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General Description

This course aims to offer a general introduction to the basics of the political system and government of Spain. Throughout the course, we will analyse both the institutional and dynamic aspects of the political process. Specifically we will study the form of government in Spain, the democratic institutions, the model of territorial organisation by the State, the political party system, electoral evolution in Spain and the political culture of the Spanish people.


  1. THEME 1. THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT IN SPAIN: PARLIMENTARY MONARCHY Characteristics and functions of the Monarchy in Spain. The role of the Crown in the Spanish political process.
  2. THEME 2. THE GOVERNMENT Composition and structure of the Government. The formation and dissolution of the Government.The functions of the Government.
  3. THEME 3. THE GENERAL COURTS The nature and structure of the General Courts. Their parliamentary functions.
  4. THEME 4. THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM, THE CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL AND THE OMBUDSMAN Constitutional regulation of judicial power. The General Council of the Judiciary. The Constitutional Tribunal. The Ombudsman.
  5. THEME 5. THE FORM OF THE STATE IN SPAIN: THE AUTONOMOUS STATE Process of autonomous construction, institutions and scope of the CCAA. The relations between Central Government and the CCAA´s.
  6. THEME 6. THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM Elements of the Spanish electoral system. Effects of the Spanish electoral system. Proposals for reform of the Spanish electoral system.
  7. THEME 7. THE POLITICAL PARTIES IN SPAIN AND THE ELECTIONS Principal political parties in Spain.Evolution of voting in Spain for political parties.
  8. THEME 8. THE POLITICAL CULTURE OF THE SPANISH Characteristics of the political culture in Spain.


On a voluntary basis, those students wishing to do so may write a short paper or essay on any of the lessons that form part of the programme. The realization of this work will benefit from individualized support by the teacher of the course.


To pass the course it is required both to attend and participate in classes on a regular basis and to pass the final test in December – on the dates fixed by the The Management of the Centre. The basic material for the exam will consist of the notes taken in class by students from the teacher´s explanations. Extra information acquired from study of the recommended manual and reading lists and class activities will be also be valued.

The final mark for the course will be calculated from the exam, tasks, attendance and active participation in class and the completion of coursework. Students must obtain a minimum mark of 5 in the exam and have attended 80% of the classes, in line with the rules of the Centre. This attendance is taken into account in the marking of tasks (up to 2 points in the final mark) along with participation and completion of coursework.


In addition to the specific and specialised bibliography which will be recommended in class, for the preparation of each lesson, the following is considered a basic and general reference text:

  1. ALCÁNTARA, Manuel y MARTÍNEZ, Antonia (eds.) (2001), Política y Gobierno en España, Tirant lo Blanch, Valencia.
  2. The following bibliography may also assist students in preparing for the exam or writing coursework:

  3. APARICIO, Miguel A. (1991), Introducción al sistema político y constitucional español, Ariel, Barcelona.
  4. BACHOLID, André y MOURIER, María F. (1991), España una democracia joven, Editorial Masson, Barcelona.
  5. CARR, Raymond y FUSI, J.P. (1979), España de la dictadura a la democracia, Planeta. Barcelona.
  6. COLOMER, J.M (Dir.) (1995), La política en Europa: introducción a las instituciones de quince países, Ariel Ciencia Política, Barcelona.
  7. COTARELO, Ramón (1992), Transición política y consolidación democrática, CIS.
  8. GARCÍA, MORILLO, Joaquín (1996), La democracia en España, Alianza, Madrid.
  9. GINER, Salvador (Coord.1990), España. Política y Sociedad, Espasa, Calpe, Madrid.
  10. GONZALEZ ENCINAR, J.J (dir) (1984), Diccionario del Sistema Político Español, Akal, Madrid.
  11. GUNTHER, R (Ed) (1993), Politics, society and democracy. The case of Spain, Essays in honor of Juan Linz. Westview Press, Oxford.
  12. GUNTHER, R., MONTERO, J.R. Y BOTELLA, J. (2004), Democracy in modern Spain, New Haven, Yale University Press.
  13. HEIWOOD, Paul (1995), The Government and politics of Spain, McMillan Press, Londres.
  14. MARTÍNEZ CUADRADO, M (1996), La democracia en la España de los años noventa, Ariel, Barcelona.
  15. MAGONE, J.M. (2004), Contemporary Spanish Politics, Nueva York, Routledge.
  16. MONTABES, Juan (ED) (1998), El sistema electoral a debate. Veinte años de rendimientos del sistema electoral español, CIS Parlamento de Andalucía, Madrid.
  17. MORODO, Raúl (1984), La transición política, Tecnos, Madrid.
  18. PRESTON, Paul (1986), El triunfo de la democracia en España, 1969-1982, Plaza & Janés, Barcelona.
  19. RAMOS GASCÓN, A. (Eds.) (1991), Spain Today: in search of modernity. Society and Culture, Cátedra, Madrid.
  20. ROMAN, Paloma (Coord.) (2001), Sistema Político español, Mc Graw Hill. Madrid.
  21. TEZANOS, José Félix, COTARELO, Ramón y DE BLAS, Andrés (Eds.) (1989), La transición democrática española. Editorial Sistema. Madrid.
  22. TUSELL, Javier, LAMO DE ESPINOSA, Emilio y PARDO, Rafael (Eds.) (1996), Entre dos siglos. Reflexiones sobre la democracia española, Alianza Editorial, Madrid.