1886 Spanish general election

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1886 Spanish general election

← 1884 4 April 1886 (Congress)
25 April 1886 (Senate)
1891 →

All 395 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 180 (of 360) seats in the Senate
198 seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies
  First party Second party Third party
  Práxedes Mateo Sagasta b (cropped).jpg Antonio Cánovas del Castillo (cropped).jpg Manuel Ruiz Zorrilla 1895 (cropped).jpg
Leader Práxedes Mateo Sagasta Antonio Cánovas del Castillo Manuel Ruiz Zorrilla
Party Liberal Conservative PRP
Leader since 1880 1874 1880
Leader's seat Logroño Cieza
Last election 40 seats[a][b] 310 seats[a] Did not contest
Seats won 268 83 12
Seat change Green Arrow Up Darker.svg228 Red Arrow Down.svg227 Green Arrow Up Darker.svg12

Prime Minister before election

Práxedes Mateo Sagasta

Elected Prime Minister

Práxedes Mateo Sagasta

The 1886 Spanish general election was held on Sunday, 4 April and on Sunday, 25 April 1886, to elect the 4th Restoration Cortes of the Kingdom of Spain. All 395 seats in the Congress of Deputies were up for election, as well as 180 of 360 seats in the Senate.[1]



The Spanish Constitution of 1876 enshrined Spain as a constitutional monarchy, awarding the King power to name senators and to revoke laws, as well as the title of commander-in-chief of the army. The King would also play a key role in the system of the turno pacífico (English: Peaceful Turn) by appointing and toppling governments and allowing the opposition to take power. Under this system, the Conservative and Liberal parties alternated in power by means of election rigging, which they achieved through the encasillado, using the links between the Ministry of Governance, the provincial civil governors, and the local bosses (caciques) to ensure victory and exclude minor parties from the power sharing.

Electoral system[edit]

The Spanish Cortes were envisaged as "co-legislative bodies", based on a nearly perfect bicameralism. Both the Congress of Deputies and the Senate had legislative, control and budgetary functions, sharing equal powers except for laws on contributions or public credit, where the Congress had preeminence.[2][3] Voting for the Cortes was on the basis of censitary suffrage, which comprised national males over twenty-five, being taxpayers with a minimum quota of twenty-five pesetas per territorial contribution or fifty per industrial subsidy, as well as being enrolled in the so-called capacity census (either by criteria of Education or for professional reasons).[4]

For the Congress of Deputies, 88 seats were elected using a partial block voting in 26 multi-member constituencies, with the remaining 307 being elected under a one-round first-past-the-post system in single-member districts. Candidates winning a plurality in each constituency were elected. In constituencies electing eight seats, electors could vote for up to six candidates; in those with seven seats, for up to five candidates; in those with six seats, for up to four; in those with four or five seats, for up to three candidates; and for one candidate in single-member districts. Additionally, up to ten deputies could be elected through cumulative voting in several single-member constituencies, provided that they obtained more than 10,000 votes overall. The Congress was entitled to one member per each 50,000 inhabitants, with each multi-member constituency being allocated a fixed number of seats: 8 for Madrid, 5 for Barcelona and Palma, 4 for Seville and 3 for Alicante, Almería, Badajoz, Burgos, Cádiz, Cartagena, Córdoba, Granada, Jaén, Jerez de la Frontera, La Coruña, Lugo, Málaga, Murcia, Oviedo, Pamplona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Santander, Tarragona, Valencia, Valladolid and Zaragoza. The law also provided for by-elections to fill seats vacated throughout the legislature.[2][5]

For the Senate, 180 seats were indirectly elected, with electors voting for delegates instead of senators. Elected delegates—equivalent in number to one-sixth of the councillors in each municipal corporation—would then vote for senators using a write-in, two-round majority voting system. The provinces of Álava, Albacete, Ávila, Biscay, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Guipúzcoa, Huelva, Logroño, Matanzas, Palencia, Pinar del Río, Puerto Príncipe, Santa Clara, Santander, Santiago de Cuba, Segovia, Soria, Teruel, Valladolid and Zamora were allocated two seats each, whereas each of the remaining provinces was allocated three seats, for a total of 147. The remaining 33 were allocated to a number of institutions, electing one seat each—the Archdioceses of Burgos, Granada, Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Cuba, Seville, Tarragona, Toledo, Valencia, Valladolid and Zaragoza; the Royal Spanish Academy; the Royal Academies of History, Fine Arts, Sciences, Moral and Political Sciences and Medicine; the Universities of Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Havana, Oviedo, Salamanca, Santiago, Seville, Valencia, Valladolid and Zaragoza; and the Economic Societies of Friends of the Country from Madrid, Barcelona, CubaPuerto Rico, León, Seville and Valencia. An additional 180 seats comprised senators in their own right—the Monarch's offspring and the heir apparent once coming of age; Grandees of Spain of the first class; Captain Generals of the Army and the Navy Admiral; the Patriarch of the Indies and archbishops; as well as other high-ranking state figures—and senators for life (who were appointed by the Monarch).[6][7][8]

Election date[edit]

The term of each House of the Cortes—the Congress and one-half of the elective part of the Senate—expired five years from the date of their previous election, unless they were dissolved earlier. The Monarch had the prerogative to dissolve both Houses at any given time—either jointly or separately—and call a snap election.[2][5][6]


Congress of Deputies[edit]

Summary of the 4 April 1886 Congress of Deputies election results
Parties and coalitions Seats
Seats +/−
Liberal Party (Ministerials) (PL) 268 +228
Liberal Party (PL)1 266 +227
Basque Dynastics (Din.v) 2 +1
Liberal Conservative Party (PLC) 83 –227
Liberal Conservative Party (PLC) 82 –227
Independent Conservatives (Cons.i) 1 ±0
Progressive Republican Party (PRP) 12 +12
Possibilist Democratic Party (PDP) 10 +7
Liberal Reformist Party (PLR) 10 +10
Dynastic Left (ID) 10 –28
Federal Democratic Republican Party (PRDF)2 1 +1
Independent Carlists (Carl.i) 1 +1
Independent Democratic Republican Progressives (PRD.i) 0 –2
Total 395 +2


  1. ^ a b Data adjusted to account for the Basque Dynastic's alignment with the ruling coalition, alternating between the Conservatives and the Liberals from 1881 to 1914.
  2. ^ Aggregated data for Liberals and UL in the 1884 election.


  • Carreras de Odriozola, Albert; Tafunell Sambola, Xavier (2005) [1989]. Estadísticas históricas de España, siglos XIX-XX (PDF) (in Spanish). Volume 1 (II ed.). Bilbao: Fundación BBVA. pp. 1072–1097. ISBN 84-96515-00-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015.


  1. ^ "Royal decree declaring dissolved the Congress of Deputies and the elective part of the Senate". Royal Decree of 8 March 1886 (PDF). Gazette of Madrid (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Spanish Constitution of 1876". Act of 30 June 1876 (PDF). Gazette of Madrid (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  3. ^ "El Senado en la historia constitucional española". senado.es (in Spanish). Senate of Spain. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  4. ^ Carreras & Tafunell 1989, pp. 1077.
  5. ^ a b "Electoral Law for Deputies to Cortes of 1878". Electoral Law of 28 December 1878 (PDF). Gazette of Madrid (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Electoral Law for Senators of 1877". Electoral Law of 8 February 1877 (PDF). Gazette of Madrid (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Law setting up rules for the election of Senators in the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico of 1879". Law of 9 January 1879 (PDF). Gazette of Madrid (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Royal decree determining the number of Senators to be elected in each of the provinces for the occasion of the next election". Law of 30 June 1881 (PDF). Gazette of Madrid (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Cortes election 4 April 1886". historiaelectoral.com (in Spanish). Electoral History. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Graphs and analysis: Elections in the Revolutionary Sexennium and the Restoration 1869-1923". historiaelectoral.com (in Spanish). Electoral History. Retrieved 24 September 2017.

External links[edit]