Spanish general election, 1977

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Spanish general election, 1977
← 1936 15 June 1977 1979 →

All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 207 (of 248) seats in the Senate
176 seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies
Opinion polls
Registered 23,583,762
Turnout 18,590,130 (78.8%)
  First party Second party Third party
  Adolfo Suárez 1977b (cropped).jpg Felipe González 1976 (cropped).jpg Santiago Carrillo 1978 (cropped).jpg
Leader Adolfo Suárez Felipe González Santiago Carrillo
Leader since 3 May 1977 13 October 1974 3 July 1960
Leader's seat Madrid Madrid Madrid
Seats won 165 118 20
Popular vote 6,310,391 5,371,866 1,709,890
Percentage 34.4% 29.3% 9.3%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Manuel Fraga 1982 (cropped).jpg Enrique Tierno Galván 1979 (cropped).jpg Jordi Pujol 1980s (cropped).jpg
Leader Manuel Fraga Enrique Tierno Galván Jordi Pujol
Leader since 9 October 1976 1974 17 November 1974
Leader's seat Madrid Madrid Barcelona
Seats won 16 6 11
Popular vote 1,526,671 816,582 514,647
Percentage 8.3% 4.5% 2.8%

Constituency results map for the Congress of Deputies

Prime Minister before election

Adolfo Suárez

Elected Prime Minister

Adolfo Suárez

The 1977 Spanish general election was held on Wednesday, 15 June 1977, to elect the Constituent Cortes Generales of the Kingdom of Spain. All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies were up for election, as well as all 207 seats in the Senate. It was the first election since the death of Francisco Franco. The previous general election was held in 1936, prior to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

The elections took place against the backdrop of a poor economic situation in Spain.[1] They were marred by demonstrations against alleged irregularities and bombings in many areas. In Barcelona, 2,000 demonstrators gathered outside the building housing the local election board. They claimed they had not been included in the census, which would have given them the right to vote. Two policemen were also hurt when a Molotov cocktail was thrown at their vehicle. In Seville, three people, including two policemen, suffered minor injuries when a bomb exploded at the magistrates' court. Additionally four explosions occurred in Pamplona and two in Cordoba.[2]

The election results were a disappointment for the Communist Party, which fell short of its goal of 30 to 40 deputies.[3]

Post election the Union of the Democratic Centre governed in a minority, working with other opposition parties from both sides of the political spectrum including the rightist People’s Alliance and the parties of the left, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and Communists (PCE).

Electoral system[edit]

The Spanish Cortes Generales were regarded as an imperfect bicameral system under the 1977 Political Reform Act, which envisaged a provisional legislature that was to approve a new constitution in a short time-span. Initiative for constitutional amendment belonged to the Congress of Deputies—as well as to the Government—and required of the approval by an absolute majority in both the Congress and Senate. Ultimately, in the event of a deadlock a joint sitting of both chambers would convene as a single legislative body in order to resolve on the issue by an absolute majority. No electoral law was in force at the time, with election rules for both chambers regulated under a provisional decree.

For the Congress of Deputies, 348 seats were allocated to 50 multi-member districts—each corresponding to a province—, elected using the D'Hondt method and a closed list proportional representation. Ceuta and Melilla elected one member each using plurality voting, for a total of 350 seats. Each district was entitled to an initial minimum of two seats, with the remaining 248 allocated among the 50 provinces in proportion to their populations. A threshold of 3% of valid votes—which included blank ballots—was applied in each constituency, with parties not reaching the threshold not taken into consideration for seat distribution.

For the Senate, each of the 47 peninsular constituencies was allocated four seats. For insular provinces, such as the Balearic and the Canary Islands, districts were the islands themselves, with the larger—Majorca, Gran Canaria and Tenerife—being allocated three seats each, and the smaller—Menorca, Ibiza-Formentera, Fuerteventura, La Gomera-El Hierro, Lanzarote and La Palma—one each. Ceuta and Melilla elected two seats each, for a total of 207 directly elected seats, using an open list partial block voting. Instead of voting for parties, electors would vote for individual candidates. In districts electing four seats, electors could vote for up to three candidates; in those with two or three seats, for up to two candidates; and for one candidate in single-member constituencies. Additionally, the King could appoint senators in a number not higher than one-fifth of the elected seats, increasing the Senate size to a maximum of 248.

Voting was on the basis of universal suffrage, with all nationals over twenty-one and in the full enjoyment of all civil and political rights entitled to vote. Concurrently, nationals meeting the previous criteria and not involved in any cause of ineligibility were eligible for both the Congress and the Senate. Groups of electors were required to obtain the signatures of at least 1/1000 of registered electors—provided that this amount did exceed of 500—in a particular district in order to be able to field candidates.[4][5]

Opinion polls[edit]

Individual poll results are listed in the table below in reverse chronological order, showing the most recent first, and using the date the survey's fieldwork was done, as opposed to the date of publication. If such date is unknown, the date of publication is given instead. The highest percentage figure in each polling survey is displayed with its background shaded in the leading party's colour. In the instance of a tie, the figures with the highest percentages are shaded. Seat projections are displayed in bold and in a different font. The lead column on the right shows the percentage-point difference between the two parties with the highest figures. 176 seats were required for an absolute majority in the Congress of Deputies.


Congress of Deputies[edit]

Most voted party by autonomous communities and provinces.
Summary of the 15 June 1977 Congress of Deputies election results
Party Popular vote Seats
Votes  % ±pp Won +/−
Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD) 6,310,391 34.44 165
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 5,371,866 29.32 118
Communist Party of Spain (PCE) 1,709,890 9.33 20
People's Socialist PartySocialist Unity (PSP–US) 816,582 4.46 6
Democratic Pact for Catalonia (PDC) 514,647 2.81 11
Left of Catalonia–Democratic Electoral Front (EC–FED) 143,954 0.79 1
Democratic Left Front (FDI) 122,608 0.67 0
Workers' Electoral Group (AET) 77,575 0.42 0
Spanish Social Reform (RSE) 64,241 0.35 0
Spanish Falange of the JONS (authentic) (FE–JONS(A)) 46,548 0.25 0
Front for Workers' Unity (FUT) 41,208 0.22 0
Centre Independent Aragonese Candidacy (CAIC) 37,183 0.20 1
Basque Socialist Party (ESB/PSV) 36,002 0.20 0
Socialist Party of the Valencian Country (PSPV) 31,138 0.17 0
Centre Independent Candidacy (INDEP) 29,834 0.16 1
Galician Socialist Party (PSG) 27,197 0.15 0
Galician National-Popular Bloc (BNPG) 22,771 0.12 0
Andalusian Regional Unity (URA) 21,350 0.12 0
League of Catalonia–Catalan Liberal Party (LC–PLC) 20,109 0.11 0
National Association for the Study of Actual Problems (ANEPA–CP) 18,113 0.10 0
United Canarian People (PCU) 17,717 0.10 0
Blank ballots 46,248 0.25
Total 18,324,333 100.00 350
Valid votes 18,324,333 98.57
Invalid votes 265,797 1.43
Votes cast / turnout 18,590,130 78.83
Abstentions 4,993,632 21.17
Registered voters 23,583,762
Source(s): Ministry of the Interior,
Popular vote
Blank ballots


Opinion poll sources[edit]

  1. ^ "La Unión de Centro Democrático y el PSOE, a gran distancia de los demás grupos políticos" (PDF). Informaciones (in Spanish). 15 June 1977. 
  2. ^ "El PSOE, en cabeza" (PDF). Pueblo (in Spanish). 14 June 1977. 
  3. ^ "La tercera parte de los españoles, indecisos" (PDF). Informaciones (in Spanish). 14 June 1977. 
  4. ^ a b "Aprendiendo a votar". Diario 16 (in Spanish). 15 June 1977. 
  5. ^ "Fuerte avance de la izquierda". El País (in Spanish). 12 June 1977. 
  6. ^ "Centristas y socialistas, al copo en el Congreso" (PDF). El País (in Spanish). 12 June 1977. 
  7. ^ "La participación electoral será masiva" (PDF). El País (in Spanish). 12 June 1977. 
  8. ^ "Una encuesta de "Europa Press"" (PDF). El País (in Spanish). 12 June 1977. 
  9. ^ "Gana el Centro, seguido del PSOE" (PDF). El País (in Spanish). 13 June 1977. 
  10. ^ "El Centro es favorito". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 10 June 1977. 
  11. ^ "El Centro es favorito". Diario 16 (in Spanish). 9 June 1977. 
  12. ^ "Confirmada la ventaja de UCD y PSOE". El País (in Spanish). 24 May 1977. 
  13. ^ "Ventaja del centro y los socialistas en la carrera electoral". El País (in Spanish). 10 May 1977. 


  1. ^ "Cómo empezar a salir de la crisis económica antes de fin de año". La Vanguardia, 14 June 1977, p54. Retrieved 8 August 2009
  2. ^ "Left ahead in Spanish cities". The Guardian. 16 June 1977. Retrieved 8 August 2009. 
  3. ^ "Santiago Carillo confident of obtaining 40 seats". La Vanguardia. 14 June 1977. Retrieved 8 August 2009. 
  4. ^ Political Reform Act of 1977, Law No. 1 of January 4, 1977 Official State Gazette (in Spanish). Retrieved on 27 December 2016.
  5. ^ Electoral Rules Decree of 1977, Royal Decree-Law No. 20 of March 18, 1977 Official State Gazette (in Spanish). Retrieved on 27 December 2016.