VOL. 4, NO. 6, PGS. 14–19


The Challenges of Spanish Constitutional Law
The Consensus, the Monarchy, Catalonia
Olivier Lecucq

Olivier Lecucq is Director of the Institute of Iberian and Ibero-American Studies and Professor of Public Law at the University of Pau and Pays de l'Adour. His most recent book is 40 ans d'application de la Constitution espagnole.

This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy.

Since just over forty years ago, when the Constitution of 27 December 1978 came into force, Spain has had to face many important constitutional challenges. These have been related, in the first place, to the transition to democracy after four decades of Franco’s dictatorship. The main challenge was, first and foremost, to establish democracy in terms of both the political regime and the legal system1. Despite some setbacks, this immense feat was successfully completed, thanks to the confluence of various favourable factors, both political and institutional.

In the political sphere, the spirit of consensus, endorsed from the outset by the very large majority that adopted the new Constitution, which obtained 87.2% of votes in favour in the corresponding referendum, quickly permeated the wheels of power. The main political parties, the Popular Party -formerly the Democratic Centre Union (UCD)- and the Socialist Party, learned to understand each other or, at least, to favour agreement on the most important issues for the evolution of Spanish society, starting with the strengthening of democratic values and that of a social and democratic State governed by the rule of law, which, according to Article 1 of the Constitution, constitutes the Spanish State. This spirit of consensus led to a period of great political stability, symbolised by the long mandate of Felipe González (1982-1993) and marked by a succession of absolute majorities in Parliament, even though the electoral system is based on proportional representation.

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