Spanish general election, 1916

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Spanish general election, 1916
← 1914 9–23 April 1916 1918 →

All 409 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 180 (of 360) seats in the Senate
205 seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies
Registered 3,006,597–4,791,616
Turnout 2,089,150–2,089,151 (43.6–69.5%)
  First party Second party Third party
  Álvaro de Figueroa, Romanones (cropped).jpg Eduardo Dato 1911 (cropped).jpg Antonio Maura 1917 (cropped).jpg
Leader Álvaro Figueroa Torres Eduardo Dato Antonio Maura
Party PLLD Conservative Maurists
Leader since 1912 1913 1913
Leader's seat Guadalajara (Guadalajara) Álava (Vitoria) Balearic Islands (Palma)
Last election 123 seats 193 seats 22 seats
Seats won 233 88 17
Seat change Green Arrow Up Darker.svg110 Red Arrow Down.svg105 Red Arrow Down.svg5

Prime Minister before election

Álvaro Figueroa Torres

Elected Prime Minister

Álvaro Figueroa Torres

The 1916 Spanish general election was held on Sunday, 9 April and on Sunday, 23 April 1916, to elect the 16th Restoration Cortes of the Kingdom of Spain. All 409 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 1916 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 28 multi-member constituencies and awarded using a partial block voting, with the remaining 321 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; in those with more than eight seats and up to ten, for up to three less; and for up to four less in multi-member constituencies electing ten seats or more. Candidates winning a plurality of votes in each constituency were elected. In single-member districts were candidates ran unopposed, and in multi-member districts where the number of candidates was equal or less than the number of seats to be filled, candidates were automatically proclaimed without an election. The overall number of seats was determined by the population count, with one seat per each 50,000 inhabitants. Voting was compulsory and on the basis of universal manhood suffrage, with males over twenty-five and at least a two-year residency in a municipality required to vote. Only those above seventy years old, first instance judges, public notaries and the clergy were exempt from voting. Concurrently, secular males at least twenty-five years old were eligible for the Congress if meeting one of these requirements: (1) having previously held the position of deputy; (2) having been proposed by at least two senators or former senators, two deputies or former deputies for the same province, or three provincial or former provincial deputies within the constituency; Or (3) having been proposed by at least 0.05% of registered electors in the district.[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 9 April 1916 Congress of Deputies election results
Party Popular vote Seats
Votes  % ±pp Won +/−
Liberal PartyLiberal Democrats (PL–LD)1 233 +110
Liberal Conservative Party (PLC) 88 –105
Maurist Conservatives (M) 17 –5
Regionalist League of Catalonia (LRC) 13 ±0
Reformist Party (PR) 12 +1
Traditionalist Communion (CT) 9 +4
Ciervist Conservatives (CC) 8 +3
Independent Catholics (Cató.i) 3 –2
Independent Integrists (Int.i)3 2 ±0
Autonomist Republican Bloc (BRA) New 1 +1
Independent Catalan Nationalists ( 1 ±0
Castillian Regionalists (Reg.cast) New 1 +1
Basque Dynastics (Din.v) 1 ±0
Independent Catalan Nationalist Republicans ( New 1 +1
Independent Republicans (Rep.i) 0 –1
Independent Conservatives (Con.i) 0 –1
Independents 0 –1
Non-established 0 –1
Total 100.00 409 +1
Votes cast / turnout4
Registered voters



  1. ^ "Real decreto declarando disueltos el Congreso de los Diputados y la parte electiva del Senado, de 16 de marzo de 1916" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  2. ^ "El Senado en la historia constitucional española" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-26. 
  3. ^ "Ley electoral, de 8 de agosto de 1907" (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]