Spanish general election, 1886

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Spanish general election, 1886
← 1884 4–25 April 1886 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
Registered 502,925–807,175
Turnout 362,810–475,712 (45.0–94.6%)
  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 1872 1874 1880
Leader's seat Logroño (Logroño) Murcia (Cieza) None
Last election 38 seats 311 seats 0 seats
Seats won 268 83 12
Seat change Green Arrow Up Darker.svg230 Red Arrow Down.svg228 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 legislature, the Cortes, was composed of two chambers at the time of the 1886 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, 80 seats were allocated to 26 multi-member constituencies and awarded using a partial block voting, with the remaining 315 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 4 April 1886 Congress of Deputies election results
Party Popular vote Seats
Votes  % ±pp Won +/−
Liberal Party (PL) 268 +230
Liberal Conservative Party (PLC) 83 –228
Progressive Republican Party (PRP) New 12 +12
Possibilist Democratic Party (PDP) 10 +7
Liberal Reformist Party (PLR) New 10 +10
Dynastic Left (ID) 10 –28
Federal Democratic Republican Party (PRDF)1 1 +1
Independent Carlists (Carl.i) 1 +1
Independent Democratic Republican Progressives (PRD.i) 0 –2
Liberal Union (UL) 0 –1
Total 100.00 395 +2
Votes cast / turnout
Registered voters
Source: Historia Electoral



  1. ^ "Real decreto declarando disueltos el Congreso de los Diputados y la parte electiva del Senado, de 8 de marzo de 1886" (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]