Fundamental Laws of the Realm

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The Fundamental Laws of the Realm (Spanish: Leyes Fundamentales del Reino), were a set of de facto constitutional laws organizing the powers of Spain during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. In 1977, during the transition, an eighth law with the same status as the others was brought into effect, altering the legislative framework, in order to bring to a head the process of political reform. Rather than a constitution, the laws were fueros, as they had not been developed or approved by elected representatives.

The Fundamental Laws were revoked by the Spanish Constitution of 1978.

The eight laws were:

  • The Labour Charter of 1938: influenced by the Italian Labour Charter of 1927, it regulated the labour conditions and economic life of Spain. Though it established a minimum wage and limits on the length of the working day, these concessions were subordinate to the national interest.
  • The Law Constituting the Cortes of 1942: created with an eye to a coming Allied victory in WWII. It recreated the Cortes as a limited instrument of collaboration, for creating and promulgating new laws. The first Cortes of Francoist Spain was inaugurated on July 18, 1942.
  • The Charter of the Spanish of 1945: fixed the rights and duties of the Spanish. It was intended to convey the impression of democratisation to Potsdam.
  • The National Referendum Law of 1945: established the use of referendums to settle important points. The Law of Leadership Succession made it obligatory to hold a referendum to change the fundamental laws.
  • The Law of Leadership Succession of 1947: regulated the Succession. Spanish monarchy was de facto restored. Franco remained head of state for life. Created the Council of the Kingdom and the Council of the Regency (approved by referendum in 1947).
  • Law of the Principles of the Movimiento Nacional of 1958: established some organising principles for the judiciary of Franco's Spain.
  • The Organic Law of the State of 1967: enumerated the ends of the state and fixed the powers and duties of the Head of State, as well as creating formally the office of Chief of Government (approved by referendum in 1966).
  • The Law for Political Reform of 1977: Political reform was begun in 1976. This law established the minimum conditions for the election of a new Cortes by universal suffrage, and authorised it to carry out the constitutional reforms of the transition. The law was submitted to a referendum on 15 December 1976, receiving majority support from those who participated. Thus, in the State's time of rupture, the existing legal structures were used to create a parliamentary monarchy.

Fuero (Spanish) — Is a Spanish legal term and concept. The word comes from Latin forum, an open space used as market, tribunal and meeting.

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