Congress of Deputies (Spain)
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Congress of Deputies Spain

Congress of Deputies

Congreso de los Diputados
14th Congress of Deputies
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
History
Founded1834
Leadership
Meritxell Batet, PSOE
since 21 May 2019
Ana Pastor Julián, PP
since 3 December 2019
Gloria Elizo, UP
since 3 December 2019
Ignacio Gil Lázaro, Vox
since 3 December 2019
Pedro Sánchez, PSOE
since 1 June 2018
Pablo Casado, PP
since 21 July 2018
Structure
Seats350
Congreso de los Diputados de la XIV legislatura de España.svg
Political groups
Government (155)
  •   PSOE (120)
  •   UP (35)

Supported by (34)

Opposition (161)

Elections
Party-list proportional representation,
D'Hondt method
Last election
10 November 2019
Next election
2023
Meeting place
Sesión Solemne en el Congreso de los Diputados.jpg
Palacio de las Cortes
Madrid, Community of Madrid
Kingdom of Spain
Website
congreso.es
Rules
Standing Orders of the Congress of Deputies (English)
Congreso de los Diputados (built 1850): Palacio de las Cortes. Seat of the Spanish Parliament in Madrid (2016).

The Congress of Deputies (Spanish: Congreso de los Diputados; Basque: Diputatuen Kongresua; Catalan: Congrés dels Diputats; Galician: Congreso dos Deputados) is the lower house of the Cortes Generales, Spain's legislative branch. The Congress meets in the Palace of the Parliament (Palacio de las Cortes) in Madrid.

It has 350 members elected by constituencies (matching fifty Spanish provinces and two autonomous cities) by closed list proportional representation using the D'Hondt method. Deputies serve four-year terms. The presiding officer is the President of the Congress of Deputies, who is elected by the members thereof. It is the analogue to a speaker.

In the Congress, MPs from the political parties, or groups of parties, form parliamentary groups. Groups must be formed by at least 15 deputies, but a group can also be formed with only five deputies if the parties got at least 5% of the nationwide vote, or 15% of the votes in the constituencies in which they ran. The deputies belonging to parties who cannot create their own parliamentary group form the Mixed Group.[2]

After the 2019 general election in April, the number of female deputies was up to 168 representing 48% of all members, making Spain the European country with the highest percentage of women in parliament; surpassing Sweden and Finland.[3]

Constitutional position

House's nature

Composition

Plenary Hall

Section 68.1 of the Spanish Constitution establishes that the Congress of Deputies must be composed of among 300 deputies at least and 400 deputies at most. At present, the house has 350 deputies which is determined by the General Electoral Regime Organic Act, which was approved in 1985.

Electoral system

Deputies per constituency set for the General Election 2016

The Spanish Constitution establishes that the deputies are chosen by universal, free, equal, direct and secret suffrage. The election is held every four years or before in case of snap election. The members of the Congress are elected by proportional representation with closed lists in each constituency.

There are 50 multi-member constituencies for the Congress of Deputies which belong to the 50 provinces of Spain and the two single-member constituencies which belong to two autonomous cities (Ceuta and Melilla). According to the Spanish Electoral Act, each province shall be represented by at least two deputies, thus 102 deputies already apportioned. The remaining 248 deputies are allocated proportionally by constituency. This distribution can change in each election and it is specified when writs of election are issued. After the General Election, seats are assigned to the electoral lists in each constituency using the D'Hondt method in each constituency separately; parties receive seats in approximate proportion to the number of votes each received in the constituency. A strictly proportional system would result in fractional seats. The D'Hondt method resolves this by favoring parties receiving larger votes.

The 1985 General Electoral Regime Act establishes a 3% minimum valid votes by constituency requirement (blank votes count towards the total votes, but invalid ballots do not count) for a party to participate in the seat distribution for a constituency. This applies to the provinces that elect at least 24 deputies. At present, this condition applies only to Madrid and Barcelona.

In March 2011, the General Electoral Regime Organic Act was remodeled, requiring parties that are not represented either in Congress or in the Senate to collect signatures to support their candidacy to be able to run in the election. One-tenth of a percent of those registered to vote in a constituency are required to be on the ballot and each citizen can sign only once for a party candidacy. The Electoral Board establishes the regulations for collection of signatures.

Criticisms

With this system, the least populated provinces are overrepresented as the population is lower than other provinces which are still awarded one seat, than if the seats would be strictly distributed in proportion to the population of each province. Likewise, the most populated provinces are underrepresented.

This system tends to favour the biggest political parties. Despite using a proportional representation system, the electoral system of the Congress of Deputies favours the creation of a two-party system. It is due to different reasons such as:

  • The large disparity of population between the provinces. Despite the smaller provinces being overrepresented, the number of deputies assigned to each one is small and tends to go to the two main parties.
  • The election threshold of 3% only acts in the provinces which elect more than 30 deputies, that is Madrid and Barcelona. In the rest of constituencies where fewer seats are distributed, the real barrier to enter to the Congress is meaningfully larger. For example, the barrier of the provinces which have 3 seats is 25%.[4]
  • The average number of seats per constituency is one of the lowest in Europe. That is because of the use of provinces as constituencies. Consequently, the number of useless votes is huge, that is there is a significant number of votes which cannot affect the result because they have been cast for a political party which does not get representation in the constituency where votes have been cast.
  • The D'Hondt method favours the biggest parties compared to other electoral formulas such as the Webster/Sainte-Laguë method or the largest remainder method. This effect is larger than in many countries because of the small number of seats per constituency. However, the influence of the D'Hondt method in the bipolarization of the electoral system is limited compared to the factors mentioned above.
  • The size of the Congress of Deputies is small[weasel words] (350 seats, compared to over 600 for e.g. the German Bundestag),[improper synthesis?] which, together with the aforementioned factors, favours the biggest parties and disproportional distribution of seats, compared to national or multi-province regional election results.

Mandate

The deputies' term of office finishes four years after their election or when the Cortes are dissolved, which can take place jointly or separately with the dissolution of the Senate. The dissolution's right belongs to the Monarch who exercises it by request of the President of the Government after the deliberation of the Council of Ministers and under its sole responsibility. The dissolution of the Cortes also takes place if there is a failed legislature or two months after a failed investiture session, in this case the Sovereign dissolves the house with the countersign of the President of the Congress of Deputies. During their mandate, the deputies have some guarantees and privileges to carry their responsibilities out according to Section 97 of the Spanish Constitution.

Bodies of the Congress

Exercising the autonomy recognised by the Constitution to the Congress of Deputies, the house is regulated by some internal rules established by itself in 1982 and it configures different government bodies to carry the pertinent competencies out.

Governing bodies

The governing bodies of the Congress of Deputies are the bodies which under their authority the House is manage. Those bodies are the President, the Bureau and the Board of Spokespersons.[5]

The President of the Congress of Deputies is the highest authority and it represents the House and it is, de facto, the whole parliament leader. As head of the Congress, it also chairs the Bureau, the Board of Spokespersons and the Permanent Deputation, and is the maximum responsible authority of the Congress' Police.[6][7]

The Bureau of the Congress of Deputies is the collective body that represents the House and manages the day-to-day of the Chamber, preparing the budget and making all the necessary decisions to allow the proper functioning of the functions of the Congress.[8]

The Board of Spokespersons of the Congress of Deputies is the collective body formed by representatives of the parliamentary groups and normally, government representatives, that establishes the agenda of the House.

Working bodies

The working bodies of the Congress of Deputies are the Plenary, the Committees, the Permanent Deputation and the Parliamentary Groups.[9]

The Plenary is the central body of the Congress of Deputies which allows the house for exercising their choices. It is the reunion of all the members of the Parliament when half plus one of its members are attending the house. This body represents the unity of the house and it works through the plenary sessions which can be ordinary or extraordinary.

The ordinary sessions take place during the two meeting terms: September to December and February to June. They are convened by a calendar which has already been set. The extraordinary sessions are convened at the request of the President of the Government, the Permanent Council or the absolute majority of the house. In this kind of sessions a particular agenda is presented and the sessions end when all items have been treated.

The Committees are the basic working bodies of the Congress. They are composed of a proportional number of deputies depending on the numerical importance of the parliamentary groups of the house. The committees are classified as follows: permanent or non-permanent and legislative or non-legislative.

The permanent legislative committees examine and rule the projects and bills. The Plenary of the Congress can confer them full legislative power in relation to a matter, so they can permanently approve or reject any project or bill. The regulations of the Congress establish 17 permanent legislative committees. The permanent non-legislative committees have responsibilities not related to the legislative production. The regulations of the Congress establish 3 permanent non-legislative committees, and they allow the Plenary to create another ones at the beginning of each legislature. The non-permanent committeesare created with a specific purpose and their themes and duration are beforehand determined by the Plenary of the Congress.

The Permanent Deputation is a body created in order to have a permanent constituted legislative power. It is responsible for safeguarding the powers of the house between the legislative sessions (January, July and August) or when their term has finished because of termination or dissolution. In these three cases, the Permanent Deputation is a temporary extension of the house. The Permanent Deputation is presided by the President of the Congress. It is composed of a proportional number of deputies depending on the numerical importance of the different Parliamentary Groups.

The Parliamentary Groups are groups of members of the house which join together depending on their ideology.[9] The Rules of the Congress establish that 15 deputies at least are needed to make a parliamentary group. However, they can make a group if they are at least 5 deputies and they have got at least 15% of the total votes of the constituency where they have run at or 5% of the total votes of the country.[10] The formation of the parliamentary groups takes place at the beginning of each legislature. The deputies who do not enrol in any parliamentary group constitute the Mixed Group.

Composition of the XIV legislature

The XIV legislature of Spain started on 3 December 2019 when the Cortes Generales were constituted, once the 2019 general election was held.

Bureau of the Congress of Deputies

Escudo del Congreso de España.svg
Bureau of the Congress of Deputies
Position Holder Party
President Meritxell Batet Lamaña sinmarco PSC
First Vice President Alfonso Rodríguez Gómez de Celis sinmarco PSOE
Second Vice President Ana Pastor Julián sinmarco PP
Third Vice President Gloria Elizo Serrano sinmarco UP
Fourth Vice President Ignacio Gil Lázaro sinmarco VOX
First Secretary Gerardo Pisarello Prados sinmarco ECP
Second Secretary Sofía Hernanz Costa sinmarco PSOE
Third Secretary Javier Sánchez Serna sinmarco UP
Fourth Secretary Adolfo Suárez Illana sinmarco PP

Committees

The Congress of Deputies creates at the beginning of each meeting a series of committees and subcommittees. These bodies purpose is to facilitate the work of the house. The committees have the same powers as the House' Plenary: to control the government by requesting information to the Administration or by requesting the appearance of any member of the Government or Administration; and to legislate by delegation of the plenary and at the request of the Congress' Bureau. The committees also debate the bills originated at the Plenary and the possible amends.

According to the Spanish parliamentary system, in the Congress there are two type or subcommittees, the ordinary subcommittees which purpose is to discuss and make a report about a specific issue and the reporting subcommittees which purpose is to write a first bill proposal to be discussed in the committee.

The committees can be standing committees, which creation is mandatory by the Congress' standing rules or other laws or non-standing committees, which are created by the Plenary. The subcommittees are also created by the Plenary at the request of the committees.

The members of the committees are designated by the parliamentary groups, and once the committees are created they must elect in their first meeting the Bureau of the committee, composed by a chair, two deputy charis and two secretaries. The members of the subcommittees are designated by the committee.

Current Committees (XIV legislature, 2019-present)

Permanent Legislative Committees

Committee Chair(s) Term Refs
Constitutional Patxi López Álvarez (PSOE)
2020-present
[11]
Foreign Affairs Pau Marí Klose (PSOE)
2020-present
[12]
Justice Isaura Leal Fernández (PSOE)
2020-present
[13]
Defence José Antonio Bermúdez de Castro Fernández (PP)
2020-present
[14]
Finance Eloy Suárez Lamata (PP)
2020-present
[15]
Budget Pilar Garrido Gutiérrez (UP)
2020-present
[16]
Home Affairs Ana María Botella Gómez (PSOE)
2020-present
[17]
Transports, Mobility and Urban Agenda Ignacio López Cano (PSOE)
2020-present
[18]
Education and Vocational Training Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto (PSOE)
2020-present
[19]
Labour, Inclusion, Social Security and Migration Antonio Gómez-Reino Varela (UP)
2020-present
[20]
Industry, Trade and Tourism Joan Capdevila i Esteve (ERC)
2020-present
[21]
Social Rights and Comprehensive Disability Policies Joan Ruiz i Carbonell (PSOE)
2020-present
[22]
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Joseba Andoni Agirretxea Urresti (EAJ-PNV)
2020-present
[23]
Territorial Policy and Civil Service María Luisa Carcedo Roces (PSOE)
2020-present
[24]
Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge Juan Antonio López de Uralde Garmendia (UP)
2020-present
[25]
Culture and Sport Agustín Zamarrón Moreno (PSOE)
2020-present
[26]
Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation Celso Luis Delgado Arce (PP)
2020-present
[27]
Health and Consumer Affairs Rosa María Romero Sánchez (PP)
2020-present
[28]
Science, Innovation and Universities Gerardo Pisarello Prados (ECP)
2020-present
[29]
International Cooperation for Development Roser Maestro Moliner (UP)
2020-present
[30]
Equality Pilar Cancela Rodríguez (PSOE)
2020-2021
[31]
Vacant
2021-present


Permanent non-Legislative Committees

Committee Chair(s) Term Refs
Rules Meritxell Batet Lamaña (PSOE)
2020-present
[32]
Deputies' Statute Begoña Nasarre Oliva (PSOE)
2020-present
[33]
Petitions María Luisa Faneca López (PSOE)
2020-present
[34]
Appointments' Consultative Meritxell Batet Lamaña (PSOE)
2020-present
[35]
Monitoring and Evaluation of the Agreements of the Toledo Pact Magdalena Valerio Cordero (PSOE)
2020-present
[36]
Monitoring and Evaluation of the Agreements of the State Pact against Gender Violence Beatriz Micaela Carrillo de los Reyes (PSOE)
2020-present
[37]
Democratic Quality, Fight Against Corruption and Institutional and Legal Reforms Íñigo Errejón Galván (MP)
2020-present
[38]
Children and Adolescents' Rights Norma Pujol i Farré (ERC)
2020-present
[39]
Road Safety Juan José Matarí Sáez (PP)
2020-present
[40]

Presidency of the Congress of Deputies

Legislature President Party Start End
Constituent Fernando Álvarez de Miranda Logo UCD.svg UCD 13 July 1977 22 March 1979
I legislature Landelino Lavilla Alsina Logo UCD.svg UCD 23 March 1979 17 November de 1982
II legislature Gregorio Peces-Barba Logo PSOE, 1976-2001 PSOE 18 November 1982 14 July 1986
III legislature Félix Pons Irazazábal Logo PSOE, 1976-2001 PSOE 15 July 1986 26 March 1996
IV legislature
V legislature
VI legislature Federico Trillo-Figueroa People's Party (Spain) Logo (1993-2000).svg PP 27 March 1996 4 April 2000
VII legislature Luisa Fernanda Rudi Úbeda People's Party (Spain) Logo (2000-2007).svg PP 5 April 2000 1 April 2004
VIII legislature Manuel Marín González Logotipo del PSOE.svg PSOE 2 April 2004 31 March de 2008
IX legislature José Bono Martínez Logotipo del PSOE.svg PSOE 1 April 2008 12 December 2011
X legislature Jesús Posada Moreno People's Party (Spain) Logo (2008-2015).svg PP 13 December 2011 12 January 2016
XI legislature Patxi López Álvarez Logotipo del PSOE.svg PSOE 13 January 2016 18 July 2016
XII legislature Ana Pastor Julián sinmarco PP 19 July 2016 20 May 2019
XIII legislature Meritxell Batet Lamaña PSC 21 May 2019 Incumbent
XIV legislature

Congress of Deputies building

The allegorical front of the building

The building, Palacio de las Cortes, has a neoclassical style. It was designed by Narciso Pascual Colomer, and built between 1843 and 1850. It sits by the Carrera de San Jerónimo, in Madrid. The relief on the facade by sculptor Ponciano Ponzano centers on a sculpture of Spain embracing the constitutional state, represented by a woman with her arm around a young girl. Surrounding the pair are figures that represent in allegorical form Justice and Peace, Science, Agriculture, Fine Arts, Navigation, Industry, Commerce and so on. Ponzano also executed two bronze lions for the building's access stairway in a more realistic manner.[41]

Notes

See also

References

  1. ^ "El PRC y el PSOE cierran su crisis a cambio del apoyo de Revilla a los Presupuestos de Sánchez". El Español (in Spanish). 13 January 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ Information about Parliamentary Groups - Congress of Deputies of Spain
  3. ^ "Which European country has the most female politicians?". The Economist. 3 May 2019. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ H/Creada:09-11-2019, Irene Barbero | La RazónÚltima actualización:09-11-2019 | 15:41 (9 November 2019). "Ley D´Hont: ¿Cómo se decide cuántos diputados habrá en el Congreso por cada partido?". La Razón (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ "Qué es el Congreso de los Diputados". Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ "El Presidente del Congreso de los Diputados" [The President of the Congress of Deputies] (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020.
  7. ^ "De las Funciones de la Mesa y sus miembros. (Arts. 30-35)". Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ "Funciones de la Secretaría General" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Funciones de los Grupos Parlamentarios" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020.
  10. ^ "TITULO II. De los Grupos Parlamentarios" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ "Current membership of Comisión Constitucional". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  12. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Asuntos Exteriores". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  13. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Justicia". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  14. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Defensa". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  15. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Hacienda". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Presupuestos". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  17. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Interior". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  18. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Transportes, Movilidad y Agenda Urbana". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  19. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Educación y Formación Profesional". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  20. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Trabajo, Inclusión, Seguridad Social y Migraciones". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  21. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Industria, Comercio y Turismo". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  22. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Derechos Sociales y Políticas Integrales de la Discapacidad". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  23. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  24. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Política Territorial y Función Pública". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  25. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Transición Ecológica y Reto Demográfico". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  26. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Cultura y Deporte". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  27. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Asuntos Económicos y Transformación Digital". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  28. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Sanidad y Consumo". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  29. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  30. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  31. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Igualdad". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  32. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Reglamento". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  33. ^ "Current membership of Comisión del Estatuto de los Diputados". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  34. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Peticiones". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  35. ^ "Current membership of Comisión Consultiva de Nombramientos". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  36. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Seguimiento y Evaluación de los Acuerdos del Pacto de Toledo". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  37. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de seguimiento y evaluación de los Acuerdos del Pacto de Estado en materia de Violencia de Género". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  38. ^ "Current membership of Comisión para la auditoría de la calidad democrática, la lucha contra la corrupción y las reformas institucionales y legales". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  39. ^ "Current membership of Comisión de Derechos de la Infancia y Adolescencia". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  40. ^ "Current membership of Comisión sobre Seguridad Vial". Congreso de los Diputados. Retrieved 2021.
  41. ^ "Ponzano y Gascón, Ponciano". Gran Enciclopedia Aragonesa (in Spanish). Retrieved 2012.

External links

Coordinates: 40°24?57?N 3°41?48?W / 40.41583°N 3.69667°W / 40.41583; -3.69667


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