Constitution of the Kingdom of Spain

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First page of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Spain (1978) The text reads: “CONSTITUCIÓN ESPAÑOLA. Don Juan Carlos I, Rey de España. A todos los que la presente four y entendieren, Sabed: que las cortes generales han aprobado y el pueblo español ratificado la siguiente Constitución "

The currently valid constitution of the Kingdom of Spain came into force on December 29, 1978 .


The constitution was created in the so-called transition , i.e. the epoch of peaceful transition from the Franco dictatorship to a European state of the western type . It followed the Spanish constitutional laws that had been in force until then, known as the so-called Franco constitution, and constituted a collection of laws with a constitutional character. The predecessor of the constitutional laws was the constitution of the Spanish Republic of December 9, 1931.

The constitution of the Kingdom of Spain was passed on October 31, 1978 by the Spanish Chamber of Deputies , Congreso de los Diputados and the Senate and ratified by the Spanish people in a referendum on December 6, 1978. Seven politicians had previously been entrusted with drafting the new democratic constitution as padres de la constitución , four of whom came from the former Francoist camp (among them a former minister in the Franco dictatorship, Manuel Fraga Iribarne ).

King Juan Carlos I then signed the constitution on December 27, 1978. Since it came into force, the constitution has only been amended twice. By law of August 27, 1992 - in connection with the ratification of the EU Treaty - one word was replaced in Article 13, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution (“active right to vote” by “active and passive right to vote”). In September 2011 a “ debt brake ” was added to Article 135.


The Spanish constitution is divided into two main parts, the dogmatic part with the civil rights and obligations and the organic part with the legal framework of the state organs. For a Spanish version of the constitution on Wikisource see the end of this article.

Dogmatic part

This is where the fundamental rights and obligations of Spanish citizens and residents are laid down. It consists of the following sections:

  • preamble
  • Pre-title (Título Preliminar) - Articles 1 to 9: Spain is a welfare state and a democratic constitutional state , the people are the sovereign and the form of government is the parliamentary monarchy . Determination of the official language, flag , capital and political pluralism.
  • Title I: The fundamental rights and obligations - Articles 10 to 55
    • Chapter I: Spaniards and Foreigners - Articles 11 to 13
    • Chapter II: Rights and Freedoms - Articles 14 to 38
      • Section I: Fundamental Rights and Public Freedoms - Articles 15 to 29
      • Section II: Citizens' Rights and Obligations - Articles 30 to 38
    • Chapter III: The guiding principles of social and economic policy - Articles 39 to 52
    • Chapter IV: The guarantees of fundamental freedoms and rights - Articles 53 to 54
    • Chapter V: The suspension of rights and freedoms - Article 55

Organic part

In the organic part, the state structure and the framework of the state organs that exercise state authority are specified.

  • Title II: The Crown - Articles 56 to 65
  • Title III: The Cortes Generales - Articles 66 to 96: The Cortes Generales are the two chambers of the Spanish Parliament, the Upper House (cámara alta) Senate ( Senado ) and the Lower House (cámara baja) Congress of Deputies ( Congreso de los Diputados ) .
    • Chapter I: The Chambers - Articles 66 to 80
    • Chapter II: The drafting of laws - Articles 81 to 92
    • Chapter II: The International Treaties - Articles 93 to 96
  • Title IV: Government and Administration - Articles 97 to 107
  • Title V: Relations between the Government and the Cortes Generales - Articles 108 to 116
  • Title VI: The judiciary - Articles 117 to 127
  • Title VII: Economy and Finance - Articles 128 to 136
  • Title VIII: The Territorial Organization of the State - Articles 137 to 158
    • Chapter I: General Principles - Articles 137 to 139
    • Chapter II: Local Government - Articles 140 to 142
    • Chapter III: The Autonomous Communities - Articles 143 to 158
  • Title IX: The Constitutional Court - Articles 159 to 165
  • Title X: The constitutional reform - Articles 166 to 169: Simple constitutional amendments require 60% approval in both chambers or an absolute majority in the Senate and a two-thirds majority in the Congress; At the request of 10% of the members of the House of Representatives or the Senate, the constitutional amendment is submitted to a referendum. Changes to Title I, Chapter II, Section I, Articles 15 to 29, i.e. the fundamental rights, as well as Title II, i.e. concerning the Crown, require a two-thirds majority in both chambers, which are then dissolved; after the new election, the new parliament must again agree with a two-thirds majority in both chambers. The same applies to an overall revision of the constitution. Such major constitutional amendments must then be approved in a referendum in order to come into force.
  • Additional provisions - four provisions: including recognition and protection of customary rights ( fueros )
  • Transitional provisions - nine regulations
  • Repeal Provision - repeals previous constitutions and previous statutes with constitutional status.
  • Final provision - publication and entry into force.

The Spanish Constitution was published on December 29, 1978 in the Official Gazette (Boletín Oficial del Estado) in the “official” version (in Spanish ) and also in Catalan , Galician , Valencian , Basque and Balearic and came into force.




  • Francisco Balaguer Callejón: The System of Legal Sources in the Spanish Constitutional Order . In: Yearbook of Public Law of the Present , New Series / Vol. 49, 2001, pp. 413–442.
  • Manuel Medina Guerrero: Basics and main features of state constitutional law: Spain . In: Armin von Bogdandy , Pedro Cruz Villalón , Peter M. Huber (eds.): Handbuch Ius Publicum Europaeum (IPE) . CF Müller Verlag, Heidelberg 2007, Vol. I, pp. 625-685.
  • Mariano García Pechuán: Science of Constitutional Law: Spain . In: Armin von Bogdandy, Pedro Cruz Villalón, Peter M. Huber (eds.): Handbuch Ius Publicum Europaeum (IPE) . CF Müller Verlag, Heidelberg 2008, Vol. II, pp. 747-776.

Web links

Commons : Spanish Constitution of 1978  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Constitución española de 1978  - Sources and full texts (Spanish)
Wikisource: Spanish Constitution of 1978 (annotated)  - Sources and full texts (English)


  1. Here, Balearic does not stand for a delimited language, but the name stands as a pure collective term for the Balearic dialects, but not a codified language and certainly not an official language. In addition to Castilian / Spanish, the official language of the Balearic Islands is Catalan , or a dialect form of the latter ( languages ​​in Spain ).