Spanish general election, 1996

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Spanish general election, 1996
Spain
1993 ←
3 March 1996
→ 2000

All 350 seats of the Congress of Deputies and 208 (out of the 257) seats in the Senate
176 seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies, 129 in the Senate
Opinion polls
Turnout 77.4%
Increase1.0 pp
  First party Second party Third party
  Aznar at the Azores, March 17, 2003.jpg Felipe González par Claude Truong-Ngoc juillet 2013.jpg Julio Anguita en el Ateneo de Córdoba en 2004.jpg
Leader José María Aznar Felipe González Julio Anguita
Party PP PSOE IU
Leader since 4 September 1989 13 October 1974 November 1989
Last election 141 C & 106 S
34.8%
159 C & 117 S
38.8%
18 C & 2 S
9.5%
Seats won
156 / 350
133 / 257
141 / 350
97 / 257
21 / 350
2 / 257
Seat change Increase15 C
Increase27 S
Decrease18 C
Decrease20 S
Increase3 C
Steady0 S
Popular vote 9,716,006 9,425,678 2,639,774
Percentage 38.8% 37.6% 10.5%
Swing Increase4.0 pp Decrease1.2 pp Increase1.0 pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  CiU 2007 02 Inaki Anasagasti-2.jpg CC
Leader Joaquim Molins Iñaki Anasagasti José Carlos Mauricio
Party CiU EAJ-PNV CC
Leader since 1995 1986 1996
Last election 17 C & 15 S
4.9%
5 C & 5 S
1.2%
4 C & 6 S
0.9%
Seats won
16 / 350
11 / 257
5 / 350
6 / 257
4 / 350
2 / 257
Seat change Decrease1 C
Decrease4 S
Steady0 C
Increase1 S
Steady0 C
Decrease4 S
Popular vote 1,151,633 318,951 220,418
Percentage 4.6% 1.3% 0.9%
Swing Decrease0.3 pp Increase0.1 pp Steady0.0 pp

Most voted party in each autonomous community and province. Every province is a multi-member district for the Congress.

Prime Minister before election

Felipe González
PSOE

Elected Prime Minister

José María Aznar
PP

Legislative elections for the Spanish Cortes Generales were held on 3 March 1996. The elections were for 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies, and the 208 directly elected seats in the upper house, the Senate, determining the Prime Minister of Spain.

Incumbent Prime Minister Felipe González of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party lost the elections to the People's Party and their leader José María Aznar, thus ending almost 13 and a half years of Socialist rule: to date, the largest period of time a Spanish party has been in power. However, that of Aznar was a bitter victory. He won just 156 seats out of the 176 needed for a majority, thus short of 20 seats to form a majority government. Aznar had to make agreements with Catalan, Basque and Canarian nationalists to become Prime Minister. Similarly, González's one is known as the dulce derrota (sweet defeat).[1] Despite suffering a net loss of 18 seats and being ousted from government, the popular vote margin between both main parties was of just 300,000 votes.

Despite pre-electoral opinion polls and predictions of a huge PSOE defeat and a PP lead of around 10 points, the close end result makes this election the closest in the Spanish democratic period to date.

Overview[edit]

The Congress of Deputies consists of 350 members, elected in 50 multi-member districts using the D'Hondt method, with Ceuta and Melilla electing one member each using plurality voting.[2]

Apportionment[edit]

Under Article 68 of the Spanish constitution, the boundaries of the electoral districts must be the same as the provinces of Spain and, under Article 141, this can only be altered with the approval of Congress.[3]

The apportionment of seats to provinces follows the largest remainder method over the resident population ("Padrón") with a minimum of two seats (cf. Art. 162 of the Electoral Law).[4]

Electoral system[edit]

Voting is on the basis of universal suffrage in a secret ballot. The electoral system used is closed list proportional representation with seats allocated using the D'Hondt method. Only lists which poll 3% of the total vote (which includes votes "en blanco", i.e., for none of the above) can be considered. Under articles 12 and 68 of the constitution, the minimum voting age is 18.[3]

Eligibility[edit]

Article 67.3 of the Spanish Constitution prohibits dual membership of both chambers of the Cortes or of the Cortes and regional assemblies, meaning that candidates must resign from regional assemblies if elected. Article 70 also makes active judges, magistrates, public defenders, serving military personnel, active police officers and members of constitutional and electoral tribunals ineligible.[3] Article 55, Section 2 of the 1985 electoral law also disqualifies director generals or equivalent leaders of state monopolies and public bodies such as the Spanish state broadcaster RTVE.[5]

Opinion polls[edit]

Results[edit]

Congress of Deputies[edit]

Composition of the elected Congress.
Summary of the 3 March 1996 Spanish Congress of Deputies election results
Party Vote Seats
Votes  % ±pp Elect. +/−
People's Party (PP) 9,716,006 38.79 +4.03 156 +15
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 9,425,678 37.63 −1.15 141 −18
United Left (IU) 2,639,774 10.54 +0.99 21 +3
Convergence and Union (CiU) 1,151,633 4.60 −0.34 16 −1
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV) 318,951 1.27 +0.03 5 ±0
Canarian Coalition (CC) 220,418 0.88 ±0.00 4 ±0
Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) 220,147 0.88 +0.34 2 +2
People's Unity (HB) 181,304 0.72 −0.16 2 ±0
Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) 167,641 0.67 −0.13 1 ±0
Andalusian Party (PA) 134,800 0.54 +0.13 0 ±0
Basque Solidarity (EA) 115,861 0.46 −0.09 1 ±0
Valencian Union (UV) 91,575 0.37 −0.11 1 ±0
The European Greens (LVE) 61,689 0.25 New 0 ±0
Aragonese Union (CHA) 49,739 0.20 +0.17 0 ±0
Centrist Union (UC) 44,771 0.18 −1.58 0 ±0
Valencian People's Unity-Nationalist Bloc (UPV-BN) 26,777 0.11 −0.06 0 ±0
Socialist Party of Majorca-Nationalist Agreement (PSM-EN) 24,644 0.10 +0.01 0 ±0
The Greens-Green Group (LV-GV) 17,177 0.07 New 0 ±0
Democrats Convergence of Navarre (CDN) 17,020 0.07 New 0 ±0
Workers' Revolutionary Party (PRT) 14,854 0.06 New 0 ±0
Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (PCPE) 14,513 0.06 +0.02 0 ±0
Humanist Party (PH) 13,482 0.05 +0.01 0 ±0
Asturianist Party (PAS) 12,213 0.05 ±0.00 0 ±0
Authentic Spanish Phalanx (FEA) 12,114 0.05 +0.05 0 ±0
Leonese People's Union (UPL) 12,049 0.05 −0.01 0 ±0
Basque Citizen Initiative (ICV-Gorordo) 11,833 0.05 New 0 ±0
The Greens of Madrid (LV-CM) 8,483 0.03 New 0 ±0
Extremenian Coalition (CEx) 7,312 0.03 New 0 ±0
Majorcan Union (UM) 6,943 0.03 −0.01 0 ±0
Communal Land-Castilian Nationalist Party (TC-PNC) 6,206 0.02 ±0.00 0 ±0
Riojan Party (PR) 6,065 0.02 −0.01 0 ±0
Ecologist Party of Catalonia (PEC) 4,305 0.02 −0.02 0 ±0
Regionalist Unity of Castile and León (URCL) 4,061 0.02 +0.01 0 ±0
Andalusian Nation (NA) 3,505 0.01 New 0 ±0
Alliance for the National Unity (AUN) 3,397 0.01 New 0 ±0
Regionalist Party of the Leonese Country (PREPAL) 2,762 0.01 ±0.00 0 ±0
SOS Nature (SOS) 2,753 0.01 New 0 ±0
Republican Coalition (CR) 2,744 0.01 New 0 ±0
People's Front for the Independence of Canarias (FREPIC) 2,567 0.01 New 0 ±0
Socialist Party of the People of Ceuta (PSPC) 2,365 0.01 +0.01 0 ±0
Regionalist Party of Castile-La Mancha (PRCM) 2,279 0.01 New 0 ±0
Galician Popular Front (FPG) 2,065 0.01 New 0 ±0
Independent Socialists of Extremadura (SIEx) 1,678 0.01 New 0 ±0
Madrilian Independent Regional Party (PRIM) 1,671 0.01 ±0.00 0 ±0
Red-Green Party (PRV) 1,656 0.01 New 0 ±0
Independent Spanish Phalanx (FEI) 1,550 0.01 ±0.00 0 ±0
New Region (NR) 1,452 0.01 New 0 ±0
Others 10,449 0.04 0 ±0
Blank ballots 243,345 0.97 +0.17
Total 25,046,276 100.00 350 ±0
Valid votes 25,046,276 99.50 +0.04
Invalid votes 125,782 0.50 −0.04
Votes cast / turnout 25,172,058 77.38 +0.94
Abstentions 7,359,775 22.62 −0.94
Registered voters 32,531,833
Source: Ministry of the Interior
Vote share
PP
  
38.79%
PSOE
  
37.63%
IU
  
10.54%
CiU
  
4.60%
EAJ-PNV
  
1.27%
CC
  
0.88%
BNG
  
0.88%
HB
  
0.72%
ERC
  
0.67%
EA
  
0.46%
UV
  
0.37%
Others
  
2.21%
Blank
  
0.97%
Parliamentary seats
PP
  
44.57%
PSOE
  
40.29%
IU
  
6.00%
CiU
  
4.57%
EAJ-PNV
  
1.43%
CC
  
1.14%
BNG
  
0.57%
HB
  
0.57%
ERC
  
0.29%
EA
  
0.29%
UV
  
0.29%

Senate[edit]

Composition of the elected Senate.
Summary of the 3 March 1996 Spanish Senate election results
Party Vote Seats
Votes  % +/− Elect. App. Total +/−
People's Party (PP) 112 21 133 +27
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 81 16 97 −20
Convergence and Union (CiU) 8 3 11 −4
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV) 4 2 6 +1
Canarian Coalition (CC) 1 1 2 −4
United Left (IU) 0 2 2 ±0
Ibiza and Formentera (PSOE-EU-PSMEN-ERC-EVIB) 1 0 1 +1
Independent Party of Lanzarote (PIL) 1 0 1 +1
Basque Solidarity (EA) 0 0 1 ±0
Valencian Union (UV) 0 0 1 +1
Democrats Convergence of Navarre (CDN) 0 0 1 +1
Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) 0 0 1 +1
People's Unity (HB) 0 0 0 −1
Riojan Party (PR) 0 0 0 −1
Aragonese Party (PAR) 0 0 0 −1
Valencian Nationalist Left (ENV) 0 0 0 −1
Others 0 0 0 ±0
Blank ballots 482,601 1.97 +0.34
Total 24,502,854 100.00 208 49 257 +1
Valid votes 24,502,854 97.41 −0.29
Invalid votes 652,656 2.59 +0.29
Votes cast / turnout 25,155,510 77.33 +0.56
Abstentions 7,376,323 22.67 −0.56
Registered voters 32,531,833
Source(s):
Parliamentary seats
PP
  
51.75%
PSOE
  
37.74%
CiU
  
4.28%
EAJ-PNV
  
2.33%
CC
  
0.78%
IU
  
0.78%
PSM-EN
  
0.39%
PIL
  
0.39%
EA
  
0.39%
UV
  
0.39%
CDN
  
0.39%
ERC
  
0.39%

Investiture voting[edit]

4 May 1996
Investiture voting for José María Aznar López (PP)

Absolute majority: 176/350
Vote Parties Votes
YesY Yes PP (156), CiU (16), PNV (5), CC (4)
181 / 350
No PSOE (141), IU (21), BNG (2), ERC (1), EA (1)
166 / 350
Abstentions UV (1)
1 / 350
Both HB deputies missed the voting.
Source: Historia Electoral

References[edit]