Next Spanish general election

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Next Spanish general election
2016 ←
No later than 26 July 2020

All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 208 (of the 265) seats in the Senate
176 seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies
Opinion polls
  Mariano Rajoy 2016j (cropped).jpg PSOE Caretaker Committee (placeholder).png Pablo Iglesias 2016 (cropped).jpg
Leader Mariano Rajoy Caretaker committee Pablo Iglesias
Party PP PSOE Unidos Podemos
Leader since 2 September 2003 1 October 2016 15 November 2014
Leader's seat Madrid Madrid
Last election 137 seats, 33.0% 85 seats, 22.6% 71 seats, 21.2%
Current seats 137 84 71
Seats needed Increase39 Increase92 Increase105

  Albert Rivera 2016a (cropped).jpg Gabriel Rufián 2016 (cropped).jpg Francesc Homs 2016 (cropped).jpg
Leader Albert Rivera Gabriel Rufián Francesc Homs
Party C's ERC–CatSí PDeCAT
Leader since 9 July 2006 7 November 2015 6 November 2015
Leader's seat Madrid Barcelona Barcelona
Last election 32 seats, 13.1% 9 seats, 2.6% 8 seats, 2.0%
Current seats 32 9 8
Seats needed Increase144 Unable Unable


Provincial results map for the Congress of Deputies

Incumbent Prime Minister

Mariano Rajoy

The next Spanish general election will be held no later than Sunday, 26 July 2020, as provided by the Spanish constitution[1] and the Organic Law of the General Election Regime of 1985.[2] It will open the 13th Legislature of Spain, to elect the 13th Cortes Generales of the Kingdom of Spain. All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies will be up for election, as well as 208 of 266 seats in the Senate.

The 2016 election proved inconclusive, with the People's Party (PP) coming out strengthened but with neither the PP–C's nor the PSOEUnidos Podemos blocs being able to command a large enough majority to ensure governance alone. In the end, after a 10-month political deadlock, Mariano Rajoy was able to become Prime Minister thanks to PSOE's abstention, after the party suffered an internal crisis which resulted in the ousting of its leader, Pedro Sánchez.


The Spanish legislature, the Cortes Generales, is composed of two chambers:

This bicameral system is regarded as asymmetric. Legislative initiative belonges to both chambers—as well as to the Government—but the Congress has greater legislative power than the Senate. Only the Congress has the ability to grant or revoke confidence from a Prime Minister, and it can override Senate vetoes to an initiative by an absolute majority of votes. Nonetheless, the Senate possesses a few exclusive, yet limited in number functions—such as its role in constitutional amendment—which are not subject to the Congress' override.[3]

This system, enshrined by the Spanish Constitution of 1978, was envisaged to grant political stability to governments as well as to reinforce the Prime Minister's position, providing for a constructive vote of no confidence that can only be exercised by the Congress. It also implements an enhanced protection against constitutional amendment, which requires the involvement of both chambers, as well as a special process with higher approval thresholds and stricter requirements for overall constitutional reforms or amendments on the so-called "protected provisions".[4]

Settled customary practice has been to dissolve and re-elect both chambers at the same time, thus triggering a "general" election. Though the law allows for each chamber to be elected separately, this has not occurred since the Constitution's approval in 1978.

Electoral system[edit]

Voting is on the basis of universal suffrage, with all nationals over eighteen and in the full enjoyment of all political rights entitled to vote. Concurrently, nationals meeting the previous criteria and not involved in any cause of ineligibility are eligible for both the Congress and the Senate. Groups of electors are required to obtain the signatures of at least 1% of registered electors in a particular district in order to be able to field candidates, whereas parties and coalitions left out from both chambers in the previous election are required to obtain the signatures of at least 0.1% of registered electors in the districts they intend to contest. The electoral law was amended in 2016 in order to introduce a special, simplified process for election re-runs resulting from political deadlocks—such as the 2016 election—, including a shortening of deadlines, the lifting of signature requirements if these were already met for the immediately previous election and the possibility of maintaining lists and coalitions.

For the Congress of Deputies, 348 seats are allocated to 50 multi-member districts—each constituency corresponding to a province—using the D'Hondt method and a closed list proportional representation, with Ceuta and Melilla electing one member each using plurality voting for a total of 350 seats. Each district is entitled to an initial minimum of two seats, with the remaining 248 seats allocated among the 50 provinces in proportion to their populations. A threshold of 3% of valid votes—which includes blank ballots—is applied in each constituency, with parties not reaching the threshold not entitled to enter the seat distribution.

For the Senate, each of the 47 peninsular constituencies is allocated four seats. For insular provinces, such as the Balearic and the Canary Islands, districts are the islands themselves, with the larger—Majorca, Gran Canaria and Tenerife—being allocated three seats each, and the smaller—Menorca, Ibiza-Formentera, Fuerteventura, La Gomera, El Hierro, Lanzarote and La Palma—one each. Ceuta and Melilla elect two seats each, for a total of 208 directly elected seats, using an open list partial block voting. Instead of voting for parties, electors vote for individual candidates. In districts electing four seats, electors may vote for up to three candidates; in those with two or three seats, for up to two candidates; and for one candidate in single-member constituencies. Additionally, autonomous communities can appoint at least one senator each and are entitled to one additional seat per each million inhabitants.[5]



Immediately after the election, as ECOFIN ministers activated the sanction procedure to Spain on 12 July as a result of the country not meeting its deficit targets—which could result in a fine worth €2 billion fine and a freezing of Structural Funding—the PP caretaker government announced a future rise of the corporate tax with which it expected to collect an additional €6 billion, so as to tackle public deficit and trying to avoid the fine.[6][7] This move was criticized internally, as Rajoy's caretaker government could not implement the measure until the completion of the ongoing government formation process, as well as because it clashed with one of PP's recent election pledges to lower taxes.[8][9]

Government formation[edit]

PSOE crisis[edit]

Further information: 2016 PSOE crisis

Criticism of Pedro Sánchez for his electoral results and his hardline stance on Rajoy's investiture, said to be a contributing factor to the country's political deadlock, reached a boiling point after poor PSOE showings in the Basque and Galician elections.[10] Amid calls for his resignation, Sánchez responded by announcing a party primary and congress for October–December 2016, enraging dissenters and prompting half the members of the party executive committee—the party's day-to-day ruling body—to resign on 28 September, in order to prompt Sánchez's sacking and take command themselves.

Sánchez refused to step down and entrenched himself within the party's headquarters, generating the largest crisis in the party's history, as neither side acknowledged the other's legitimacy to act in the party's name.[11] This situation ended when Sánchez resigned after losing a key ballot to Susana Díaz's-led rebels in the party's federal committee on 1 October,[12] being replaced by a caretaker committee and leaving behind a shattered PSOE.[13] Subsequently, the new party's leadership chose to allow a PP minority government in order to end the 10-month political deadlock.[14]


People's Party (PP)[edit]

Presumptive incumbent[edit]

Portrait Name Party Born Most recent position
Mariano Rajoy 2016i (cropped).jpg
Mariano Rajoy PP 27 March 1955
(age 61)
Congress of Deputies MP (1989–present)
President of the PP (2004–present)
Prime Minister (2011–present)


Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)[edit]

Unidos Podemos (PodemosIUeQuo)[edit]


Opinion polling
Unidos Podemos voters
Polling firm/Link Fieldwork date Sample
Ada Colau Íñigo Errejón Alberto Garzón Pablo Iglesias Mònica Oltra Other/
MyWord 17.11.16–22.11.16 ? 6.9 18.3 30.7 35.0 5.9 1.4 1.8
DYM 27.09.16–06.10.16 ? 31.9 51.5 16.6
Spanish voters
Polling firm/Link Fieldwork date Sample
Ada Colau Íñigo Errejón Alberto Garzón Pablo Iglesias Mònica Oltra Other/
MyWord 17.11.16–22.11.16 1,000 4.6 19.8 23.6 14.2 6.5 5.7 25.6
DYM 27.09.16–06.10.16 1,132 29.4 27.1 43.5

Ciudadanos (C's)[edit]


Date of the election[edit]

Latest possible date[edit]

The next general election cannot be held later than Sunday 26 July 2020. This date is determined as follows:

Law Requirement Comments
Constitution: Article 68.4[34] The General Courts have a maximum term of four years, starting on election day. The 2016 election was held on 26 June 2016. Four years after 26 June 2016 is 26 June 2020.
LOREG: Article 42.2[35] The decree calling for new elections will be automatically issued 25 days before the expiry date of the General Courts' term, and will be published the following day. 25 days before 26 June 2020 is 1 June 2020. The day after 1 June 2020 is 2 June 2020.
LOREG: Article 42.2[35] The election must take place within 54 days of the publication of the election call decree. 54 days after 2 June 2020 is 26 July 2020.

Opinion polling[edit]



  1. ^ Article 68 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978
  2. ^ Article 42.2 of the Organic Law of the General Election Regime of 1985
  3. ^ "Constitución española, Sinopsis artículo 66" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2015-10-27. 
  4. ^ "Constitución de 1978" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-27. 
  5. ^ "Ley Orgánica 5/1985, de 19 de junio, del Régimen Electoral General" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-28. 
  6. ^ "ECOFIN ministers active the sanction procedure to Spain" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-07-12. 
  7. ^ "Spain moves to attack in Brussels and hardens corporate tax" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-07-12. 
  8. ^ "De Guindos promises Brussels a rise in corporate tax that he cannot apply" (in Spanish). 20 Minutos. 2016-07-12. 
  9. ^ "Rajoy pledged in his manifesto to lower the corporate tax that he will now raise to meet with deficit targets" (in Spanish). laSexta. 2016-07-13. 
  10. ^ "The electoral debacle leaves Sanchez against the ropes to his critics" (in Spanish). La Vanguardia. 2016-09-26. 
  11. ^ "PSOE plunges into its largest crisis after Sánchez refused to step down following the resignation of half the executive committee" (in Spanish). La Voz de Galicia. 2016-09-29. 
  12. ^ "Pedro Sánchez: Spanish Socialist leader resigns". BBC News. 2016-10-01. 
  13. ^ "Sánchez resigns, PSOE implodes" (in Spanish). El Periódico. 2016-10-01. 
  14. ^ "Spain's Socialists vote to allow Rajoy minority government". BBC News. 2016-10-23. 
  15. ^ "Rajoy podrá convocar elecciones a partir del 3 de mayo si ve inviable gobernar en minoría". Expansión (in Spanish). 2016-10-23. 
  16. ^ "Mariano Rajoy se presentará como candidato para liderar de nuevo el PP". (in Spanish). 2016-11-21. 
  17. ^ "El nombre de Pablo Casado cobra fuerza ante el incierto futuro del PP". El Huffington Post (in Spanish). 2016-03-23. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f "Nueve aspirantes en la carrera por la sucesión de Mariano Rajoy". El Español (in Spanish). 2016-02-01. 
  19. ^ "Rajoy pedirá a Cospedal que deje la secretaría general del PP si aspira a ser la próxima presidenta". El Confidencial Digital (in Spanish). 2016-11-14. 
  20. ^ "De la Serna, ¿el nuevo delfín de Mariano?: Feijóo, el gran desplazado". vozpópuli (in Spanish). 2016-11-04. 
  21. ^ "Rajoy prevé asistir este sábado a la toma de posesión de Feijóo en Santiago". Europa Press (in Spanish). 2016-10-11. 
  22. ^ "Feijóo es investido como presidente de la Xunta de Galicia por tercera vez". El Español (in Spanish). 2016-11-10. 
  23. ^ "Sáenz de Santamaría, vicepresidenta y enlace con Catalunya". El Periódico de Catalunya (in Spanish). 2016-11-03. 
  24. ^ "El Plan 2019 de Colau: se da tres años para desbancar a Pablo Iglesias". El Confidencial (in Spanish). 2016-11-07. 
  25. ^ "Íñigo Errejón no se rinde e insiste en dar batalla a Pablo Iglesias". El Mundo (in Spanish). 2016-11-13. 
  26. ^ "Alberto Garzón quiere "superar IU en un nuevo espacio político lo antes posible"". El País (in Spanish). 2016-11-21. 
  27. ^ "Iglesias se proclama líder de la oposición y defiende un Podemos "militante"". infoLibre (in Spanish). 2016-10-07. 
  28. ^ "Pablo Iglesias presentará su candidatura en 2017 para seguir liderando Podemos". 20minutos (in Spanish). 2016-10-09. 
  29. ^ "Inés Arrimadas, la alumna aventajada de Ciudadanos: "Es un bendito problema que me comparen con Rivera"". ABC (in Spanish). 2016-05-23. 
  30. ^ "Punset baraja ya presentar una candidatura alternativa a Rivera". El Mundo (in Spanish). 2016-11-17. 
  31. ^ "Carolina Punset condiciona su candidatura alternativa a Albert Rivera a que haya "juego limpio"". ABC (in Spanish). 2016-11-17. 
  32. ^ "Rivera se presentará a la reelección como líder de Ciudadanos". El Español (in Spanish). 2016-11-07. 
  33. ^ "Ciudadanos se enfrenta a su congreso de madurez". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 2016-11-16. 
  34. ^ "Spanish Constitution of 1978; Title III. Of the General Courts, Chapter I. Of the Chambers.". Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  35. ^ a b "Organic Law 5/1985, of June 19, of the General Electoral System; Title I. Chapter V. General requirements of the calling of elections.". Retrieved 2013-08-11.