Spanish general election, 1920

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Spanish general election, 1920
← 1919 December 19, 1920 1923 →

All 409 seats of the Congress of Deputies
205 seats needed for a majority
Turnout 59.86%
  First party Second party Third party
  EDato.jpg Manuel García Prieto.jpg Francisco Cambó.JPG
Leader Eduardo Dato Manuel García Prieto Francesc Cambó
Party Conservative Liberal LRC
Leader since 1913 1918 1901
Last election 198 seats 140 seats 14 seats
Seats won 224 119 15
Seat change Increase26 Decrease21 Increase1

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Melquíades Álvarez político.JPG Lerroux face.jpg Pablo Iglesias, PSOE.JPG
Leader Melquíades Álvarez Alejandro Lerroux Pablo Iglesias
Leader since 1912 1908 2 May 1879
Last election 6 seats 4 seats 6 seats
Seats won 9 8 4
Seat change Increase3 Increase4 Decrease2

Prime Minister before election

Eduardo Dato

Elected Prime Minister

Eduardo Dato

General elections to the Cortes Generales were held in Spain on 19 December 1920. At stake were all 409 seats in the Congress of Deputies.[1][2][3]


The Spanish legislature, the Cortes, was composed of two chambers at the time of the 1920 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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6][7]


Parliamentary seats
Conservative Party
Liberal Party
Regionalist League
Reformist Party



  1. ^ CARRERAS, Albert y TAFUNELL, Xavier (Coords.): Estadísticas históricas de España. Siglos XIX-XX, p. 1096, Fundación BBVA, Bilbao, 2005.
  2. ^ "Elecciones en la Restauración" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  3. ^ "Gráfico resumen Diputados 1869-1923" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  4. ^ "El Senado en la historia constitucional española" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-26. 
  5. ^ "Ley electoral, de 8 de agosto de 1907" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-26. 
  6. ^ "Ley electoral de Senadores, de 8 de febrero de 1877" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-27. 
  7. ^ "Constitución de 1876" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-27. 

External links[edit]