Spanish general election, 1884

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Spanish general election, 1884
← 1881 27 April–8 May 1884 1886 →

All 393 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 180 (of 360) seats in the Senate
197 seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies
Registered 789,754–808,243
Turnout 576,481–587,458 (71.3–74.4%)
  First party Second party Third party
  Antonio Cánovas del Castillo (cropped).jpg José López Domínguez 1897 (cropped).jpg Práxedes Mateo Sagasta b (cropped).jpg
Leader Antonio Cánovas del Castillo José López Domínguez Práxedes Mateo Sagasta
Party Conservative ID Liberal
Leader since 1874 1884 1872
Leader's seat Madrid (Madrid) Málaga (Coin) Logroño (Logroño)
Last election 64 seats Did not contest 290 seats
Seats won 311 38 38
Seat change Green Arrow Up Darker.svg247 Green Arrow Up Darker.svg38 Red Arrow Down.svg252

Prime Minister before election

Antonio Cánovas del Castillo

Elected Prime Minister

Antonio Cánovas del Castillo

The 1884 Spanish general election was held on Sunday, 27 April and on Thursday, 8 May 1884, to elect the 3rd Restoration Cortes of the Kingdom of Spain. All 393 seats in the Congress of Deputies were up for election, as well as 180 of 360 seats in the Senate.[1]


The Spanish legislature, the Cortes, was composed of two chambers at the time of the 1884 election:

This was a nearly perfect bicameral system, with the two chambers established as "co-legislative bodies". Both chambers had legislative, control and budgetary functions, sharing equal powers except for laws on contributions or public credit, where the Congress had preeminence.[2]

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 (Spanish for "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 the Interior, the provincial civil governors, and the local bosses (caciques) to ensure victory and exclude minor parties from the power sharing.

Electoral system[edit]

For the Congress of Deputies, 79 seats were allocated to 26 multi-member constituencies and awarded using a partial block voting, with the remaining 314 awarded under a two-round first-past-the-post system in single-member districts. Instead of voting for parties, electors would vote for individual candidates. In districts electing three seats, electors could vote for up to two candidates; in those with four or five seats, for up to three candidates; in those with six seats, for up to four; in those with seven seats, for up to five; and for up to six candidates in multi-member constituencies electing eight seats. Candidates obtaining over 50% of the votes were elected in the first round; if no candidate met this criterion, a second round was held with the candidate winning a plurality of votes being elected. The overall number of seats was determined by the population count, with one seat per each 50,000 inhabitants. Additionally, up to ten deputies could be elected through cumulative voting in several districts if they obtained more than 10,000 votes. Voting was on the basis of censitary suffrage, with 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—entitled to vote. Concurrently, secular males at least twenty-five years old and in the full enjoyment of all civil rights were eligible for the Congress.[3]

The Senate was not a directly elected body, with its 360 members being divided into three different classes:

The Constitution of 1876 provided for 180 elective senators and an equal number of senators for the other two classes combined. Elective senators served terms of ten years each, with their terms staggered so that approximately one-half of these seats were up for appointment every five years. The King could dissolve the entirety of the elective section of the Senate at will, triggering the appointment of the full contingent of elective senators.[4][5]


Congress of Deputies[edit]

Most voted party by regions and provinces.
Summary of the 27 April 1884 Congress of Deputies election results
Party Popular vote Seats
Votes  % ±pp Won +/−
Liberal Conservative Party (PLC)1 311 +247
Dynastic Left (ID) New 38 +38
Liberal Fusionist Party (PLF) 38 –252
Possibilist Democratic Party (PDP)2 3 –7
Independent Democratic Republican Progressives (PRD.i)3 2 –10
Liberal Union (UL) New 1 +1
Independent Monarchist Progressives (prog.i) 0 –10
Traditionalists (T) 0 –2
Basque Union (UV) 0 –1
Independents 0 –3
Total 100.00 393 +1
Votes cast / turnout
Registered voters



  1. ^ "Real decreto declarando disueltos el Congreso de los Diputados y la parte electiva del Senado, de 31 de marzo de 1884" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-27. 
  2. ^ "El Senado en la historia constitucional española" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-26. 
  3. ^ "Ley electoral, de 28 de diciembre de 1878" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-26. 
  4. ^ "Ley electoral de Senadores, de 8 de febrero de 1877" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-27. 
  5. ^ "Constitución de 1876" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-27. 

External links[edit]