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Report 2002. Direct Democracy in Spain

Demopunk Net 1997-2002, under TAZ-Copyright


Account of Direct Democracy in Spain
Constituent Power
Popular Initiative
Another political freedoms

Analysis of Direct Democracty in Spain
National Development of Direct Democracy
The Legislative Collective Petition
Referendum of ratification of Constitutional/Statutory Amendment
The Consultive Plebiscite
The Referendum on revoking syndical elected representatives
Popular control of war
Regional Development of Direct Democracy
Referendum of ratification for statutorial reform
Legislative petition and consultative plebiscite
Self-determination right
Municipal Development of Direct Democracy
Municipal regulations
Participative Budget
Regional regulation of municipal plebiscite

Practice of Direct Democracy in Spain

Practice of the referendum of ratification of Constitutional Amendment
Practice of the legislative petition as for national scope
Practice of the legislative petition as for regional scope
Practice of the consultive plebiscite
Practice of Non-Governmental Direct Democracy

Historical Antecedents

Applicable legislation


In July/2002 the Human Development Report was launched, published yearly by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); this report, born in 1990, is documentary reference for a significative part of socoeconomical activism. This year it submits an evolution, qualitatively important, that has been reflected in the own subtitle of the report: "Deepening democracy in a fragmented world".

Despite the severe methodological defects of the report when estimating "grade of democratic development" of every country, despite to admit no having found statistical correlation between democratization and human development, its reading passes persistently on critical outline against actual Regime that since decades endures and grows as for popular level. The novelty is a platform as the UNDP shares criticism and hope that people, or at least the collective subconscious, uphold about democratic utopia.

Daily experience makes again and again more evident the cultural process by which elite replace Force by Deception. In contrast to Regime's self-glorification from its propaganda media, popular deception and rejection is growing against hegemonic model, which most clear proofs are progressive increase in electoral abstention and popular rejection of supposed means of political participation.

Organic intelligentsia studies the matter in terms of "representation crisis", but deliberately it does not cope with the central aspect of design of liberal democracy. Because our hegemonic regime is characterized by publicizing a wide range of civil rights, while keeping political freedoms under a minimum, and suffocating every warranty of popular Constituent Power. This replacement of Force by Deception is a cultural process that has required over a century to reach actual maturing. But nowadays, its efficiency on control of people is showing inevitable fissures, being unable to keep eternally virtual reality of a supposed popular soverignty, where actually elite take turns in office, where transformations arise unexpectedly as so-called "globalization" (with an uncontrollable nature for supposed will of the people). Popular distrust is slowly growing, may be subconciously, to a regime which shouts its democratic nature from the rooftops by means of powerful speakers, but takes up decades without increasing the miserly political freedoms.

In contrast to civil rights, when we talk about political freedoms, we are refering to freedoms of exercise of popular sovereignty: improvement of Representative Democracy (electoral system, imperative mandate on representatives, ...), set of freedoms related to Direct Democracy, and especially related to warranties of permanent exercise of popular Constituent Power. Civil rights are mere grantings which, in absence of political freedoms, are prone to suffer from deformations and contractions in the service of spurious interests (examples arise everywhere these days). Dialectic confusion between civil rights and political freedoms, is one of the errors deliberately spreaded by Regime trying to legitimize its model.

Since the sixties, this crisis is having many intellectual responses that do not get to form a front capable of breaking up the regime and its propaganda media. But it is quite positive that democratic utopia survives within assorted "political habitats". On the one side, democratic activism within capitalist left and right, main beneficiaries of liberal democracy, is quite rare but still existing. On the other side, anarchist view of consent is usually expressed in terms of absolute democracy. And despite violent preconception binding liberal democracy and capitalism (Spain/1936, Guatemala/1954, Chile/1973, Nicaragua/1986, Algeria/1991, Serbia/1999 and may be Venezuela soon) an increasing minority within non-capitalist left is observing revolutionary nature of radical democracy; indeed criticism of classic concept of Revolution has generated new models as "autonomous zones" and first of all radical democracy.

Direct Democracy is one the most significative foundation of democratic activism; it exhibits an important development in terms of research and political technology (formal procedures, legal articles, ...), at a world level it shows an embryonic but hopeful practice, and it is a concept moderately known by people. Its political status resembles suffragism early 20th century. And maybe, its political weight is only overcome by the urgent need for breaking Regime's propaganda media up; political urgency derived from the macabre and futuristic scene where political freedoms are enjoyed within Virtual Reality.

Direct Democracy gathers a suggestive set of political freedoms characterized by being exercised without institutional veto, from its initiative to its soverign culmination. The most classic freedoms are the legislative popular initiative and its binding referendum, but there is an increasing demand and political pressure for other popular initiatives and their referendums: as initiative for legislative abrogation, for ratification of laws and international treaties, for revoking posts and appeals of constitutionality. Other pioneering experiences as municipal Participative Budget has reached high levels of maduration in any regions as Latin America.

But political weight of Direct Democracy does not lie in its design but in its scope. Because when Direct Democracy is applied to constitutional environment we are settling, from point of view of political technology, some warranties of popular Constituent Power. The popular initiative for constitutional amendment and calling for constituent assembly, together with their referenda, are political freedoms almost unknown but with an unquestionable The so-named "self-determination right" is lain also within this scope, which formal development and practice have a state so embryonic that it could be viewed as non-existent (due mainly to democratic burden provoked by nationalist passions, as hegemonic ones as postulant ones).

Indeed, the majority of political freedoms of Direct Democracy exhibits now a certain formal research, and even an incipient legal existence. But we stay in the first steps: formal defects are very frequent (usually they are premeditated faulty designs) and popular political culture about such freedoms is weak and volatile. We have historical proofs already about negative effect from exercising freedoms of Direct Democracy formally defective. Because paradoxically popular deception and distrust is focused on the own concept of Direct Democracy while elite, guilty of its defective design, remain outside and unpunished.

Therefore, critical reports on development and practice of political freedoms of Direct Democracy has a high practical value. They help to protect Direct Democracy, clarifying the actual formal defects, reporting banned freedoms in evey country and filling the documentary vacuum imposed by propaganda media and academic insitutions.

Demopunk Net copes with publishing a status report about Direct Democracy, doing it about spanish realities. We encourage democrat activists from another countries to cope with similar reports, offering them our scarce resources. Also Demopunk Net has collaborated gladly translating to spanish the report on 32 european countries "Country Index on Citizien Lawmaking" of year 2002, published by the IRI-Europe institute.

This annual report contains likely the most exhaustive data set about Direct Democracy in Spain. It is designed as tool of political research, particularly oriented to people and institutions seeking for information being essential and verifiable; therefore reader has available, within the document, almost all of legal references for checking.

Report will be yearly reissued, making up with new collected data or with political news about Direct Democracy through year. Report is simultaneously published in spanish and english.

Firstly a detailed listing is delivered about actual state of manifold political freedoms usually associated with Direct Democracy, pointing to their development grade, or if they are explicitly forbidden, or if they are political technology unknown by Regime.

Next an analysis is accomplished on those existing freedoms, estimating their efficiency, limitations and throughput in terms of popular sovereignty. Analysis covers national, regional and local scopes.

Report goes on offering detailed data, likely incomplete, about practice of existing freedoms as national, regional and local scopes. Also non-governmental events of Direct Democracy are detailed.

Finally, a short revision is carried out about historical background of Direct Democracy in Spain.


Within this introduction we want to specify terminology used through report. Direct Democracy has unequal development around the world, a good token of mentioned variability is revealed in the report "Country Index on Citizien Lawmaking" (over 32 european countries), published yearly by the institute IRI-Europe. A few terms cannot describe adequately actual development of every political freedom; therefore applicable terminology must be precisely settled. Terminological accuracy is not an academic whim; at least if it is trying to reflect what degree of popular sovereignty is involved within a specific political freedom.

Most common meaning applied to term "popular initiative" comes from swiss constitutional scene. There, this term has a meaning eminently legislative: applied to constitutional amendment and ratification of laws, where every event lead up to binding referendum. However, this use is limited, it does not show power of term, by ignoring popular initiative has to be also applicable for another areas of sovereingty as: revocation of elected posts, initiative to abrogate laws, collective petition for appeal of unconstitutionality, and so on.

Many regimen and their constitutions make an incorrect and propagandist use of term "popular initiative" when describing their sickly political freedoms, damaged by significative defects. When formal defects avoid fulfilling popular sovereignty, we reduce term to expression "collective petition".

Similar deviations arise around term "referendum". Main feature required by referendum is to be binding. Therefore, we must keep from using terms as "consultative referendums", which offends own sovereign essence of this political freedom. In this case we cut down term to expression "plebiscite", despite some persons prefer to reserve this term for political masquerades of some dictatorships.

Finally, it is needed to define a matter more closely. As for popular sovereignty it has not got the same weight when political freedoms are applied to constitutional scene than to common legislative activity or regulation's scope. Therefore, we will reserve term of political freedoms of warranty of "constituent power" for those ones implementing popular initiative for constitutional amendments or constituent processes.

Account of Direct Democracy in Spain

A detailed account of actual political freedoms of Direct Democracy in Spain is offered. Next a political analysis and assesment of its practice will be undertaken.

Four main categories are covered:

Constituent Power
Initiative to constitutional amendment: Forbidden to popular initiative by the Art.166. Only Goverment and legislative assemblies (national and regional) have got such a right. No other institution can exercise it.

Popular initiative to Constituent Assembly or Process: Forbidden. Political freedom unknown by the constitution.

Self-determination Right: Forbidden. Political freedom unknown by the constitution.

Popular Initiative
Popular initiative to the referendum: Forbidden, according to the Art.92 only President of the Government enjoys this right. No person, group or institution can start such a legal process leading up to a national referendum. On the other side, every institution (regional powers, local powers, ...) pretending to hold a referendum on any regional or local issue, requires mandatory authorization of State (Art. 149.1.32).

Popular initiative to revoke elected official: Forbidden. Political freedom unknown by the constitution.

Popular initiative to legislative abrogation: Forbidden. Political freedom unknown by the constitution.

Popular initiative to legislative process: Forbidden. The constitution contains a right for legislative collective petition in its Art.87, which will be analysed separately.

Popular initiative to ratify international treaties: Forbidden expressly by the Art.87.

Collective petition for appeal of unconstitutionality: Forbidden expressly by the Art.162.1a.


Binding referendum: Forbidden, according to the Art.92 it can be only consultative plebiscite.

Referendum of ratification to constitutional amendments: Applicable only to very significative reform according to the Art.168, in the rest it will be held if required by one tenth of Congress or Senate, Art.167.

Another political freedoms

Participative Budget: Forbidden. Political freedom unknown by the constitution.

Popular control of war: Forbidden. Political freedom unknown by the constitution.
Referendum for revoking syndical representatives: According to the Art.67.3 of Statute of Workers is possible to held a referendum, by initiative of one third of workers, on revoking any syndical elected representative.

Analysis of Direct Democracy in Spain

National Development of Direct Democracy

Above account about state of Direct Democracy in Spain does not admit of many readings. Vast majority of political freedoms are unknown by the constitution, or are explicitly forbidden. Next analysis is focused on existing freedoms, but main conclusion of this analysis is the significative lack of freedoms of Direct Democracy. In a word, state of Direct Democracy in Spain is painful; optimistic reader can be only able to get some consolation in the precarious worlwide development of this kind of political freedoms.

The own lack of freedoms admits few additional analysis. But we wish to emphasize that absolute wilderness of political freedoms shielding Constituent Power. The constitution sprung up Fascist Transition (1975-1980) makes up an armoured regime, spanish people has not got any chance to modify it. Only elites have got this effective power, and seemingly there is no volition to improve democratic quality of Regimen, neither in political establishment, nor their propaganda media.

Next a short political analysis of poor political freedoms of Direct Democracy is set out, covering following political rights existing in Spain:

The Legislative Collective Petition

Stated by the Art.87 of the constitution, and regulated by the Organic Law for Legislative Popular Initiative, this political freedom shows up in propaganda media usually as ILP (Legislative Popular Initiative), and within the own constitution as "popular initiative".

Opposite to full sovereign meaning of term "popular initiative", this sickly political freedom must be reduced to rank of petition due to following formal defects:
In order to estimate severity of mentioned restriction of issues, it is worth revising the constitutional definition of organic law in its Art. 81, or to extract some examples to see more clearly the kind of political freedom that we are talking about. Please, read slowly next list of examples -among hundreds- to estimate what issues are not applicable to popular initiative:
Organic Law for Elections
Organic Law for Legislative Initiative (sic)
Organic Law for Referendum
Organic Law for Association Right
Organic Law for Petition
Every modification of Statutes of Autonomy
Every parliamentary ratification of international treaties and agreements.
Organic Law for Judical Power
Organic Law for Constitutional Court
Organic Law for Ombudsman
Organic Law for Education
Organic Law for Universities
Organic Law for Penal Code
Organic Law for Rights and Freedoms of Foreigners
Organic Law for Telecommunications
Organic Law for Management of Personal Data
Organic Law of Penal Responsibility of Minors (including terrorist offences)
Organic Law for Citizen Security
Organic Law for Syndical Freedom
Organic Law for Conscentions Objection
Organic Law for Religious Freedom
Organic Law for Financing of Regional Communities
Organic Law for Jurisdiction Conflicts
Organic Law for International Juridic Cooperation
Organic Law for Meeting Right
Organic Law for Rectification Right
Organic Law for Honour, Intimacy and the own Image Right
Etcétera ...
Opposite to spanish legislative petition, usually legislative popular initiative introduces a bill into legislative organs, which have right to set out a counterproposal; both proposals are finally voted together by referendum. To this effect, spanish legislative petition exhibits following deficiencies:
All of above limitations and deficiencies reduce this political freedom to a sickly sham of Direct Democracy, seemingly with the unique function to permit to spanish Regimen to apper in international statistics as a country exhibiting "some" procedure of Direct Democracy. Any way, the article set of the spanish legislative popular petition presents any positive aspects, though with minor rank:

In March/2002 Izquierda Unida (non-capitalist left) has proposed in the Congress some formal improvements, though they do not try to convert this legislative petition into a real legislative popular initiative. They propose to reduce in 25% the required 500.000 signs, to introduce multilinguism in sheets of signs, ability of Promoter Committe to defend its proposal and to withdraw if they estimate impairment by parliamentary process. The Congress has already rejected the reduction of signs "because it is contrary to the Constitution" (sic); we hope these minimal reforms were approved, and traditional arrogance of spanish Regime does not prevail.

The Referendum of ratification for constitutional amendment

This kind of referendum cannot be considered strictly a political freedom, it is rather a warranty. Warranty of the constitution -at least part of it- cannot be modified by a procedure outside to people at all. It is certainly a sovereign right, and in the case of Spain it is the unique right of Direct Democracy that cannot be discredited as a whole.

It has got any defects which must be underlined:

The Consultive Plebiscite

Stated by Art.92 of the constitution, and regulated (as former referendum of ratification) by the Ley Organic Law on the kinds of referendum. This consultation is a sickly political freedom reduced to plebiscite due to its very severe deficiencies:

The Referendum on revoking syndical elected representatives

Almost world-wide, it is common to find some elements of Direct Democracy when syndical landscape is free, particularly around the initiative excersized by assemblies of workers.

It is proper to show up the existence in Spain of a kind of referendum and its initiative for revoking syndical elected representatives, Art.67.3 of Statute of Workers.

This perl of Direct Democracy is a real exception in the spanish Regime. No other elected post in Spain exercise its representation so accountablely. However, we must make some matters more precise:

Popular control of war

Popular control of war is perhaps the most utopian and desirable political freedom of Direct Democracy. To be described sometimes as an extravagant freedom is proof until what extent people are very far from having control of the most grave sociocultural event. Logically, spanish people has a control of war as non-existent as the very vast majority of world-wide people has.

About so significative events as peace and war, the actual spanish constitution exhibits a worrying frugality. The Art.63 of the constitution reserves initiative to declare war and peace only for the King (!!!), who requires parliamentary ratificación. Spanish democrat people live ashamed by such a situation, where a hereditary post in his masculine descendants has got such a constitutional competency of initiative. To avoid international embarrasment, it is not hardly surprising Regime failed to observe the own constitution giving to war the shape of peace-keeping missions (Irak, Serbia, ...), without need of royal initiative, without need of parliamentary ratification.

Definitively, we feel melancholy by redaction of the Art.6 of the constitution of the II Republic (1931): "Spain gives up to war as tool of national policy", and by its development in the Art.77.

Regional Development of Direct Democracy

The 17 Autonomous Communities have got same poor degree of Direct Democracy than national scene.

There is not a constitutional framework protecting political freedoms as regional scope. Unique constitutional references has mainly restrictive nature, reflecting the deep conflict among nationalists mastering spanish political landscape:
In February/2002, a proposal of regional power of Catalonia was rejected by the Congress about being transferred the competence of authorization of popular consultations stated by the Art.149.1.32. A real example how elite in Spain understand political freedoms of Direct Democracy: instead of improving the poor catalan legislation of Direct Democracy, or proposing to remove authorization for popular consultation, catalan elite prefer to claim such a privilege for themself.

Some communities have generated specific legislation for municipal popular consultations, that will be analyzed within the section "Municipal Development of Direct Democracy". As exclusively regional scope following aspects will be approached:

Referendum of ratification for statutorial reform

In relation to amendments of Statutes of Autonomy, only some (4 from 17) Autonomous Communities exhibit a popular referendum as final step of statutorial reform: Basque Country, Catalonia, Galicia and Andalusia.

According to the Art.147.3 of the constitution and the Art.145 of Regulations of Congress this referendum is not protected, statutorial reform elaborated by the regional assembly is merely processed as another organic law. Indeed, this referéndum is a warranty recognized regionally by each statute, but if such a referendum exists then it must be authorized by national power (Art.149.1.32).

The constitution does not warrant the existence of this referendum, and if this referendum exists the constitution does not warrant as last step of statutorial reform either. To achieve the referendum were last step of statutorial reform, statutes of mentioned Autonomous Community establish the organic law approved by the national power will include authorization for the referendum.

This intricate legal scheme is derived from nationalist conflict existing in Spain. Paradox is double. On the one hand, national power does not constitutionally protect referendum of ratification for statutorial reform, but in the event of existing it wants to maintain its chance of veto over a referendum (Art.149.1.32). On the other hand, if national power approves the statutorial reform, then it shoud authorizate the referendum; but... could other thing happen else?, perhaps to approve the reform but not to authorize subsequent referendum?

Legislative petition and consultative plebiscite

With regard to legislative petition and consultive plebiscite, Autonomous Communities have practically rewritten literally the national laws, or Aragon's law. It is not worth enlarging on small differences among comunities, we will emphasize only some significative data:

Self-determination right

There is no viable procedure within actual legislation and logically there is no specific regulation; therefore it is a political freedom forbidden in Spain.

Under these circumstances it is not feasible to carry out an additional analysis. However, taking account its constituent signficance and the acute nationalist dispute beared by spanish political landscape, it is worth doing a short resume of the different positions:
Some years since Demopunk pages offer to democrat population of Spain a example of political technology: the document "Formal Procedures of Self-determination Right" is unfortunately a real exception in the spanish society; it does not seem democrat motivation generates political solutions.

Municipal Development of Direct Democracy

Municipal regulations

There is not a constitutional framework protecting political freedoms as for municipal scope. Practically, no spanish municipality have developed regulations of Direct Democracy, there are rather a colourful collection of regulations of Citizen Participation, mainly oriented to neighbouring associations (i.e, a house without doors, without windows and without chimney).

Therefore, Demopunk pages have published a draft of guidelines on rights of Direct Democracy as for municipal scope. It defines and regulates rights of binding referendum and popular initiatives. In a few cities is being introduced within electoral programmes for municipal elections. If you are interested in developing Direct Democracy in Spain (although there are several collaborations from Latin America) and you are related with making municipal electoral programmes, may be you must know the proposal.

We have only reports, indirect almost all of them, of some municipal regulations of Direct Democracy:

Participative Budget

As political freedom enjoyed in Portoalegre (Brazil), around Participative Budget some few spanish towns have developed several projects, promoted for the most part by IU-IC (political group of non-capitalist left). Each project has a different degree of maduration, but unfortunately we have no legal article set of any regulations for inspection:

Regional regulation of municipal plebiscite

Some few of the 17 Autonomous Communities have regulated a procedure of plebiscite applicable to all of its municipalities (Catalonia/1996, Andalusia/2001). Other communities (Navarra y Asturias) are in legislative process. And other communities (Galicia) has some kind of short regulation.

All of them suffer from the jacobian restriction that authorization of any popular consultation concerns the own national power (Art.149.1.32 of the constitution). An absurd restriction derived from nationalist conflict, and therefore with an unaccountable function within Direct Democracy.

Regional regulation is a minimum framework which can be extended by every municipality. Experience of being Autonomous Community who regulates popular consultation is producing bittersweet results.

On the one side, it is quite positive a regional norm make easy to all of its municipalities' people some resources of Direct Democracy. To this effect, spanish constitution had better protect local referendums than demand its authorization by national power.

On the other side, these regional regulations are inheriting weak nature from spanish Direct Democracy as for national or regional scope, that only helps practice of such freedoms to be disappointing:

Finally, this report want to clarify a severe error which sometimes appears:
Municipal referendum is NOT regulated by the Art.92 of the constitution which imposes the consultative plebiscite. Indeed specific national law about referendum, fortunately, excludes local referendum from its scope by its Additional Disposition. Legislation of Local Regime (Law 7/1985, articles 18 y 71) does not stated consultative nature either. Therefore, binding or consultative nature is exclusive responsibility of regional and local lawmaker.

Practice of Direct Democracy in Spain

As described in former section "Analysis of Direct Democracy in Spain", spanish legislation protecting political freedoms of Direct Democracy is almost no existent; the few existing regulations are so weak that become disappointing and ineffective. Statistics of spanish practice published by national and international organizations are out of focus by national and regional referendums happened during the Fascist Transition (1975-1980).

But real situation is different: elite responsible for our shortage of Direct Democracy, who are in charge of Regimen from the Fascist Transition, have not even done effort for practice of such sickly political freedoms were an act of popular hopefulness. Vast majority of legislative petitions are rejected and the unique consultative plebiscite happened is still today a scandalous memory (even under suspicion of electoral fraud).

Legislation of Direct Democracy is sickly, and its practice is disappointing. But the most negative aspect is absolute absence of political debate for setting-up political freedoms of Direct Democracy. To this effect, apathy of spanish society is total. Without palliatives. Propaganda media of Regime do not give one second, a squared centimeter either, to analysis of these freedoms (this datum is not mere words, rather it is a verifiable fact). Vast majority of people do not know the existence of these freedoms: the older ones because having been educated in the desert emerged from Franco's genocide, the younger ones victims of alienation by silence of propaganda media.

A significative example of remoteness of Direct Democracy in Spain is the own use of this term (rather, absence of its use). Term "Direct Democracy" is regularly subtituted by term "Citizen Participation". A semantic slip that degrades term in its more relevant aspect, it is degraded in underlying popular sovereignty.

On the other side, majority of european countries are provoking an increase (may be transitory) of Direct Democracy by means of referendums of integration into supra-national organizations as European Union and NATO. Also to his effect, Spain presents a disappointing example. Not only by lacking legislation to warrant such referendums, also because such decision have already been taken without popular ratification.

Practice of referendum of ratification for constitutional/statutorial amendment

So far there have been no referendum of ratification for constitutional amendment. The unique constitutional amendment along near 25 years has been accomplished without popular ratification, derived from duties acquired by european integration, and relative to right of foreigners for active and passive suffrage in municipal elections.

National and international statistics insist on presenting referendums during the Fascist Transition (1975-1980) as a significative part of practice of Direct Democracy in Spain. Therefore, account of those referendums will be done, related to initial ratification of the actual constitution and ratification of initiative to set up some (4 from a whole of 17) Autonomous Communities:

December 15th of 1976. Plebiscite of ratification for Law of Political Reform

Once rebel general Franco died, its successor the monarch Juan Carlos I (successor according to the Franco's plebiscite in 1966) convoked this plebiscite after achieving the Franco's legislative organ approved the law in November 18th of 1976.

Formally there is no difference with the Franco's plebiscites in 1947 and 1966: neither in democratic warranties, nor activity of propaganda media. But provided its result and it led up to the transition to a liberal predemocracy, historians insist on presenting as part of curriculum of Direct Democracy in Spain. 77% of electoral body voted, and the "yes" got a 94%..

December 6th of 1978. Referendum of ratification for the Constitution

The legislative assembly elected by former Law of Political Reform took on constituent functions. A referendum of ratification was held on the final text of the Constitution. Turnover was (67%) quite modest being about so signficative referendum, positive votes were a 87%.

In the Basque Country happened an odd circumstance: almost all of parties of vasque nationalism called for abstention, and positive votes (34.93% over whole electoral body) were not enough to overcome the sum of negative votes (10.93% over whole electoral body) and abstention (50.49%). This combination has allowed everyone claim its own interpretation of result.

October 25th of 1979. Referendum of ratification for initiative to set up Autonomous Community of Catalonia

Referendums of ratification (simultaneously in all of its provinces) for initiative to set up the Autonomous Community, by virtue of the Art.151.2.3.

October 25th of 1979. Referendum of ratification for initiative to set up Autonomous Community of Basque Country

Referendums of ratification (simultaneously in all of its provinces) for initiative to set up the Autonomous Community, by virtue of the Art.151.2.3.

February 28th of 1979. Referendum of ratification for initiative to set up Autonomous Community of Andalusia

Referendums of ratification (simultaneously in all of its provinces) for initiative to set up the Autonomous Community. In the province of Almeria majority was not reached, and the Art.151.2.3 was not fulfilled. Referendum was repeated in October 20th of 1981, this time reaching majority in all of its provinces.

December 21th of 1980. Referendum of ratification for initiative to set up Autonomous Community of Galicia

Referendums of ratification (simultaneously in all of its provinces) for initiative to set up the Autonomous Community, by virtue of the Art.151.2.3.

It is proper to clarify an error that sometimes appears. Above regional referendums did not ratify article sets of statutes of autonomy; indeed no statute of autonomy in Spain exhibits popular ratification. In 4 from the 17 autonomous communities this kind of referendum ratified the initiative of Diputations to set up autonomous communities; on the others had not been any kind of popular ratification: neither the article set, nor the own initiative to set up the autonomous community.

Practice of legislative petition as for national scope

Following an account of legislative petitions that entered into Congress is offered, besides a short summary about how they were dealt with:

June 2002. Rejected the legislative petition asking for sole right to sell medicines in chemist's

Jano On-line y agencies (12/June/2002). The plenum of Congress rejected unanimously to take in consideration a proposal of law, put forward by means of a legislative popular initiative supported by Association of Pharmacists of Valencia [in the east of Spain] with more than 1,3 millions of signs, trying to grant to chemist's shops and pharmaceutical services of hospitals the sole right to distribute medicines and pharmaceutical-sanitation products.

Deputies think, generally speaking, the initiative implies a "reiteration" of in force regulations, and when it brings innovation, it encroachs upon autonomic competences and without contributing any improvement for citizen. The proposal of law would have had nature of basic law if not having been rejected its taking of consideration by 288 votes against, none for and 2 abstentions.


The initiative was also rejected even by Parliamentary Group of Izquierda Unida [non-capitalist left], who usually support this kind of initiatives "expressing will of the people to maintain actual system of distribution of medicines", subject of proposed text. So Marisa Castro, its spokeswoman in the Lower House, stated, "regretting" to have to reject the proposal by estimating that, though a "few" proposed innovations are "positive", many ones do not conform to in force european directives.


November 1999. Rejected the legislative petition to reduce working week to 35 hours

Daily El Mundo (12/November/1999). The Plenum of Congress rejected, by 161 against 145 votes for, chance to debate reduction of working week to 35 hours, without decrease of wages.

The proposal was from a Popular Legislative Initiative supported by 700.000 signs of citizens, collected during six months by social groups, trade unions and associations and promoved by Izquierda Unida.

All of this effort finished by votes of Partido Popular, of CiU and of Coalición Canaria. Deputies of IU, PSOE, PNV and Mixed Group voted for proceeding with the initiative.


The initiative proposed to modify an article of Statute of Workers to set working week to 35 hours, without decrease wages. It also included a transitory disposition to put into effect reduction of working hours, by collective negotiation.

In defence of the initiative, the general coordinator of IU, Julio Anguita, refered to four reasons to take its consideration: progress of science and technique that reduces workers needed to make a task; search for society of full employment; promotion of social rights and, above all, "the march to utopia".


Who were more actively opposed to the initiative was the Popular Group, which, through Gerardo Camps, considered a "mock to democratic system" having to accept a initiative because it was supported by the signs of hundreds of thousands of citizens (sic). The popular deputy used also figures of creation of employment during last years to reject the proposal. 

March 1999. First law by legislative petition, Law of Horizontal Property

Daily El Mundo (19/March/1999). First time from the birth of the Constitution (1978), spanish Parliament has approved a law promoted by the popular initiative.

From September of 1994, when agents of properties started the use of this right, 832.000 spaniards have signed for modification of a law afecting 29 millions of persons.

Yesterday, after voting, president of General Council of Association of Agents of Properties, Manuel Roberto, was satisfied: "It is the most democratic law approved by the Courts until now, because it has been promoted by citizens".

All of parliamentary groups participating in the approval of law pointed up the "high degree of consensus reached among deputies".

In Pablo Castellano's opinion, deputy of IU, "strong popular petition has influenced a lot in positive attitude of parties". Besides, Castellano trusts in this experience "to be an incentive for another social sectors become more participating in legislative activity".

Luis Ortiz, deputy of Popular Party pointed up "great maturity exhibited by the Parliament before the popular initiative", and marked "the big step taken for horizontal regime of property in order to cope with reality of present".


December 1998. Rejected the legislative petition for achieving cost-free status of school books

Daily El Mundo (11/December/97). School books are not going to be free in mandatory education as asking for parents of pupils. Yesterday, the Plenum of Congress rejected by 161 votes against, 130 for and an abstention to debate in the Chamber the proposal of law that had been presented by the Spanish Confereration of Associations of Parents of Pupils (CEAPA) and was supported by 600.000 signs.

The legislative popular initiative presented by the CEAPA asked for cost-free status of school books in mandatory education, from 6 to 16 years.

The party PP and the nationalist parties, CiU and PNV, voted against the proposal arguing total cost-free status produces inequality by treating in the same way families with resources and the most unfavoured ones. Besides, representatives of this political groups argued that total cost-free status would have negative effects, provoking two kinds of pupils: those ones using new books and those would have to conform to used books, because pupils should return their books when finishing the course.


December, 1996. Rejected the legislative petition to warrant a budgetary minimum for Education

Daily El Mundo (11/December/96). Three years after, they said no. The Congress rejected the popular initiative promoted by CC.OO for a law of financing public system. Signs of over 625.000 citizens have been unuseful

Promoters of the initiative sent a letter to parliamentary groups to delay the debate, by estimating that now, in open educative conflict, its debate is not suitable.

However, the proposal was rejected and yesterday the parliamentary group of PP refused in the plenum of Congress of Deputies to take on consideration the popular legislative initiative asking for a setting law of regulation financing of Education.

The so-named "Law of Financing" of the LOGSE (Law of General Regulation of Educative System) is, according to its supporters (IU, CC.OO, UGT and since this course PSOE), the procedure to assure permanent financing of education regardless of ruling political party.

According to the deputy Luis de Grandes, party PP respects the legislative popular initiative, but it estimates now it is obsolete, then his group will vote against acceptance, and he pinpoints the position of PP coincides with the former socialist Goverment's one.

It is proper to emphasize the last and shameful experience (June/2002), when Congress rejected unanimoulsy to process a petition of over 1.300.000 citizens (almost three times of required signs). Following evidence could be denied only from institutional cynicsm: this amount of signs has a sovereign legitimacy cuantitatively upper than votes used to elect some existing parliamentary groups; purely, to grant more weight for votes applied to Representative Democracy is hypocritical.

But its sovereign legitimacy is also cualitatively upper to be popular expression on a specific issue; using a scientific comparison we could state "density of sovereign legitimacy" is maximum when aplication area is minimum. Talking about this legislative petition, if spanish Regime's elite were not blind by arrongance, they would have had political understanding to admit at least to proceedings the proposal of 1.300.000 citizens.

Reader will be able to estimate that if spanish legislative petition was really legislative popular initiative (that is to say, if it finished in referendum together with the parliamentary counterproposal), then today petition of June/2002 would be law.

Also reader could estimate if spanish Regime had not forbidden popular initiative for referendum of revocation of elected post (recognized freedom, for instance, in the actual venezolan constitution), likely today there would be an initiative of revocation for all of deputies signed by 1.300.000 citizens.

In general, all of these regrettable decisions not only unlegimitize representative democracy but also provoke a wave of citizen disappointment about political freedoms of Direct Democracy. An unfair disappointment because actually there are only scarce (0.2 petitions/year) and sickly political freedoms which are persistly shown by propaganda media as the procedures of "citizen participation" within Regime.

Practice of legislative petition as for regional scope

Due to amount and significance of restricted issues for the legislative petition, only a few groups of activism are being able to make use of this freedom: majority of regional legislative petitions have been about enviromental protection.

Practice of legislative petition as regional scope is quite scarce. We have not got enough resources to assure following list is exhaustive and includes all of legislative petitions happened as for regional scope. But surely, it is a very reasonable and representative aproximation.

In hand. Canary Isles, proposed a legislative petition about
enviromental protection
The Platform in Defence of the Malpaís of Güímar and Track of El Socorro handed over, in October 15th of 2001, the signs of 23.024 people supporting its legislative petition in the Parliament of Canary Isles, asking for extension of protection of the Malpaís of Güímar up to include the Track of El Socorro.

February 2002. Aragon, Promoter Committe withdraws the legislative petition
In 1998 37.000 signs was released (while being needed 15.000) supporting a proposal of law for promotion of energy saving and renewable energies. However, after over three years(!!) of parliamentary process the Promoter Committe asked for its withdrawal by estimating final text approved by Parliament was substantially diverted from initial nature. The legislative assembly did not object to withdrawal. Despite understandable unrest of promoters, they must find consolation from thinking right of proposal of withdrawal is an aragonese singularity. No other community, as for national scope either, enjoys this small warranty.

2001. Valencia, rejected legislative petition of regulation and protection of Huerta of Valencia as protected natural space

Promoted by Izquierda Verde of the Vega Baja with support over twice the required 50.000 signs. It had aim of safeguarding virtues of valencian huerta, bringing together measures to warrant its preservation and survival. It was rejected by regional legislative assembly.

December 2000. Basque Country, approved the Chart of Social Rights from a legislative petition
The legislative petition of the Chart of Social Rights against unemployment and poverty, was inspired by the social movement in Europe by Basic Income. It was presented when a vivid debate within movement was happening, what even led up to promoters tried to induce modifications once parliamentary process had started. On the other side, the own political groups interpreted and amended the petition, generating some complaints about distorting original nature.

Generally, this petition has been involved in non-related political negotiations. Initial text was supported by 30.000 signs and took over three years to be processed.

November 2000. Catalonia, approved the regulation of incineration of residues from a legislative petition

This legislative petition has been marked by denunciation and unrest of its promoters. Presented in March/1998 with the sign of 107.000 people, it proposed ban of this activity and promotion of alternative systems. What initally was proposed in terms of ban was imparied up to an unacceptable level for its promoters, who publicly reported its desire of breaking with the approved law.

1992. Aragon, created the Council of Protection of Nature from a legislative petition

The Council of Protection of Nature was from a proposal of the Environmentalist Coordinating Comitte of Aragon (CEA) to create an organ of citizen participation in environment. Required 15.000 signs were collected to present before the regional legislative house the proposal. The Law 2/1992 created the Council of Protection of Nature, though quite decreased and cutted by parliamentary groups, remaining finally as consultative organ.

As national practice, regional practice is very scarce (0.3 petitions/year) and with some petitions actually disappointing. Eclectic reader could still find consolation because described practice allows to estimate clearly how some petitions would have ended up if they were real popular initiatives, that is to say if they had reached a binding referendum on their legislative proposals together with their parliamentary counterproposal.

Practice of the consultative plebiscite

March 12th of 1986. Consultative plebiscite on integration in the NATO's civil structure

This plebiscite is one of darkest pages of actual Regime, and still today it provokes several errors and equivocations; let us start clarifying them:
Historical context of this plebiscite was the radical change of position of spanish socialdemocrat party, PSOE. During first years of Fascist Transition, the party PSOE held positions more typically left-oriented than communist party PCE; among these positions was a strong activism against the NATO. In October/1981 the spanish congress decided (without plebiscite) integration into the NATO, and negotiations of integration were started; spanish socilademocrats (PSOE) exploited politically popular rejection against mentioned decision. Once PSOE got its first absolute parliamentary majority, they began an acute change of position culminating in calling the mentioned plebiscite.

President of the Government, Felipe Gonzalez, presented in consultative plebiscite an intricate question (Art. 1 y 2), that together with the very short duration of campaign (Art. 4), provoked deliberately uncertainty among people.

All of parties, except for communist one, supported (by means of several ways) integration into the NATO, but vast majority of people was against. Campaign took 14 days, during this term propaganda media of Regime published every day voting poll. First days reflected known opposition against the NATO, but little by little "supposed" support for the PSOE's proposal was growing. All of propaganda media did their utmost in a blatant campaign in favour of positive vote.

Last day of the campaing, the socialdemocrat leader Felipe Gonzalez, as president of the Government (caller of plebiscite), appeared in TV proclaiming that he refused to manage a negative result. This public appearance provoked a real wave of fear among people (reader must try to understand that five years before Spain had suffer from a violent coup, and political opposition was -and is still- plenty of persons come from or educated in former dictatorship).

There also are reports of unusual troubles in mail voting, mainly used by young voters (students and soldiers of mandatory service). By all of these reasons, there are reasonable doubts in some circles perhaps Regime dared to electoral fraud.

The official result of plebiscite was: a turnout of 59% of electoral body, and a 56% of voters approved integration into civil structure of the NATO.

Strictly there have never been a referendum on integration into the NATO. As described, decision of membership happened in 1981 (without plebiscite) and militar integration (without plebiscite) was in July 7th of 1997, with parliamentary majority of capitalist right. Let us remember one charming anecdote in 1997, faithful reflection of political landscape in Spain:
The same day of NATO summit (July 7th of 1997) a national daily launched, with false indignation, a piece of information about spanish military men had arrived at a brothel in armoured vehicle where quarrels were provoked. Likewise indignant, the rest of propaganda media echoed the new, but they forgot to explain to their consumers that the fact had happened actually nine months before. The clumsy media manipulation of Regime tried to serve antimilitarist rubbish-food, while its leaders signed militar integration into the NATO. [More information]
Memory of NATO plebiscite is a nightmare for spanish democrats. Formally its an infamous happening under suspicion, but besides it continues provoking among people discredit of political freedoms of Direct Democracy.

A last reference allow us to know more precisely democrat mentality of leader who called for plebiscite. Following statements were published in the book "Presidents", Victoria Prego. Ed.Plaza&Janes, 2000:
Felipe González: "I felt bad. I think it is the most dificult decision in my whole life, the hardest moment during my term of office. I felt bad then and also later. I was perfectly aware of, despite having won the referendum, and because having won it, I would have to pay a very high price in terms of attachment, not to mention of votes. And of course we paid: in 1986 and also in 1987, certainly, and it happened so because it was entrusted to citizens moral responsability that did not concern them.

This was the reason to pay and no another thing.... Imagine that a referendum was held on breaking up war. Citizens have not to decide!, They do not get paid for it!, they do to be citizens!, they do not get paid to decide of a militar pact is suitable or not, sheet! For such a decision they have their representatives, who they trust more or less in, but they are there for such a decision".

Practice of Non-Governmental Direct Democracy

Lack of political freedoms of Direct Democracy legitimizes to people for stating Constituent Power by all of means within their reach. The own spanish constituion is armoured, being forbidden popular initiative for constituional amendment.

Under these painful conditions it is hardly surprising that people arrange non-governmental events of Direct Democracy, acts that Regime ignores systematically, or even represses.

Following there is an account of non-governmental events of Direct Democracy known for us. Likely there are unknown instances, unknown due to harsh behaviour of propaganda media of Regime.

September 29th of 2001. Non-governmental referendum on urbanization of Square Of the Castle in town of Pamplona (Navarra).
The project of corporation of Pamplona (Navarra), city in the north of Spain, about rearranging the downtown Square of the Castle and building an underground parking provoked popular mobilization aimming to have a say. 25000 signs were collected asking for calling a referendum (Pamplona has 180000 inhabitants); the town council with an arrogant gesture rejected the popular petition. More information in

People were obliged to ignore legal procedures of regime to be able to express their opinion. National authorities forbidden the popular act, thanks for one fast judicial sentence policial repression was avoided. Local authorities boycotted the act denying resources and sites. In broad street 19.639 people voted, 94% of them were against municipal project. Authorities do not respect results.

March 12th of 2000. Social Consultation for Abolition of Foreign Debt
Organize throughout Spain by Citizen Net for Abolition of Foreign Debt, RCADE ( planned to people three questions about abolition of foreign debt. For more information browse

RCADE decided social consultation coincide with a national electoral day, as well put their voting tables near to electoral colleges; trying to take advantage of influx of people to make easy participation in consultation. However, Regime sensed this decision as a provocation, forbiding the act and organized its repression. Promoters legitimized by lack of political freedoms of Direct Democracy decided to go on the consultation. (Lot of adittional information is available)

Despite massive repression and numerous incidents, this consulation was a great organizational and participation outcome. 1.087.792 people voted in the consultation (estimating urns where had not repression, participation would have reached 2.224.714 people). 97% of voters answered in the affirmative to questions.

This one has been the bigger non-governmental event of Direct Democracy. It is painful to report Regime did not only repress it actively, also has ignore its results.

Even worse, RCADE is an organization harshly punished. The brutal repression of a pacific "non-authorized" demostration near to spanish Congress can be verified in the report International Amnesty/2001; as colophon of those thrashing Regimen has sentenced in July/2002 one of victims to two years in jail by "disobedience".

October/1999. Parents of 53000 children insist on fulfilment of the school referendums

This incident was not strictly a non-governmental event of Direct Democracy, but it reflects to until what extent arrogance of Regime ignores every popular decision.

According to directives of educative authorities, in June 1999 a lot of public schools in the East of Madrid (capital of Spain) voted by referendum on the educative project of next year. Authorities order that if a change of school timetable is pretended (for instance, non-split school day) then referendum must be supported by a qualified majority of 80% (!!!). Once referendums were held, mentioned majority of 80% was reached in 106 schools (53000 children in all).

Incidentally, next month educative competences were transfered to regional government of Madrid, and new authorities refused to recognize electoral results, forcing to start school year using old school timetable against will of over 80% of affected people.

Parents of children mobilized themself and protested against aggression, many teachers tried to help parents offering balanced solutions, however they were threatened with reprisals and Regime sent political commissars (educative inspectors) to assure completion of its arrogant decision.

Few months later, teachers surpassed by repress and parents disappointed by lack of results from their mobilizations were obliged to forget their referendums and to go on using old school timetables. (More information)

8/March/1998. People of County of Trevino vote in non-governmental referendum its segregation of province of Burgos.
This small territory in the north of Spain (221 km2 y 1100 habitants) is literally immersed in (surrounded by) province of Alava (which provincial capital is 15 Km. far) however belongs to province of Burgos (which provincial capital is 100 Km. far). More information in http:///

For long time social collectives, as well several institutions (towns of the county, Diputation of Alava, legislative assembly of Basque Country) are asking national government for calling a referendum on eventual segregation; national government rejects continously the petition. (More information).

It made people to ignore legal procedures of Regime in order to be able to express their opinion. 76% of people of County of Trevino voted, and 68% of them for segregation of province of Burgos.

Regime did not repress celebration of referendum, but it does not respect results. Circumstance of segregation were between Castile and Basque Country provokes whole weight of conflict among nationalists prevent from a reasonable solution.

Historical Antecedents

Antecedents of Direct Democracy in Spain are rare, outstanding political freedoms protected by the Constitution of spanish II Republic (1931). We have not got information about practice of these freedoms, likely the short live of the spanish II Republic avoided their practice. We have not got information either about regulation and practice of Direct Democracy as for regional and local scope.

Following a short account is offered:
Above minimum experience does not lead up to an historical background of political culture for actual spanish society. Franco's genocide and decades of dictatorship erased every historical memory.

Applicable legislation

Present report has been development trying to warrant scientific minimum for our research. Motivated reader will be able to verify on the own legislation conclusions (sometimes conclusions of distressing harshness) which are arisen from formal study of political freedom of Direct Democracy.

Selected articles of following legislation are appended:

Spanish Constitution of December 9th of 1931
[full text]
Article 6
Spain gives up to war as tool of national policy

Article 22.
Any province constituting an autonomous region or as part of it will be able to resign its regimen and to return as province bound to Central Power. To take this decision needs the initiative of majority of its town councils and the ratification of, at least, two thirds of electors registered in the roll of province.

Article 66.
People can force to have a say holding a "referendum" on laws approved by the Courts. It will be enough, to be requested by a 15% of electoral body.

This resource will not be applicable to: the Constitution, its complementary laws, laws about ratification of international convenants registered in the Society of Nations, regional Estatutes, and tax laws either.

People will be also able, exercising right of initiative, to introduce a bill into the Courts, if it is required by at least a 15% of electors.

A special law will regulate procedure and warranties of "referendum" and popular initiative.

Article 123.
To appear before the Court of Constitutional Warranties will be feasible for:
  1. Attorney organs
  2. Judges and courts according art.100
  3. Government of the Republic
  4. Spanish regions
  5. Every single or collective person, even if they had been directly affected.

Article 124.
A special organic law, approved by these Courts, will establish immunities and prerogatives of members of the Court and the extent and effects of appeals mentioned in art. 121.

Spanish Constitution of December 27th of 1978
[full text]

Article 63.
1. The King accredits ambassadors and another diplomatic representatives. Foreign representatives in Spain are accredited before him.

2. To express consent of State to bind internationally by means of treaties, in accordance with the Constitution and laws, concerns the King.

3. Prior authorisation of the Courts, to break out war and peace concerns the King.

Article 81

1. Organic laws are those ones related to development of fundamental rights and public freedoms, those ones approving Statutes of Autonomy [regional states], general electoral framework and those ones stated by this Constitution

2. Approval, amendment and repeal of organic laws need absolute majority of the Congress, during a final voting over the whole of the proposal.

Article 87.
1. Legislative initiative concerns to the Government, the Congress and the Senate, according to Constitution and the Regulations of the chambers.

2. Assemblies of Autonomous Communities will be able to ask the Government for adopting a law draft or to send a law proposal to the Board of Congress, delegating before mentioned chamber at the most three members of the Assembly in charge of its defence.

3. An organic law will regulate practice and requirements of popular initiative to formulate law proposals. In any case, at least 500.000 verified signs will be needed. Mentioned initiative will not applicable to matters owing by organic laws, tributary laws or with international character, nor related to prerogative of grant.

Article 92.
1. Political decisions with special transcendence will be able voted in consultative referendum by all of citiziens.

2. Referendum will be convoked by the King, by means of proposal of President of the Government, previously authorized by the Congress of Deputies.

3. An organic law will regulate conditions and procedure of several kinds of referendum covered by this Constitution.

Article 147. [Statute of Autonomy]
1. According to present Constitution, Statutes will be the basic institutional norm within each Autonomous Community and the State will recognize and protect them as an integral part of its juridic framework.

2. Statutes of Autonomy will have to contain:
a. The best denomination of the Community describing its historical identity.
b. Delimitation of its territory.
c. Denomination, organization and location of the own autonomous institutions.
d. Assumed accountabilities within framework stated by the Constitution and bases for transfering associated services.
3. Reform of Statutes will comply with procedure stated by themself, and will require, in any way, approval of the [national] Legislative Houses, by an organic law.

Article 148.
[Competences of Autonomous Communities]


2. Five years later, Autonomous Communities will be able to extend their competences successively according to article 149, by means of amendment of their Statutes.

Article 149. [Competencias del Estado]
1. The State has got exclusive accountability for following matters:

32th. Authorization to hold popular consultations via referendum

Article 162. [Formulation of appeal: legitimation]
1. It is legitimized
a. To formulate appeal of unconstitutionality: President of the Government, the Ombusdman, 50 Deputies, 50 Senators, executive collective organs of Autonomous Communities and their Legislative Assemblies.

b. To formulate appeal of protection, every natural or juridical person invoking a legimitate interest, as well as the Ombusdman and attorney function.
2. In the other cases, the organic law will establish legitimized persons and organs.

Article 166. [Constitutional amendment: initiative]
Initiative of constitutional amendment will be exercised in the terms stated by items 1 and 2 of article 87.

Article 167. [Constitutional amendment: General and ordinary character]
1. Proposals of constitutional amendment must be approved by a majority of three one-fifth of every chamber. If there not were agreement between them, it will be tried creating a committee with equal number of deputies and senators which will offer a text that will be voted by the Congress and the Senate.

2. If approval is not possible by means of above procedure, and in the case of the text had obtained positive vote of absolute majority of the Senate, the Congress will be able to approve the amendment by two one-third.

3. Once amendment was approved by the legislative houses, will be voted in referendum to ratify it when be requested, before fifteen days since its approval, by one-tenth of members of any chamber.

Article 168. [Constitutional amendment: extraordinary character]
1. When have being proposed complete revision of the Constitution or partial one affecting to the Preliminary Heading, to 2nd Chapter, 1st Section of Heading I or to Heading II, will be needed approval by majority of two one-third of both chambers, and immediate dissolution of the legislative houses.

2. The elect chambers must ratify the decision and to begin study of the new constitutional text, which must be approved by two one-third of both chambers.

3. Once approved the amendment by the legislative houses, it will be voted in referendum for ratification.

Regulations of Congress of Deputies, of February 24th of 1982
[full text]
Article 145
Amendment of a Statute of Autonomy, processed according norms stated by itself, will require be approved by Organic Law.

Article 161

1. It [the consultive referendum] will require mandatory authorization of the Congress of Deputies, after proposal by Decree of the President of Government before the King calling on consultive referendum about any political issue of significative nature.

2. Message or communication addressed by President of the Government to the Congress will be debated by the Plenum of the Chamber. Debate will conform to norms reserved for totality one.

3. Decision of the Congress will be notified by President of the Chamber to President of the Government.

Law of Statute of Workers, of March 24th of 1995

Article 67.  Calling for elections and term of office


3. Duration of term of delegates of personnel and members of committe of company will be four years, holding in exercise of their competences and warranties while new elections had not been promoted and held.

During their term of office, delegates of personnel and members of committe of company could be only revoked by decision of workers who elected them, by means of an assembly called for this decision by at least one third of electors. It is needed absolute majority of them, by personal, free, direct and secret suffrage. Nevertheless, this revocation could not happen during negotiation of a collective bargain, and to raise again either until six months had at least passed.


Organic law regulating popular legislative initiative (sic), of March 26th of 1984
[full text]

Article 7. [Beginning of procedure to collect signs and its term]
1. Once proposal is admited, the Board of Congress informs it to Central Electoral Council, which will guarantee regularity of procedure of collection of signs.

2. Central Electoral Council will notify admision of proposal to Promoter Committe, in order to begin collection of required signs.

3. Procedure of collection of signs will have to finish giving collected signs to Provincial Electoral Councils, within the term of six months starting at notification mentioned in the former paragraph. This term could be prorogued by three months when a weighted reason exists, estimated by Board of the Congress. Exhausted the term without delivering collected signs, initiative will expire.

Article 10. Special jurymen
1. Without prejudice to procedure stated in former article, signs could be also authenticated by special jurymen appointed by Promoter Committe.

2. Special jurymen can be spanish citizens, with all of their political and civi rights and without penal antecedents, which swear or promise before Provincial Electoral Councils to bear witness to authenticity of signs of supporters of the bill.

3. Special jurymen will fall into, in the case of falseness, the penal responsibilities provided by law.

Article 15. State compensation for incured spending
1. The State will compesate incured spending of Promoter Committe derived from spreading proposal and collection of signs when parliamentary process is reached.

2. Spending will have to be justified formally by Promoter Committe. State compensation will be never greater than 180.000 euros. This amount will be revised periodically by the Courts.

Organic law about regulation of the several kinds of referendum, January 18th of 1980
[full text]

Article 14
1. During propaganda campaign, public communication media will have to grant free slots. Only political groups with representation in the Courts will have right to use free slots, according following criteria:
a) When consultation is along the whole territory of the State, slots with national coverage will be granted. In this case political groups with representation in the Courts will be beneficiary, proportionally to number of deputies got in last general elections.

b) In the other kinds of referendum regulated in this law, slots will be granted within emissions, during prime time, or publications covering the provinces where the referendum will be held.  In this case beneficiaries will be political groups proportionally to representation in the Congress of Deputies, got in any province where referendum will be held, and in legislative assembly of Autonomous Community or, if in default, within any provincial deputation included by territory where referendum will be held.
2. Mailing of propaganda about referendum will have exemption and special service according to a specific regulation.

Article 15
1. Duration of campaign cannot be lower than ten, nor upper than twenty days, and it will end at 00:00 hours of day before to voting day.

2. During five days before is forbidden publishing, total or partial spread or comment of elements or results of any survery or public-opinion poll, as well operations of estimation of voting from public-opinion poll, related direct or indirectly with consultation held by referendum.
Additional Disposition
Dispositions of present law do not cover with its regulation popular consultations that can be held by Municipal Councils, related to significative matters within municipal scope, in their own territories, according to legislation of Local Regime, and always maintaining exclusive competence of State for its authorization.

Decree of calling for referendum (sic) in relation to NATO, of February 6th of 1986
[full text]
Article 1. [Government Agreement]
By agreement of Goverment of January 31th of 1986, a consultive referendum of every people will be held on following political decision:


Complete text of political decision subject of consultation
"The Government estimates suitable, for national concerns, Spain remains in the Atlantic Alliance, and decides mentioned permanence is established in following terms:
1.º Participation of Spain in the Atlantic Alliance will not include its involvement into integrated militar structure.

2.º Prohibition of installing, storing or entering nuclear weapons in Spain will be kept.

3.º Progressive reduction of militar presence of the United States will be started."

Article 2. [Text of consultation]
In relation to mentioned decision the Electoral Body will have to answer following question:
"Do you estimate suitable for Spain to remain within the Atlantic Alliance in terms accorded by the Government of the Nation?"

Article 4. [Electoral campaign]
Electoral campaign will take fourteen days, and will finish at zero hours of day 11 of March of 1986.

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