Spanish general election, 2000

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Spanish general election, 2000
← 1996 12 March 2000 2004 →

All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 208 (of 259) seats in the Senate
176 seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies
Opinion polls
Registered 33,969,640 Green Arrow Up Darker.svg4.4%
Turnout 23,339,490 (68.7%)
Red Arrow Down.svg8.7 pp
  First party Second party Third party
  José María Aznar 2002c (cropped).jpg Joaquin Almunia 2002 (cropped).jpg Xavier Trias 2014b (cropped).jpg
Leader José María Aznar Joaquín Almunia Xavier Trias
Party PP PSOEp CiU
Leader since 4 September 1989 21 June 1997 20 August 1999
Leader's seat Madrid Madrid Barcelona
Last election 156 seats, 38.8% 141 seats, 37.6% 16 seats, 4.6%
Seats won 183 125 15
Seat change Green Arrow Up Darker.svg27 Red Arrow Down.svg16 Red Arrow Down.svg1
Popular vote 10,321,178 7,918,752 970,421
Percentage 44.5% 34.2% 4.2%
Swing Green Arrow Up Darker.svg5.7 pp Red Arrow Down.svg3.4 pp Red Arrow Down.svg0.4 pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Francisco Frutos 2005 (cropped).jpg 2007 02 Inaki Anasagasti-2.jpg Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg
Leader Francisco Frutos Iñaki Anasagasti José Carlos Mauricio
Leader since 7 December 1998 1986 1996
Leader's seat Madrid Biscay Las Palmas
Last election 19 seats, 9.4% 5 seats, 1.3% 4 seats, 0.9%
Seats won 8 7 4
Seat change Red Arrow Down.svg11 Green Arrow Up Darker.svg2 Arrow Blue Right 001.svg0
Popular vote 1,263,043 353,953 248,261
Percentage 5.4% 1.5% 1.1%
Swing Red Arrow Down.svg3.9 pp Green Arrow Up Darker.svg0.2 pp Green Arrow Up Darker.svg0.2 pp

Constituency results map for the Congress of Deputies

Prime Minister before election

José María Aznar

Elected Prime Minister

José María Aznar

The 2000 Spanish general election was held on Sunday, 12 March 2000, to elect the 7th Cortes Generales of the Kingdom of Spain. All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies were up for election, as well as 208 of 259 seats in the Senate.

While most opinion polls gave him a clear victory, the incumbent People's Party of Prime Minister José María Aznar was elected to a second term in office with a surprising absolute majority of 183: a 27-seat gain from the previous election: a rise from opinion polls which gave him a plurality victory only. The opposition Spanish Socialist Workers' Party saw their number of seats reduced to 125, one of its worst results ever. While neither one of its worst defeats since Spanish transition to democracy (it lost more seats in the 1986 election, losing 18; and a similar number of seats were lost in 1996, with 16) nor the party's worst electoral result ever since (winning 118 and 121 seats in 1977 and 1979, respectively) the party's result in these elections quickly became known as Almunia's defeat, a psychological barrier for the PSOE in future elections; a result which would be vastly exceeded 11 years later.

This election featured some notable aspects. This was the first absolute majority the PP obtained in a general election, and its best result in both popular vote share and seats won until 2011. In contrast, the PSOE got its worst election result in 21 years. This was also the second time a candidate received more than 10 million votes, the last time being in 1982, when 10.1 million voters elected Felipe González from the PSOE. The voters' turnout registered was one of the lowest in democratic Spain for Spanish election standards (which tend to be usually high), with only 68.71% of the voting-able population casting a vote.


Electoral system[edit]

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.[1][2] Voting for the Cortes Generales was on the basis of universal suffrage, with all nationals over eighteen and in full enjoyment of all political rights entitled to vote.

For the Congress of Deputies, 348 seats were elected using the D'Hondt method and a closed list proportional representation, with a threshold of 3 per 100 of valid votes—which included blank ballots—being applied in each constituency. Parties not reaching the threshold were not taken into consideration for seat distribution. Additionally, the use of the D'Hondt method might result in an effective threshold over three percent, dependant on the district magnitude.[3] Seats were allocated to constituencies, corresponding to the provinces of Spain. Each constituency was entitled to an initial minimum of two seats, with the remaining 248 allocated among the constituencies in proportion to their populations. Ceuta and Melilla were allocated the two remaining seats, which were elected using plurality voting.[1][4][5][6]

For the Senate, 208 seats were elected using an open list partial block voting, with electors voting for individual candidates instead of parties. In constituencies 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 districts. Each of the 47 peninsular provinces was allocated four seats, whereas for insular provinces, such as the Balearic and Canary Islands, districts were the islands themselves, with the larger—Majorca, Gran Canaria and Tenerife—being allocated three seats each, and the smaller—Menorca, IbizaFormentera, Fuerteventura, La Gomera, El Hierro, Lanzarote and La Palma—one each. Ceuta and Melilla elected two seats each. Additionally, autonomous communities could appoint at least one senator each and were entitled to one additional senator per each million inhabitants.[1][4][5][6]

The electoral law provided that parties, federations, coalitions and groupings of electors were allowed to present lists of candidates. However, groupings of electors were required to secure at least the signature of 1 per 100 of the electors entered in electoral register of the constituency for which they were seeking election. Electors were barred from signing for more than one list of candidates. Concurrently, parties and federations intending to enter in coalition to take part jointly at an election were required to inform the relevant Electoral Commission within ten days from the election call.[4][6]

Election date[edit]

The term of each House of the Cortes Generales—the Congress and the Senate—expired four years from the date of their previous election, unless they were dissolved earlier. The election Decree was required to be issued no later than the twenty-fifth day prior to the date of expiry of the Cortes in the event that the Prime Minister did not make use of his prerogative of early dissolution. The Decree was to be published on the following day in the Official State Gazette, with election day taking place on the fifty-fourth day from publication. The previous election was held on 3 March 1996, which meant that the legislature's term would expire on 3 March 2000. The election Decree was required to be published no later than 8 February 2000, with the election taking place on the fifty-fourth day from publication, setting the latest possible election date for the Cortes Generales on Sunday, 2 April 2000.[4][6]

The Prime Minister had the prerogative to dissolve both Houses at any given time—either jointly or separately—and call a snap election, provided that no motion of no confidence was in process, no state of emergency was in force and that dissolution did not occur before one year had elapsed since the previous one. Additionally, both Houses were to be dissolved and a new election called if an investiture process failed to elect a Prime Minister within a two-month period from the first ballot.[1][5] Barred this exception, there was no constitutional requirement for simultaneous elections for the Congress and the Senate, there being no precedent of separate elections and with governments having long preferred that elections for the two Houses take place simultaneously.

Parties and leaders[edit]

Parties and coalitions Composition Ideology Candidate
People's Party (PP) Liberal conservatism José María Aznar
Spanish Socialist Workers' PartyProgressives (PSOE–p) Social democracy Joaquín Almunia
United Left (IU) Communism Francisco Frutos
Convergence and Union (CiU) Catalan nationalism Xavier Trias
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV) Basque nationalism Iñaki Anasagasti
Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) Galician nationalism Francisco Rodríguez
Canarian Coalition (CC) Canarian nationalism Paulino Rivero
Andalusian Party (PA) Andalusian nationalism José Núñez
Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) Left-wing nationalism Joan Puigcercós
Initiative for Catalonia–Greens (IC–V) Eco-socialism Joan Saura
Basque Solidarity (EA) Basque nationalism Begoña Lasagabaster
Aragonese Union (CHA) Aragonese nationalism José Antonio Labordeta
Basque Citizens (EH)[n 1] Abertzale left

Opinion polls[edit]



Congress of Deputies[edit]

Summary of the 12 March 2000 Congress of Deputies election results
Parties and coalitions Popular vote Seats
Votes  % ±pp Won +/−
People's Party (PP) 10,321,178 44.52 +5.73 183 +27
Spanish Socialist Workers' PartyProgressives (PSOE–p) 7,918,752 34.16 –3.47 125 –16
United Left (IU)1 1,263,043 5.45 –3.90 8 –11
Convergence and Union (CiU) 970,421 4.19 –0.41 15 –1
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV) 353,953 1.53 +0.26 7 +2
Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) 306,268 1.32 +0.44 3 +1
Canarian Coalition (CC) 248,261 1.07 +0.19 4 ±0
Andalusian Party (PA) 206,255 0.89 +0.35 1 +1
Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) 194,715 0.84 +0.17 1 ±0
Initiative for Catalonia–Greens (IC–V)2 119,290 0.51 –0.68 1 –1
Basque Solidarity (EA) 100,742 0.43 –0.03 1 ±0
Aragonese Union (CHA) 75,356 0.33 +0.13 1 +1
Independent Liberal Group (GIL) 72,162 0.31 New 0 ±0
The Greens (LV)3 70,906 0.31 +0.15 0 ±0
Valencian Nationalist BlocThe Greens–Valencians for Change (BNV–EV)4 58,551 0.25 +0.06 0 ±0
Valencian Union (UV) 57,830 0.25 –0.12 0 –1
Leonese People's Union (UPL) 41,690 0.18 +0.13 0 ±0
Aragonese Party (PAR) 38,883 0.17 New 0 ±0
Centrist Union–Democratic and Social Centre (UC–CDS) 23,576 0.10 –0.08 0 ±0
PSM–Nationalist Agreement (PSM–EN) 23,482 0.10 ±0.00 0 ±0
The Eco-pacifist Greens (LVEP) 22,220 0.10 New 0 ±0
Blank ballots 366,823 1.58 +0.61
Total 23,181,290 100.00 350 ±0
Valid votes 23,181,290 99.32 –0.18
Invalid votes 158,200 0.68 +0.18
Votes cast / turnout 23,339,490 68.71 –8.67
Abstentions 10,630,150 31.29 +8.67
Registered voters 33,969,640
Source(s): Ministry of the Interior,
Popular vote
Blank ballots


Summary of the 12 March 2000 Senate of Spain election results
Parties and coalitions Seats
Won +/− Not up Total seats
People's Party (PP) 127 +15 23 150
Spanish Socialist Workers' PartyProgressives (PSOE–p)[a] 53 –20 16 69
United Left (IU) 0 ±0 2 2
Catalan Agreement of Progress (PSCERCICV)[b][c] 8 ±0 3 11
Convergence and Union (CiU) 8 ±0 3 11
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV) 6 +2 2 8
Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) 0 ±0 1 1
Canarian Coalition (CC) 5 +4 1 6
Party of Independents from Lanzarote (PIL) 1 ±0 1
Ibiza and Formentera in the Senate (PSOEEUPSMENERCEVIB) 0 –1 0
Total 208 ±0 51 259
Source(s): Ministry of the Interior,
  1. ^ Spanish Socialist Workers' Party–Progressives results are compared to PSOE totals in the 1996 election, excluding PSC results.
  2. ^ Alliance of PSC (7 elected seats), ERC (1 elected seat) and ICV.
  3. ^ Catalan Agreement of Progress results are compared to PSC totals in the 1996 election (8 elected seats).


José María Aznar (PP)
Ballot → 26 April 2000
Required majority → 176 out of 350
Vote breakdown by party


  1. ^ EH called for election boycott and urged its supporters to abstain.


  1. ^ a b c d Spanish Constitution of 1978, December 29, 1978 Official State Gazette (in Spanish). Retrieved on 27 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Constitución española, Sinopsis artículo 66". (in Spanish). Congress of Deputies. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Effective threshold in electoral systems". Trinity College, Dublin. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d General Electoral System Organic Law of 1985, Organic Law No. 5 of June 19, 1985 Official State Gazette (in Spanish). Retrieved on 28 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "Constitution" (PDF). Congress of Deputies. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Representation of the people Institutional Act". Central Electoral Commission. Retrieved 16 June 2017.