Spanish general election, 2008
All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 208 (of 264) seats in the Senate
176 seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies
Constituency results map for the Congress of Deputies
The 2008 Spanish general election was held on Sunday, 9 March 2008, to elect the 9th Cortes Generales of the Kingdom of Spain. All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies were up for election, as well as 208 of 264 seats in the Senate.
After four years of growing bipolarisation of Spanish politics, the election saw a record result for both ruling Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and opposition People's Party (PP), together obtaining more than 83% of the vote share—over 21 million votes—and 92% of the Congress seats. The PSOE under José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero benefitted from tactical voting against the PP and emerged as the most-voted party just 7 seats short of an overall majority. On the other hand, Mariano Rajoy's PP saw an increate in its vote share and seat count but remained unable to overtake the Socialists.
United Left (IU) had its worst general election performance ever with less than 4% and 2 seats. Regional nationalist parties Convergence and Union (CiU), Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) or Aragonese Union (CHA) were also hurt by the massive tactical voting towards the PSOE, falling to historical lows of popular support. Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD), with 1 seat and slightly more than 300,000 votes, became the first nationwide party aside from PSOE, PP and IU entering in parliament in over two decades.
The Spanish Cortes Generales were envisaged as an imperfect bicameral system. The Congress of Deputies had greater legislative power than the Senate, having the ability to vote confidence in or withdraw it 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. Voting for the Cortes Generales was on the basis of universal suffrage, which comprised all nationals over eighteen and in full enjoyment of their political rights.
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 percent 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, depending on the district magnitude. 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.
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, Ibiza–Formentera, 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.
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 the signature of at least 1 percent of the electors registered in the constituency for which they sought 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 of the election being called.
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 14 March 2004, which meant that the legislature's term would expire on 14 March 2008. The election Decree was required to be published no later than 19 February 2008, with the election taking place on the fifty-fourth day from publication, setting the latest possible election date for the Cortes Generales on Sunday, 13 April 2008.
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. 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
Below is a list of the main parties and coalitions which contested the election:
Although the official electoral campaign period in Spain only lasts for the 15 days before the election, (with the exception of the day just before the election), many parties, especially the PP and PSOE, start their "pre-campaigns" months in advance, often before having finalised their electoral lists.
The first phase campaign was done under the slogan "Con Z de Zapatero" (With Z of Zapatero), a joke based on the Prime Minister and socialist candidate's habit of tending to pronounce words ending with D as if they ended with Z. The campaign was linked to terms like equality (Igualdad-Igualdaz) or solidarity (Solidaridad-Solidaridaz), emphasizing the policies carried out by the current government. The second phase was done under the slogan "La Mirada Positiva" (The Positive outlook), emphasising the future government platform, and "Vota con todas tus fuerzas" (Vote with all of your strength), aiming to mobilize the indecisive or potentially abstaining voters. Another common slogan through all the campaign was "Motivos para creer" (Reasons to believe in).
For the pre-campaign the PP used the slogan "Con Rajoy es Posible" (With Rajoy it's Possible). Usually emphasizing PP's campaign proposals, such as "Llegar a fin de mes, Con Rajoy es Posible" (Making ends meet, With Rajoy it's Possible). IU accused PP of copying its slogan from the last municipal elections
IU chose the pre-campaign slogan "LlamazarES + Más Izquierda" (LlamazarES (is) More Left), calling attention to their position as the third national party.
The economy became a major campaign issue due to a number of factors:
- A slowing down in the housing market, with prices even beginning to fall in some areas.
- Sharp increases in prices of some basic commodities.
- Global instability as a result of market uncertainty.
- A rise in unemployment.
The sudden emergence of the economy as a political issue came after several years of steady economic growth, and led some observers to suggest that maybe the government would have benefitted from calling an earlier election. In addition to those factors both the PP and the PSOE made competing proposals on taxation.
Congress of Deputies
|Parties and coalitions||Popular vote||Seats|
|Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)||11,289,335||43.87||+1.28||169||+5|
|People's Party (PP)||10,278,010||39.94||+2.23||154||+6|
|United Left (IU)||969,946||3.77||–1.19||2||–3|
|Convergence and Union (CiU)||779,425||3.03||–0.20||10||±0|
|Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV)||306,128||1.19||–0.44||6||–1|
|Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD)||306,079||1.19||New||1||+1|
|Republican Left of Catalonia (esquerra)||298,139||1.16||–1.36||3||–5|
|Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG)||212,543||0.83||+0.02||2||±0|
|Canarian Coalition–Canarian Nationalist Party (CC–PNC)1||174,629||0.68||–0.25||2||–1|
|Andalusian Coalition (CA)2||68,679||0.27||–0.52||0||±0|
|Navarre Yes (NaBai)3||62,398||0.24||±0.00||1||±0|
|Basque Solidarity (EA)||50,371||0.20||–0.11||0||–1|
|The Greens (LV)4||49,355||0.19||+0.05||0||±0|
|The Greens (LV)||41,531||0.16||New||0||±0|
|The Greens (EV–LV)5||7,824||0.03||–0.11||0||±0|
|Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (C's)||46,313||0.18||New||0||±0|
|Anti-Bullfighting Party Against Mistreatment of Animals (PACMA)||44,795||0.17||New||0||±0|
|Aragonese Party (PAR)||40,054||0.16||+0.02||0||±0|
|Aragonese Union (CHA)||38,202||0.15||–0.21||0||–1|
|New Canaries–Canarian Centre (NC–CCN)||38,024||0.15||New||0||±0|
|The Greens–Green Group (LV–GV)||30,840||0.12||+0.07||0||±0|
|Unity for the Isles (UIB)6||25,454||0.10||–0.10||0||±0|
|Parties with less than 0.1% of the vote||280,213||1.09||—||0||±0|
|For a Fairer World (PUM+J)||23,318||0.09||New||0||±0|
|The Greens of Europe (LVdE)7||20,419||0.08||±0.00||0||±0|
|Social Democratic Party (PSD)||20,126||0.08||New||0||±0|
|Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (PCPE)||20,030||0.08||+0.03||0||±0|
|Citizens for Blank Votes (CenB)||14,193||0.06||–0.10||0||±0|
|Spanish Phalanx of the CNSO (FE–JONS)||14,023||0.05||±0.00||0||±0|
|National Democracy (DN)||12,836||0.05||–0.01||0||±0|
|The Greens–The Ecologist Alternative (EV–AE)||12,561||0.05||–0.07||0||±0|
|Family and Life Party (PFyV)||9,882||0.04||–0.02||0||±0|
|Humanist Party (PH)||9,056||0.04||–0.04||0||±0|
|Party of Almería (PdeAL)||8,451||0.03||New||0||±0|
|Navarrese Cannabis Representation (RCN/NOK)||7,769||0.03||–0.04||0||±0|
|Internationalist Socialist Workers' Party (POSI)||7,386||0.03||±0.00||0||±0|
|Spanish Alternative (AES)||7,300||0.03||New||0||±0|
|Spain 2000 (E–2000)||6,906||0.03||+0.01||0||±0|
|Catalan Republican Party (RC)||6,746||0.03||New||0||±0|
|Valencian Coalition (CVa)||5,424||0.02||New||0||±0|
|Unsubmissive Seats–Alternative of Discontented Democrats (Ei–ADD)||5,035||0.02||+0.01||0||±0|
|Commoners' Land (TC)||4,796||0.02||–0.01||0||±0|
|Authentic Phalanx (FA)||4,607||0.02||±0.00||0||±0|
|Leonese People's Union (UPL)||4,509||0.02||–0.03||0||±0|
|Internationalist Solidarity and Self-Management (SAIn)||3,885||0.02||New||0||±0|
|Engine and Sports Alternative (AMD)||3,829||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Pensioners in Action Party (PDLPEA)||3,050||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Riojan Party (PR)||2,837||0.01||New||0||±0|
|National Alliance (AN)||2,737||0.01||+0.01||0||±0|
|Alternative in Blank (ABLA)||2,460||0.01||New||0||±0|
|United Extremadura (EU)||2,346||0.01||–0.01||0||±0|
|The Greens–Green Alternative (EV–AV)||2,028||0.01||±0.00||0||±0|
|Carlist Party (PC)||1,956||0.01||±0.00||0||±0|
|Party for Catalonia (PxCat)||1,919||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Non-Smokers' Party (PNF)||1,616||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Union for Leganés (ULEG)||1,566||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Spanish Front (Frente)||1,539||0.01||+0.01||0||±0|
|Liberal Democratic Centre (CDL)||1,503||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Valencian Nationalist Option (ONV)||1,490||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Democratic and Social Centre (CDS)||1,362||0.01||–0.12||0||±0|
|Andecha Astur (AA)||1,299||0.01||±0.00||0||±0|
|Regionalist Party of the Leonese Country (PREPAL)||1,278||0.00||–0.01||0||±0|
|Spanish Democratic Centre (CDEs)||1,047||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Canarian Nationalist Alternative (ANC)||1,017||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Civil Liberties Party (PLCI)||888||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Liberal Party of State Employment and Housing (PLEVE)||786||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Internationalist Struggle (LI (LIT–CI))||722||0.00||±0.00||0||±0|
|Unity of the People (UP)||699||0.00||New||0||±0|
|For the Valencian Republic (plRV)||645||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Centrist Party (PCTR)||509||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Movement for the Unity of the Canarian People (MUPC)||497||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Aragon United Citizens Party (pCUA)||475||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Citizen Union–Independent Progressives of Canaries (UC–PIC)||464||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Kingdom of Valencia Identity (IRV)||449||0.00||–0.01||0||±0|
|Regionalist Unity of Castile and León (URCL)||423||0.00||New||0||±0|
|State of Spain Unionist Party (PUEDE)||414||0.00||New||0||±0|
|People of El Bierzo (PB–UB)||385||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Islander Party of the Balearic Islands (PIIB)||360||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Christian Positivist Party (PPCr)||300||0.00||±0.00||0||±0|
|Carlist Traditionalist Communion (CTC)||218||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Asturian Democratic Convergence (CDAS)||216||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Merindades of Castile Initiative (IMC)||202||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Castilian Unity (UdCa)||198||0.00||±0.00||0||±0|
|European Ibero-American Alliance Party (PAIE)||174||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Workers for Democracy Coalition (TD)||159||0.00||±0.00||0||±0|
|Regionalist Party of Guadalajara (PRGU)||152||0.00||±0.00||0||±0|
|Balearic Alliance (ABA)||145||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Electronic Voting Assembly (AVE)||144||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Liberal Centrist Union (UCL)||124||0.00||±0.00||0||±0|
|Alliance for Burgos (AxB)||123||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Burgalese Citizen Initiative (ICBur)||109||0.00||New||0||±0|
|We Are (N Som)||105||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Independents for Cuenca (ixC)||100||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Citizen Group (AGRUCI)||79||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Falangist Movement of Spain (MFE)||68||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Aitch Party (PHache)||0||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Votes cast / turnout||25,900,439||73.85||–1.81|
|Parties and coalitions||Directly elected||Regional
|People's Party||People's Party (PP)1||101||98||±0||23||23||124||121|
|Navarrese People's Union (UPN)||3||±0||0||3|
|Valencian Union (UV)||0||–1||0||0|
|Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)||88||88||+7||19||19||107||107|
|Socialists' Party of Catalonia–CpC (PSC–CpC)||12||8||±0||4||2||16||10|
|Republican Left of Catalonia (esquerra)||3||±0||1||4|
|Initiative for Catalonia Greens–EUiA (ICV–EUiA)||1||±0||1||2|
|Convergence and Union||Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC)||4||4||±0||3||2||7||6|
|Democratic Union of Catalonia (UDC)||0||±0||1||1|
|Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV)||2||2||–4||2||2||4||4|
Canarian Nationalist Party
|Canarian Coalition–Canarian Nationalist Party (CC–PNC)2||1||0||–2||1||1||2||1|
|Independent Herrenian Group (AHI)||1||±0||0||1|
|Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG)||0||0||±0||1||1||1||1|
|Aragonese Party (PAR)||0||0||±0||1||1||1||1|
|Socialist Party of Majorca (PSM)||0||0||±0||1||1||1||1|
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (PSOE)
|Ballot →||9 April 2008||11 April 2008|
|Required majority →||176 out of 350||Simple|
168 / 350
169 / 350
158 / 350
158 / 350
23 / 350
23 / 350
1 / 350
0 / 350
- Only in Asturias, the Balearic Islands and Madrid.
- Only in the Valencian Community.
- Spanish Constitution of 1978, 29 December 1978 Official State Gazette (in Spanish). Retrieved on 27 December 2016.
- "Constitución española, Sinopsis artículo 66". congreso.es (in Spanish). Congress of Deputies. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- Carreras et al. 1989, pp. 1077.
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- General Electoral System Organic Law of 1985, Organic Law No. 5 of 19 June 1985 Official State Gazette (in Spanish). Retrieved on 28 December 2016.
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