The Spanish Constitution acknowledges the citizens’ right to take part in public affairs, either directly or through representatives freely and periodically elected by universal franchise, and it also acknowledges their right to hold any public office or function on an equality basis, subject to the conditions laid down by the law.
Political parties are the essential instrument for the citizens’ involvement in political life, as well as the expression of political plurality and they also take part in the formation and expression of the people’s will. They may be freely set up and exercise their functions in the observance of the Constitution and the law.
Representation of the People Institutional Act (LOREG)
After the coming into force of the Political Reform Act 1/1977, of January 4, whose Fourth Transitional Provision directed “the Government shall lay make the necessary provisions for the first election to Parliament”, an Electoral Rules Royal Decree-Law 20/1977, of March 18, was enacted, laying down the basis of the Spanish electoral system for the first years of democratic government. In accordance to its provisions, three general elections and the first regional elections took place. One year later the Local Elections Act 39/1978, of July 17, was passed, on the occasion of the first municipal elections. Both instruments remained in force until 1985.
The legal body now governing the Spanish electoral system, including the election procedure in full detail, is the Representation of the People Institutional Act 5/1985, of June 19.
Several amendments have been made to this Act in the thirty years since its coming into force, all of them relating to procedural matters. Some of them aimed at specific points, such as the 1987 amendment for addition of a procedure for election of European Parliament’s members, the amendment of March 2007 providing for a balanced composition of men and women in the lists of candidates or the more recent one of 2011 on the public nature of the Register of Members of Parliament’s Financial Interests. Other amendments have been more extensive, as they covered several aspects of the electoral procedure, for instance those of March 1991 and January 2011.