IEA Newsletter

ISSN 2013-2700

.: February 2009

© Institut 
d'Estudis Autonòmics
  Palau Centelles 
Bda. de Sant Miquel, 8 
08002 Barcelona 
+34 933429800
  Recent Developments in Self-Government in Spain  
  Events Organized at the IEA  
  J. M. Vilaseca Award  
  Documentary and Bibliographic Holdings  
  Recent Publications of Interest  


Recent Developments in Self-Government in Spain



Coming political events


On the 1st of March 2009, regional elections were hold both in the Basque Country and Galicia.




Elections in the Basque Country

The most significant differences between the 2009 and the 2005 Elections were

• The political parties that stand for elections.

In 2005 Communist Party of the Basque Homelands (PCTV), a radical independentist left-wing party pro-ETA, contested the elections;it obtained more than 12.4% of the share of the vote and 9 seats in the Basque Parliament. The party was banned in 2008 on the bases of applying the anti-terrorist objectives of the Law of Parties. Its social and political supporters tried to form alternative electoral platforms that by creating two lists of candidates for the elections: Askatasuna and Democrazia 3 Milio. The Spanish Government, through the Office of the General Attorney, presented an action against the lists, and on the 8th of February 2009, the Spanish Supreme Court decided to ban both lists on the grounds of their proved links with the ETA support network. As a consequence, the 2009 Basque Elections had no standing candidates representing the pro-ETA radical independentist left-wing.

In 2009 a new state-wide party stand for the elections: the Union, Progress and Democracy Party. The party was created by an ex-socialist Basque leader, Mrs. Rosa Díez. The party defines itself as anti-nationalist, understanding “nationalism” only as peripherical nationalism (i.e Basque, Catalan nationalism). The new party managed to obtained 2.7% of the share of the vote and one seat (still at stake between the UPyD and the Socialists).

The most significant political consequences derived from the 2009 Basque elections have been:

• The electoral defeat of two out of the three incumbent coalition parties has brought about the defeat of the governmental coalition. Although the main party of the coalition, the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV) increased considerably (an unexpectably) its support in absolute and relative figures as well as in seats (from 22 to 30), the other two parties, Eusko Alkartasuna (EA) and Ezker Batua (EB-B) completely collapsed. Altogether, the seats of the three parties are 5 seats short from an absolute majority (38 seats). Even a politically feasible support from Aralar (4 seats) would not be enough to provide the parliamentary support to govern. The most likely consequence is, therefore, a change of government. The EAJ-PNV has been in office since the first Basque elections in 1981.

• The Basque Socialists (PSE-EE) dramatically increased its support. It increased in more than 8% of the share of the vote and in 6 the number of seats. With 24 seats (a bit less of a third of the Parliament), the PSE-EE seems to be the most likely governmental candidate. The People’s Party (PP) has declared its intention to provide the parliamentary support (13 seats) to allow the Socialist candidate, Mr. Patxi López, to become the new Basque prime minister. The Socialist and PP MPs would provide 37 seats, at only one seat from an absolute majority. The one seat needed could be provided by the UPyD Party, if the definitive results would confirm it.




Elections in Galicia


Main Trends Observed in Electoral results.

  • The PP won 2 extra seats with practically the same number of votes as in the previous elections and regained the absolute majority it had lost in 2005.
  • The number of votes won by both parties in office, the Socialist Party of Galicia (PSdeG) and the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG), decreased dramatically, with each party losing one seat each. The number of seats they won between them did not allow them to form a coalition government as in the last elections.
  • A record turnout of a little over 70% has been confirmed. In 2005, turnout was 64.21%.
  • In general lines it could be said that given the higher turnout, the dramatic loose of votes of the governmental coalition, and the fact that the PP did not receive the main bulk of "new" voters (the turnout increased in 6.24% with respect to 2005 Elections), both "new" voters and a large number of voters who in 2005 voted for the Socialist and the Galician Nationalists, in 2009 voted for non-parliamentary parties. The share of the vote of the 3 most-voted non-parliamentary parties (UPyD, TEGA and EU-IU) has reached 3.59%.


Latest News


Navarre: the Break-Up of the Pact between UPN and the PP

Last October 28th, 2008 saw the fomal dissolution of the 17 year old pact between the Popular Party (PP), a statewide party, and Unión del Pueblo Navarro (UPN), a regional party that has governed in minority in Navarre since May 2007. The pact, signed in 1991, meant that the regional branch of the PP in Navarre had become integrated into UPN, with the former renouncing its right to present its own electoral lists in the electoral constituencies of the autonomous community In reciprocation, it was agreed that the representatives of UPN in the two houses of the Spanish parliament would join the PP's respective parliamentary groups (GPP), and as a consequence accept the voting whip imposed by the group. The immediate cause leading to the break up of the pact was precisely do to with some of the UPN MPs questioning and finally refusing to comply with the voting whip, although the tensions between the two parties had arisen as a result of the governing accord that had been established tacitly in Navarre between UPN and the Socialist Party of Navarre following the autonomous government elections of May 2007. As a result of this accord, the socialists had promised to give parliamentary support to enable the forming and sustaining of a UPN minority government. In this double alliance situation that UPN found itself in with both statewide parties , open conflict between UPN and the PP broke out during the autumn of 2008 with the voicing of disagreements between the leadership of the two parties regarding the voting direction of UPN's MPs and senators in the vote in the Spanish Parliament Spanish over the bill concerning the general budget. (+)



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  Horizontal cooperation

On 23 February, the third meeting of the autonomous communities which have recently reformed their autonomous statutes -Catalonia, Aragon, Andalusia, Castilla y Leon, Balearic Islands and Valencian Community- was held. The first meeting was held in Zaragoza, and the second in Seville. Initially, the autonomous governments decided to create a working group to jointly analyse the rate at which the respective statutes should be implemented, and the main challenges. However, they have gone further, and have committed to increasing horizontal cooperation and inviting the other autonomous communities to participate in similar meetings.

In Valladolid, the operating standards of the group were approved, and the first two conventions on cooperation regarding gender violence, and hunting and fishing, were signed. There was also support for conference with the presidents of autonomous communities, at which central government would not be present.

The next meeting will be held in Valencia at the end of June.

Operating standards of the group


Convention of autonomous communities on gender violence


Convention of autonomous communities on hunting and fishing





The Processes Leading to the Reforms of the Statutes of Autonomy and the Implementation of the Reforms

Between 2005 and 2007, eight autonomous regions started their processes of reforming their respective statutes of autonomy. As can be seen in Table 1 Chronology of the Reforms 2005-2008, of these eight reform processes, six have been completed. Of the two remaining ones, one (that for reforming the Statute of the Canary Islands) was withdrawn from its passage through the Spanish Parliament at the request of the promoters themselves. The other, (Castilla-La Mancha) is currently being processed by the Spanish Parliament (see IEA Newsletter October 2008) (+)

Table 1. Chronology of the Reforms (2005-2008) 


Approval of the Proposal for Reform

(Autonomous-Community Parliament)

Final Approval of the Reform (1)

(Spanish Parliament)

Ratification by Referendum (2)


Comunitat Valenciana












Balearic Islands








Canary Islands


withdrawn (3)


Castilla y León




Castilla-La Mancha


being processed


(1) In legal terms, t he Statutes of Autonomy take the form of Spanish "organic laws" (legislation with special protection under the Constitution) and as such, the original Statutes and any subsequent reforms must be approved by the Spanish Parliament according to the mechanisms applicable for such legislation.

(2) The ratification of the reforms by referendum applied only to Andalusia and Catalonia , because this was established by their respective statutes of autonomy and by the Spanish Constitution. Referenda would also be required were the Basque Country and Galicia to reform their statutes.

(3) In January 2008, the parliament of the Canary Islands withdrew its proposed reforms from the Spanish Parliament and consequently, the reform of the Canary Islands Statute has been officially renounced.


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Legal Resources


Recent Autonomous-Community Legislation (in Spanish)

  Principado de Asturias  
  Balearic Islands  
  Basque Country  
  Canary Islands  
  Castilla-La Mancha  
  Castilla y León  
  Comunidad de Madrid  
  Región de Murcia  
  Comunidad Foral de Navarra  
  La Rioja  
  Comunitat Valenciana  


Autonomous-Community Legislation Compared: Tables and Figures



Agreements of the Bilateral Commissions -BC- (Central Government and the Autonomous Communities)


Agreements reached by the BC between September and December 2008 (in Spanish)



One of the main goals of the bilateral commissions is to be a government negotiation forum that allows those involved to reach   agreement and find compromise solutions in the face of a clear discrepancy of powers between an autonomous government and the central government regarding a law approved either by the parliament of the autonomous community specifically or by the Spanish Parliament. The final goal is in fact to encourage the resolving of discrepancies of powers in   technical-political forums, and thus to avoid appeals of unconstitutionality being lodged in the Constitutional Court .

The compilation that we have performed for each of the   BCs for the period 2007-2008 contains a complete reference to the object of the discrepancy (the law and the specific articles   in detail), the reference to the agreements (that of beginning and the end of negotiations), and where negotiations have failed to reach an agreement, the reference to the unconstitutionality appeal lodged.

The information on the negotiating activities for each bilateral commission is supplemented by a document ("Tables and Figures") that   provides comparative data about the negotiating activity of the various commissions set up during the 2007-2008 period. Thus absolute data is provided which reveals which commissions were held most often, and what the results were; a measurement is obtained of the degree of success of the negotiations of each individual commission and in general; and data is provided that enables us to establish the relative weight of each type of legislation (autonomous or central government) motivated by the disagreement, for each bilateral commission and for the negotiations as a whole.


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Compilation of the 2007-2008 Agreements (in Spanish)

  Canary Islands  
  Balearic Islands  
  Región de Murcia  
  Comunitat Valenciana  



Tables and Figures




Constitutional Court


Ruling 13/2009, 12 January 2009 (in Spanish)

Unconstitutionality appeal 4057-2005, lodged by 62 members of Parliament from Partido Populars's parliamentary group against the articles 3.7 (second paragraph) and 20.4 b), 5, 6 i 7, and the second (two), fourth and fifth final provisions of the Act of the Basque Parliament 4/2005, 18 February promoting the equality betwen women and men.

Decision: To reject the unconstitutionality appeal 4057-2005, lodged by 62 members of Parliament from Partido Populars's parliamentary group against the articles 3.7 (second paragraph) and 20.4 b), 5, 6 i 7, and the second (section two), fourth and fifth final provisions of the Act of the Basque Parliament 4/2005, 18 February promoting the equality betwen women and men.

There were votes by judges Jorge Rodríguez-Zapata y Pablo Pérez Tremps.




Rulings of the Court: 2008 Compilation (In Spanish)



Appeals of Inconstitutionally


Appeals against Autonomous-Community Laws (In Spanish)


Appeals against Spanish Laws (In Spanish)


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Conflicts on Distribution of Powers (in Spanish)

  Canary Islands  
  Castilla y León  
  Comunidad de Madrid  
  Comunitat Valenciana  



Constitutional Conflicts between the Autonomous Communities and Central Government (2007-2008): Tables and Figures




This document provides comparative data concerning the constitutional conflictiveness between the Autonomous Communities and Central Government institutions between 2007 and 2008. In that sense, absolute and relative data cross-Autonomous Community are provided, about the appeals of unconstitutionality and conflicts of jurisdiction brought before the Constitutional Court by both the Autonomous Communities and Central Government during the above-mentioned period. The figures and tables show the absolute and relative degree of constitutional conflictiveness of each Autonomous Community, and the proportion of the appeals and that of the conflicts upon the total amount of conflictiveness. Moreover, and in relation to the information on the bilateral commissions we provide above, some figures measure the weight of appeals of unconstitutionality against the Autonomous Community and Central Government laws arising from failure of the negotiations within the bilateral commissions, out of the total number of appeals.



Web Resources


Institutes of Public Opinion: Opinon Surveys


Centre d'Estudis d'Opinió . Government of Catalonia


Opinion Survey of the Catalan Government, February 2009


Index of Political Satisfaction, December 2009


Gabinete de Prospección Sociológica. Government of the Basque Autonomous Community


Euskal Soziometroa. No. 38. November 2008


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Events Organized at the IEA

Forthcoming Seminars


Multilingual systems and the Spanish Constitution, 18th of March

The seminar will be addressed to examine the multi-lingual model set by the Spanish Constitution. The seminar would start analyzing the Spanish case from a comparative law perspective; it would follow an analysis aiming at examining the extent to which it is possible to talk about one or several legal language system in Spain; then it would turn to analyse the effects of the new Statute of Catalonia in the deployment of the plurilingualism; and finally, it would assess from a general point of view the multi-language model constitutionally established.

The participants will be Giovanni Poggeschi, researcher of the Institute for Studies on Federalism and Regionalism of the European Academy of Bolzano (EURAC); Xabier Arzoz Santisteban, lecturer on administrative law of the University of the Basque Country; Jaume Vernet i Llobet, professor of constitutional law of the University Rovira i Virgili and counselor of the Advising Council of the Government of Catalonia; Joan Ramón Solé Durany, responsible for linguistic legislation of the Direction General of Language Planning and Promotion of the Government of Catalonia; and Antoni Milian i Massana, professor of administrative law of the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona.



The Distribution of Powers on Social Housing, 17th of April

This seminar will study several problems related to the distribution of powers on housing in Spain (i.e. conflicts of jurisdiction between the Autonomous Communities and Central Government but also between the former and the local governments...). The analysis of the Spanish case will be preceeded by an analysis of the U.S case.

The participants will be Patrícia Salkin, professor of law and director of the Government Law Center of Albany Law School; Gerardo Ruiz Rico, professor of constitutional law of the Universidad de Jaén; Domènec Sibina, professor of administrative law f the Universitat de Barcelona, and Juli Ponce, professor of administrative law of the Universitat de Barcelona.




Recent Seminars


The regulation of freedom of religion and the autonomous communities, 10th of December

The seminar analyzed the evolution of the role of the autonomous communities in regulating the freedom of religion since the early 1980. The seminar was focussed on analyzing the regulation on three areas: the integration of multi-cultural dimensions; urbanism and ubication of religious infraestructuresm and the financing of freedom of religion. Participants were Ricardo García García, from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; Rafael Navarro Valls, from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid ; Juan Manuel Alegre Ávila, from the Universidad de Cantabria, and Isidoro Martín Sánchez, from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

On the same subject, the IEA has just published a book, fruit of a research about this subject sent by the teacher Ricardo García García: La libertad religiosa en las Comunidades Autónomas: veinticinco años de su regulación jurídica. Col·lecció "Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics", 60.




The Spanish Central Government's Spending Power and its Effects on the Powers of Autonomous Communities, 28 November

This seminar started with an analysis of the current debate concerning Canada , studied the Spanish case from the point of view of constitutional case law, the central government's application of the criteria it establishes and the purpose of cofinancing agreements in the exercise of spending power. The lecturers Alain Noël, of the University of Montreal; Luis Pomed, of the University of Zaragoza; Manuel Carrasco, of the University of Seville, and Maria Jesús García Morales, of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, took part.


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  2on Edition of the Josep Maria Vilaseca i Marcet Award

On the 27 th of November this year the panel of professors which was to decide the winner of the 2 nd edition of the Josep Maria Vilaseca i Marcet Award, unanimously decided to grant the award ex-aecquo to both the following works:

- Infraestructures aeroportuàries, federalisme i autonomia política: un estudi comparat dels reptes de la gestió dels aeroports a Espanya i Alemanya (Airports, federalism and political autonomy: a comparative study of the challenges of managing airports in Spain and Germany), by Mercè Darnaculleta Gardella, lecturer in administrative law at the University of Constance, Germany.

- La reforma constitucional del federalismo alemán (Constitutional reform of German federalism), by Antonio Arroyo Gil, lawyer for the Democracy and Local Government Foundation.

The work by Mercè Darnaculleta Gardella is an analysis of how airports are managed in Germany and Spain . The German case is an example of a decentralized model of management, while the Spanish case is, in contrast, an absolutely centralized one. The study shows that the Spanish model of managing airports is an exception amongst federalized states. The comparative analysis allows conclusions to be drawn and proposals to be made concerning the Spanish model, which is currently being discussed.

The work by Antonio Arroyo Gil mainly deals with the first stage in reforming German federalism, which was concluded in 2006 and which will especially affect jurisdictions, Bund-Länder cooperation, the role of the Bundesrat, and the intervention of the Länder in decision-making processes concerning the EU, amongst others. The author analyses not just the terms under which the changes will bring about, but also what implications they might have for German federalism and how they are starting to function in practice.

The jury for this second time that the prize has been awarded was made up of the following academics: Carles Viver Pi-Sunyer, Director of the IEA and Professor of Constitutional Law at the Pompeu Fabra University; Pedro Cruz Villalón, Professor of Constitutional Law at the Autonomous University of Madrid; Guy Laforest, Professor of Political Science at Laval University; Karl-Peter Sommermann, Professor of Public Law at the Deutsche Hochschule für Verwaltungswissenschaften Speyer; Josep Maria Vallès Casadevall, Professor of Political Science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona; and Miquel Àngel Cabellos Espiérrez, Head of Research Unit of the IEA and Lecturer in Constitutional Law at the University of Girona.


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IEA Publications
The IEA Journal: Revista d'Estudis Autonòmics i Federals (REAF)

Last Issue No.7 (October 2008) is available via the web page.

Researchers interested in sending originals may do so by e-mail to the address Articles are subjected to anonymous evaluation (double blind system).


Recent publications

Més enllà de la nació unificadora: A favor del federalisme multinacional
Alain-G. Gagnon
"Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics" Collection, #58

L'economia política de la descentralització fiscal. Introducció de la política en l'estudi de les transferències intergovernamentals
Sandra León-Alfonso
"Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics" Collection, #59

La libertad religiosa en las Comunidades Autónomas: veinticinco años de su regulación jurídica
Ricardo García García (dir.)
"Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics" Collection, #60

Posición y funciones de los Tribunales Superiores de Justicia
Seminari, Barcelona 4 de juny de 2008
"Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics" Collection, #61

El sector públic en les comunitats autònomes: Una especial referència a Catalunya
Àngela Fernández i Céspedes
"Con(Textos)A" Collection, #8

El sistema de serveis socials a Catalunya: garantir drets, prestar serveis
Vicenç Aguado i Cudolà (coord.)
"Con(textos)A" Collection, #9

Federalisme: una introducció
George Anderson



Forthcoming Publications

El Federalista
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay
Estudi preliminar de John Kincaid, catedràtic de Government and Public Service i director del Meyner Center for the Study of State and Local Government d'Easton. Northampton, Pennsilvania.
"Clàssics del Federalisme" Collection, #1

El Govern Federal
K. C. Wheare
Estudi preliminar de Michael Burgess, catedràtic de Federal Studies i director del Centre for Federal Studies de la Universitat de Kent.
"Clàssics del Federalisme" Collection, #2

La vegueria com a govern local intermedi a Catalunya. Encaix constitucional de la seva regulació estatutària
Ricard Gracia Retortillo
"Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics" Collection, #62

L'avantsala de l'Estatut: l'autogovern de Catalunya a la llum de la seguretat pública (1978-2006)
Àlex Bas
"Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics" Collection, #63


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  Documentary and Bibliographic Holdings
  Journals and Books Summaries

Articles culled in the last two month (by subject area)



  Recent Publications of Interest

Descentralización, financiación y servicios públicos. Fortalecimiento de la ciudadanía y la cohesión social
Ábalos Meco, Luis. València: Tirant lo Blanch, 2008.

El Estatuto de autonomía de Andalucía de 2007
Agudo Zamora, Miguel (coord.). Sevilla: Centro de Estudios Andaluces, 2007.

Comentarios al Estatuto de Autonomía de las Islas Baleares
Avelino Blasco, Esteve (dir.). Madrid: Editorial Civitas, 2008.

Fiscal federalism and political decentralization lessons from Spain, Germany and Canada
Bosch Roca, Núria. Chelthenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2008.

La autodeterminación de los pueblos
Casañas, Joan. Barcelona: Icaria Editorial, 2008.

La financiación en la reforma del estatuto de autonomía de Extremadura
y en otros modelos autonómicos e internacionales
Elías Méndez, Cristina. Madrid: Dykinson, 2008.

Relaciones Intergubernamentales y Desarrollo Local. Bases Jurídicas para la Cooperación Iberoamericana entre Entes Territoriales
Fernández Allés, José Joaquín; María Gloria Trocello; M. Teresa Gómez Prieto. València: Tirant Lo Blanch, 2008.

Gobierno local y Estado autonómico
Font i Llovet, Tomàs. Barcelona: Fundación Democracia y Gobierno local, 2008.

D'un référendum à l'autre: le Québec face à son destin
Gagnon, Alain-G. Quebec: Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 2008.

Naciones y nacionalismo
Gellner, Ernest; John Breuilly. Madrid: Alianza, 2008.

La constitucionalidad de los Estatutos en materia de agua a propósito de la propuesta de Estatuto de Autonomía de Castilla La- Mancha
Garrorena Morales, Ángel; Antonio Fanlo Loras. Madrid: Fundación Instituto Euromediterraneo, 2008.

Diversité culturelle, identités et mondialisation. De la ratification à la mise en ouvre de la convention sur la diversité culturelle
Lachapelle, Guy. Quebec: Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 2008.

El palo y la zanahoria: política lingüística y educac¡ón en lrlanda (l922-1939) y el País Vasco (1980-1998)
Mezo, Josu. Madrid: Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales, 2008.

Capital social y gobernabilidad: el rendimiento político de las Comunidades Autónomas
Mota Consejero, Fabiola. Madrid: Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales, 2008.

Comentarios al Estatuto de Autonomía para Andalucía
Muñoz Machado, Santiago; Manuel Rebollo Puig (dir.). Pamplona: Editorial Civitas, 2008.

Decentralization In Asia And Latin America: A Comparative Interdisciplinary Perspective
Peterson, George E.; Paul Smoke; Eduardo J. Gomez. 2007.

Las reformas institucionales italianas
Prada Fernández de Sanmamed, José Luis. Madrid: Dilex, 2008.

Posibilidades constitucionales del principio de subsidiariedad
Rodríguez-lzquierdo Serrano, Miryam. Granada: Universidad de Granada, 2008.

Droit des collectivités territoriales
Verpeaux, Michel. París: Pr. Univ. France, 2008.

La inmigración en naciones minoritarias: Flandes, Quebec y Cataluña en perspectiva
Zapata-Barrero, Ricard. Barcelona: Icaria, 2008.


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