Spanish general election, 1903

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Spanish general election, 1903
← 1901 26 April–10 May 1903 1905 →

All 403 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 180 (of 360) seats in the Senate
202 seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies
  First party Second party Third party
  Francisco Silvela 1905 (cropped).jpg Eugenio Montero Ríos 1914 (cropped).jpg Nicolás Salmerón 1908 (cropped).jpg
Leader Francisco Silvela Eugenio Montero Ríos Nicolás Salmerón
Party Conservative Liberal PUR
Leader since 1899 1902 1903
Leader's seat Ávila (Piedrahita) None Barcelona (Barcelona)
Last election 97 seats 245 seats 15 seats
Seats won 219 104 30
Seat change Green Arrow Up Darker.svg122 Red Arrow Down.svg141 Green Arrow Up Darker.svg15

Prime Minister before election

Francisco Silvela

Elected Prime Minister

Francisco Silvela

The 1903 Spanish general election was held on Sunday, 26 April and on Sunday, 10 May 1903, to elect the 11th Restoration Cortes of the Kingdom of Spain. All 403 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 1903 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, 88 seats were allocated to 26 multi-member constituencies and awarded using a partial block voting, with the remaining 315 awarded under a first-past-the-post system in single-member districts. Instead of voting for parties, electors would vote for individual candidates. In districts electing more than one seat and up to four, electors could vote for one less candidate than seats to be filled; in those with more than four seats and up to eight, for up to two less; and for up to three less in multi-member constituencies electing eight seats or more. Candidates winning a plurality of votes in each constituency were elected. The overall number of seats was determined by the population count, with one seat per each 50,000 inhabitants. Voting was on the basis of universal manhood suffrage, with males over twenty-five and at least a two-year residency in a municipality 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 26 April 1903 Congress of Deputies election results
Party Popular vote Seats
Votes  % ±pp Won +/−
Liberal Conservative Party (PLC)1 219 +122
Liberal Party (PL) 104 –141
Republican Union Party (PUR)2 30 +15
Monarchist Democratic Party (PDM) New 9 +9
Traditionalist Communion (CT) 7 +1
Liberal Reformist Party (PLR) 7 –1
Federal Democratic Republican Party (PRDF) 7 +5
Tetuanist Conservatives (T) 6 –1
Regionalist League (LR) 5 –1
Independent Catholics (Cató.i) 5 +3
Integrist Party (PI) 1 –2
Independent Liberals (Lib.i) 0 –2
National Union (UN) 0 –2
Independents 3 –4
Total 100.00 403 +1
Votes cast / turnout
Registered voters



  1. ^ "Real decreto declarando disueltos el Congreso de los Diputados y la parte electiva del Senado, de 26 de marzo de 1903" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-29. 
  2. ^ "El Senado en la historia constitucional española" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-26. 
  3. ^ "Ley electoral, de 26 de junio de 1890" (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]