Spanish general election, 1979
All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies and all 208 seats in the Senate
176 seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies
Constituency results map for the Congress of Deputies
The 1979 Spanish general election was held on Thursday, 1 March 1979, to elect the 1st Cortes Generales of the Kingdom of Spain. All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies were up for election, as well as all 208 seats in the Senate.
This was the first election held under the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD) remained the largest party, winning 168 of the 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 119 of the 208 seats in the Senate. As a result, Adolfo Suárez went on to form a minority government, dependant on support from Manuel Fraga's Democratic Coalition, which experienced an electoral decline.
The Spanish Cortes Generales were regarded as an imperfect bicameral system. The Congress of Deputies had greater legislative power than the Senate, having the ability to grant or revoke confidence from a Prime Minister and to override Senate vetoes by an absolute majority of votes. Nonetheless, the Senate possessed a few exclusive, yet limited in number functions—such as its role in constitutional amendment—which were not subject to the Congress' override. 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 208 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, autonomous communities could appoint at least one senator each and were entitled to one additional seat per each million inhabitants.
Voting was on the basis of universal suffrage, with all nationals over eighteen and in the full enjoyment of all 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.
The Prime Minister had the ability to dissolve the chambers at any given time—either jointly or separately—and call a snap election; otherwise, elected deputies and senators served for four year terms, starting from election day. Additionally, both chambers were to be automatically dissolved in the event of unsuccessful investiture attempts failing to elect a Prime Minister within a two month-period from the first ballot, triggering a snap election likewise.
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.
|Polling firm/Commissioner||Fieldwork date||Sample size||Turnout||Lead|
|1979 general election||1 Mar 1979||N/A||68.0||34.8
|SFGPP/Ya[p 1]||26 Feb 1979||16,817||?||33.1
|Sofemasa/El País[i][p 2][p 3][p 4]||19–21 Feb 1979||16,869||77.7||32.9
|PSOE[p 5]||18 Feb 1979||?||65||30.0||33.0||—||—||—||—||—||3.0|
|Equipo Eidos/Europa Press[p 6]||12–14 Feb 1979||3,700||?||34.0
|RNC/ABC[i][p 7]||7 Feb 1979||2,999||73||30.6||32.3||12.9||11.3||—||2.7||—||1.7|
|PSOE[p 5]||1 Feb 1979||?||65||29.5||34.5||—||—||—||—||—||5.0|
|Sofemasa/El País[p 8][p 9]||30–31 Jan 1979||2,000||?||30.6||33.4||9.3||3.7||—||—||1.8||2.8|
|ICSA-Gallup/El Periódico[p 10]||2–29 Nov 1978||2,200||?||27.3||38.7||10.8||3.8||—||—||—||11.4|
|Sofemasa/El País[p 11][p 12]||9–11 Jun 1978||2,000||?||28.5||33.6||9.7||7.1||—||—||—||5.1|
|1977 general election||15 Jun 1977||N/A||78.8||34.4
Congress of Deputies
|Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD)||6,268,593||34.84||+0.40||168||+3|
|Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)1||5,469,813||30.40||–3.44||121||–3|
|Communist Party of Spain (PCE)||1,938,487||10.77||+1.44||23||+3|
|Democratic Coalition (CD)2||1,094,438||6.08||–2.33||9||–7|
|Democratic Coalition (CD)3||1,060,330||5.89||–2.05||9||–6|
|Basque Country Foral Union (UFV)4||34,108||0.19||–0.29||0||–1|
|Convergence and Union (CiU)5||483,353||2.69||–1.06||8||–5|
|National Union (UN)6||378,964||2.11||+1.53||1||+1|
|Socialist Party of Andalusia–Andalusian Party (PSA–PA)||325,842||1.81||New||5||+5|
|Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV)||296,597||1.65||+0.03||7||–1|
|Party of Labour of Spain (PTE)7||192,798||1.07||+0.40||0||±0|
|Popular Unity (HB)8||172,110||0.96||+0.72||3||+3|
|Workers' Revolutionary Organization (ORT)9||138,487||0.77||+0.22||0||±0|
|Workers' Revolutionary Organization (ORT)10||127,517||0.71||+0.29||0||±0|
|Navarrese Left Union (UNAI)||10,970||0.06||–0.07||0||±0|
|Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (historical) (PSOEh)11||133,869||0.74||+0.05||0||±0|
|Republican Left of Catalonia–National Front of Catalonia (ERC–FNC)||123,452||0.69||–0.10||1||±0|
|Basque Country Left (EE)||85,677||0.48||+0.14||1||±0|
|Communist Movement–Communist Left Organization (MC–OIC)||84,856||0.47||+0.28||0||±0|
|Galician National-Popular Bloc (BNPG)||60,889||0.34||+0.22||0||±0|
|Canarian People's Union (UPC)||58,953||0.33||New||1||+1|
|Left Bloc for National Liberation (BEAN)||56,582||0.31||New||0||±0|
|Galician Unity (PG–POG–PSG)12||55,555||0.31||+0.16||0||±0|
|Republican Left (IR)||55,384||0.31||New||0||±0|
|Carlist Party (PC)||50,552||0.28||+0.23||0||±0|
|Communist Organization–Communist Unification (OCEBR–UCE)||47,937||0.27||New||0||±0|
|Workers' Communist Party (PCT)||47,896||0.27||New||0||±0|
|Regionalist Aragonese Party (PAR)13||38,042||0.21||+0.01||1||±0|
|Revolutionary Communist League (LCR)14||36,662||0.20||–0.02||0||±0|
|Authentic Spanish Falange of the JONS (FE–JONS(A))||30,252||0.17||–0.08||0||±0|
|Navarrese People's Union (UPN)||28,248||0.16||New||1||+1|
|Coalition for Aragon (PSAr–PSDA)||19,220||0.11||New||0||±0|
|Parties with less than 0.1% of the vote||160,140||0.89||—||0||±0|
|Nationalist Party of Castile and León (PANCAL)||16,016||0.09||New||0||±0|
|Liberal Party (PL)||15,774||0.09||New||0||±0|
|Valencian Regional Union (URV)||15,694||0.09||New||0||±0|
|Nationalist Party of the Valencian Country (PNPV)||13,828||0.08||New||0||±0|
|Spanish Ruralist Party (PRE)||10,324||0.06||New||0||±0|
|Party of the Canarian Country (PDPCan)||10,099||0.06||New||0||±0|
|Socialists of Mallorca and Menorca (SMiM)||10,022||0.06||New||0||±0|
|Syndicalist Party (PSIN)||9,777||0.05||New||0||±0|
|Union for the Freedom of Speech (ULE)||7,126||0.04||New||0||±0|
|Catalan State (EC)||6,328||0.04||New||0||±0|
|Cantonal Party (PCAN)||6,290||0.03||New||0||±0|
|Independent Candidacy of the Countryside (CIC)||6,115||0.03||New||0||±0|
|Social Christian Democracy of Catalonia (DSCC)||4,976||0.03||–0.02||0||±0|
|Proverist Party (PPr)||4,939||0.03||±0.00||0||±0|
|Spanish Democratic Republican Action (ARDE)||4,826||0.03||New||0||±0|
|Communist League (LC)||3,614||0.02||New||0||±0|
|Asturian Nationalist Council (CNA)||3,049||0.02||New||0||±0|
|Authentic Spanish Falange (FEA)||2,736||0.02||New||0||±0|
|Pro-Austerity Policy Political Party (PIPPA)||2,409||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Workers' Peasant Party (POC)||2,314||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Independent Candidates (CIME)||1,820||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Falangist Unity–Independent Spanish Falange (UF–FI–AT)||1,188||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Spanish Falange–Falangist Unity (FE–UF)||876||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Votes cast / turnout||18,259,192||68.04||–10.79|
|Source(s): Ministry of the Interior, Historia Electoral|
|Won||+/−||Not up||Total seats|
|Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD)||119||+13||—||119|
|Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)[a]||70||+11||—||70|
|Communist Party of Spain (PCE)||0||–1||—||0|
|Democratic Coalition (CD)[b]||3||+1||—||3|
|For the Agreement (PSUC–PTC)[c]||1||–3||—||1|
|Convergence and Union (CiU)[d]||1||–1||—||1|
|Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV)||8||+2||—||8|
|Popular Unity (HB)||1||+1||—||1|
|Basque Country Left (EE)||0||–1||—||0|
|Regionalist Aragonese Party (PAR)||0||–1||—||0|
|Independent Electors' Group (ADEI)[e]||3||–1||—||3|
|Minorcan Progressive Candidacy (CPMen)||1||+1||—||1|
|Majorera Assembly (AM)||0||–1||—||0|
|Liberal Alliance (AL)||0||–1||—||0|
|Galician Democratic Candidacy (CDG)||0||–2||—||0|
|Democratic Left (ID)||0||–5||—||0|
|Force for Basque Socialists' Unity (ESEI)||0||–1||—||0|
|Source(s): Ministry of the Interior, Historia Electoral|
- Carreras, Albert; Tafunell, Xavier; Soler, Raimon; Fontana, Josep (2005) . Estadísticas históricas de España, siglos XIX-XX (PDF) (in Spanish). Volume 1 (II ed.). Bilbao: Fundación BBVA. pp. 1072–1097. ISBN 84-96515-00-1.
Opinion poll sources
- "UCD, 166 escaños; PSOE, 132" (PDF). Diario 16 (in Spanish). 23 February 1979.
- "Apretada victoria de UCD frente a los socialistas, que gana posiciones". El País (in Spanish). 6 February 1979.
- "Izquierdas y derechas se reparten el electorado casi al cincuenta por ciento" (PDF). El País (in Spanish). 27 February 1979.
- "Votos y posibles escaños en cada provincia" (PDF). El País (in Spanish). 27 February 1979.
- "El PSOE se prepara para gobernar" (PDF). Diario 16 (in Spanish). 23 February 1979.
- "UCD aventaja al PSOE en dos puntos". ABC (in Spanish). 22 February 1979.
- "Dos sondeos electorales en ABC". ABC (in Spanish). 7 February 1979.
- "Equilibrio entre UCD y PSOE, con ligera ventaja socialista". El País (in Spanish). 6 February 1979.
- "Centristas y socialistas se distancian del resto de las fuerzas políticas" (PDF). El País (in Spanish). 6 February 1979.
- "Ante las municipales: PSOE, 38,7%; UCD, 27,3%". El Periódico de Catalunya (in Spanish). 17 December 1978.
- "El PSOE aventaja a UCD". El País (in Spanish). 15 June 1978.
- "Aumenta la tendencia hacia la izquierda y existen muchos indecisos" (PDF). El País (in Spanish). 15 June 1978.
- "Constitución española, Sinopsis artículo 66" (in Spanish). congreso.es. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- Spanish Constitution of 1978, December 29, 1978 Official State Gazette (in Spanish). Retrieved on 27 December 2016.
- Electoral Rules Decree of 1977, Royal Decree-Law No. 20 of March 18, 1977 Official State Gazette (in Spanish). Retrieved on 27 December 2016.