 elections, the AP joined forces with the PDP and the Liberal Party to form the People's Coalition, in another attempt to expand its constituency to include the centre of the political spectrum; the coalition called for stronger measures against terrorism, for more privatisation, for a reduction in public spending and in taxes.
The CP failed to increase its share of the vote in the 1986 elections, it soon began to disintegrate. When regional elections in late 1986 resulted in further losses for the coalition, Fraga resigned as AP chairman, although he retained his parliamentary seat. At the party congress in February 1987, Antonio Hernández Mancha was chosen to head the AP, declaring that under his leadership the AP would become a "modern right-wing European party", but Hernández Mancha lacked political experience at the national level, the party continued to decline. When support for the AP plummeted in the municipal and regional elections held in June 1987, it was clear that it would be overtaken as major opposition party by Suarez's Democratic and Social Centre. After the resignation of Manuel Fraga and the success
Valencian Union was a regionalist political party in the Valencian Community, Spain. The party had not been represented in the Valencian autonomous parliament since 1999, it scored 0.95% of the total votes in the 2007 elections, well below the 5% threshold for representation. The party had councillors on several local councils, obtaining its best results in the Valencia province; the party was associated with the blaverist part of Valencianist movement by claiming that the Valencian language is different from the Catalan language and opposing the concept of Països Catalans and Catalan nationalism in the Valencian Community. The party held right-wing stances on issues such as economics, it formed an electoral alliance with the larger right wing Partido Popular in the General elections of 1982 and 2004, the Elections for the Autonomous Parlement in 1983. It was formed on 30 August 1982 with the stated purpose of "defending Valencian identity" and ran for the first time in the Spanish general election, 1982.
It participated as part of the larger Spain-wide right-wing block Alianza Popular and won a seat held by Miguel Ramón Izquierdo. This coalition was kept for the 1983 elections to the Valencian autonomous Parliament. UV took part by itself in the 1986 general election. Miguel Ramón Izquierdo retained his seat in the Cortes Generales. In 1987, it entered the Corts Valencianes, it doubled its presence at the Cortes Generales when two of its candidates won in the 1989 general election. One of the seats was won by Vicente González Lizondo. UV reached its height in the Valencian regional elections of 1991, when it became the third largest party in the Valencian Community, overtaking the traditional third party in the territory; this election elevated UV to its all-time record, 10.5% of the total votes, with this figure remarkably higher in its electoral stronghold, the Valencian speaking areas in the Valencia province. The turning point of UV's history took place in the regional elections of 1995. At those elections, UV achieved 7.1% of the total votes and fell back to fourth place among the parties with representation in the Corts Valencianes.
But, despite having had remarkably worse results than those of their high point in 1991, UV gained an unprecedented influence at the center of the Valencian political scene, because the results of this election deprived the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party of an absolute majority. The new situation allowed both opposition parties, the Partido Popular, short of a majority, UV to agree on a coalition government to oust the PSOE from regional rule after the latter had served 12 consecutive years in office. From 1995 through to the next regional elections in 1999, a rising PP manoeuvered to ideologically absorb its smaller government partner UV. At the same time, the party received a fatal blow when leader Vicente González Lizondo died in 1997 after suffering a heart attack while on duty at the Corts. With UV being based on a reactive idea such as blaverism rather than on a consistent ideological set of policies, the loss of its founder and leader was a setback from which it has not recovered.
During these years, a number of medium and prominent UV ranks defected from the party and joined the PP. In 1999 – at the first elections after UV's support had been crucial in forming a government – the party suffered a serious blow when its vote share of 4.76% was just short of the 5% threshold necessary to win seats at the Corts. In those elections, the PP, which had received the lion's share of former UV votes, achieved an absolute majority in the Corts, thus completing its electoral strategy for hegemony in the Valencian Community. UV's vote share further declined in the 2007 regional elections. For the 2004 general election, the party revived its electoral pact with the Partido Popular and obtained a seat in the Spanish Senate held by José María Chiquillo. UV was plagued by a number of schisms of small groups of members who left to form their own parties such as Opció Nacionalista Valenciana, Unió de Progrés per la Comunitat Valenciana, Iniciativa de Progrés per la Comunitat Valenciana, Identidad del Reino de Valencia, Renovació Valencianista or Partido Regional de la Comunidad Valenciana.
Some of these, given their small numbers, have either been readmitted in UV or, have joined the PP. The rest went on to form Coalició Valenciana, a party assuming the staunch rightwing image which UV has tried to depart from during the 2000s. Coalició Valenciana reached 0.72% of the total votes at the 2007 regional elections, well below the 5% threshold to enter the regional parliament, but a narrow gap when compared to UV's own 0.95%. Following acriminious internal elections, Chiquillo quit the party and went on to join the PP, thus generating a severe internal crisis which weakened the party still further. Joaquín Ballester Sanz, a councillor for the town of Paterna succeeded Chiquillo as the Party leader. At the end of April 2006, Ballester Sanz resigned and in the leadership election in May the mayor of Náquera, José Manuel Miralles became the new leader. At the 2007 elections to the Corts Valencianes, UV achieved 0.95% of the total votes. The party announced that it would not run –neither by itself, nor repeating an electoral pact with the PP– for the 2008 general election.
This decision was dubbed by its proponents as "hard, but necessary for UVs survival as a political party". In 2011, the party announc
The Cortes Generales are the bicameral legislative chambers of Spain, consisting of two chambers: the Congress of Deputies and the Senate. The members of the Cortes are the representatives of the Spanish people; the Congress of Deputies meets in the Palacio de las Cortes, the Senate meets in the separate Palacio del Senado, both located in Madrid. The Cortes are elected through universal, equal and secret suffrage, with the exception of some senatorial seats, which are elected indirectly by the legislatures of the autonomous community; the Cortes Generales is composed of 616 members: 266 Senators. The members of the Cortes Generales serve four-year terms, they are representatives of the Spanish people. In both chambers, the seats are divided by constituencies that correspond with the fifty provinces of Spain, plus Ceuta and Melilla. However, the Canary and Balearic islands form different constituencies in the Senate; as a parliamentary system, the Cortes confirms and dismisses the Prime Minister of Spain and his or her government.
The Congress can dismiss the Prime Minister through a vote of no confidence. The Cortes holds the power to enact a constitutional reform; the modern Cortes Generales was created by the Constitution of Spain, but the institution has a long history. Its direct precedent were the Cortes Españolas of military dictator Francisco Franco; the system of Cortes arose in the Middle Ages as part of feudalism. A "Corte" was an advisory council made up of the most powerful feudal lords closest to the king; the Cortes of León was the first parliamentary body in Western Europe. From 1230, the Cortes of Leon and Castile were merged. Prelates and commoners remained separated in the three estates within the Cortes; the king had the ability to call and dismiss the Cortes, but, as the lords of the Cortes headed the army and controlled the purse, the King signed treaties with them to pass bills for war at the cost of concessions to the lords and the Cortes. With the reappearance of the cities near the 12th century, a new social class started to grow: people living in the cities were neither vassals nor nobles themselves.
Furthermore, the nobles were experiencing hard economic times due to the Reconquista. So the King started admitting representatives from the cities to the Cortes in order to get more money for the Reconquista; the frequent payoffs were grants of autonomy to the cities and their inhabitants. At this time the Cortes had the power to oppose the King's decisions, thus vetoing them. In addition, some representatives were permanent advisors to the King when the Cortes were not. Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, the Catholic Monarchs, started a specific policy to diminish the power of the bourgeoisie and nobility, they reduced the powers of the Cortes to the point where they rubberstamped the monarch's acts, brought the nobility to their side. One of the major points of friction between the Cortes and the monarchs was the power of raising and lowering taxes, it was the only matter. The role of the Cortes during the Spanish Empire was to rubberstamp the decisions of the ruling monarch. However, they had some power over economic and American affairs taxes.
The Siglo de oro, the Spanish Golden Age of arts and literature, was a dark age in Spanish politics: the Netherlands declared itself independent and started a war, while some of the last Habsburg monarchs did not rule the country, leaving this task in the hands of viceroys governing in their name, the most famous being the Count-Duke of Olivares, Philip IV's viceroy. This allowed the Cortes to become more influential when they did not directly oppose the King's decisions; some lands of the Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Navarre were self-governing entities until the Nueva Planta Decrees of 1716 abolished their autonomy and united Aragon with Castile in a centralised Spanish state. The abolition in the realms of Aragon was completed by 1716, whilst Navarre retained its autonomy until the 1833 territorial division of Spain, it is the only one of the Spanish territories whose current status in the Spanish state is linked with the old Fueros: its Statute of Autonomy cites them and recognizes their special status, while recognizing the supremacy of the Spanish Constitution.
Cortes existed in each of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre. It is thought that these legislatures exercised more real power over local affairs than the Castilian Cortes did. Executive councils existed in each of these realms, which were tasked with overseeing the implementation of decisions made by the Cortes. However, throughout the rule of the Habsburg and Bourbon dynasties the Crown pressed for more centralization, enforcing a unitary position in foreign affairs and empowering Councils outside the control of the Cortes of the several Kingdoms. Thus, the Cortes in Spain did not develop towards a parliamentary system as in the British case, but towards the mentioned rubberstamping of royal decrees. Never