Spain, officially the Spanish Republic (Spanish: República Española), is a country located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar; to the north by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the northwest and west by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal.
Spanish territory also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast, Furthermore, the town of Llívia is a Spanish exclave situated inside French territory. With an area of 504,030 km², it is the second largest country in Western Europe after France.
In Africa it includes the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco, Sahrawi-Ifni and Equatorial Guinea. Besides two autonomous cities in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, that border Morocco.
Spain is a parliamentary republic. The Head of State is the President, elected every 6 years by an Electoral College. He appoints the President of the Council of Ministers and Ministers. The Head of Government is the President of the Council of Ministers.
The Legislative resides in the Cortes, a bicameral body composed of the Senate, integrated by senators elected by the autonomous communities and the Congress of Deputies, integrated by deputies directly elected by the people every 4 years. Candidate for President of the Council of Ministers must stand before the Congress of Deputies for a Vote of Confidence.
The judicial power resides in the Supreme Court and Tribunal of Constitutional Guaranties. Both are nominated by the Cortes on proposal of the President.
Spain has a multi-party system at both the national and regional level. The main ideological groups are the Left (Socialist, anarchist and communist parties), republicanism, Christian Democracy, Right (conservative), nationalist and regionalists (Catalonia, Basque Country, Galicia, Navarre, Western Sahara and Equatorial Guinea).
Undoubtedly the main political group are the Republican parties or the so-called Republican alliance. They all share the values of democratic liberalism, anticlericalism and secularism, social liberalism and pacifism. They differ decentralization, autonomism, agrarian reform and military reform. These parties have been the backbone of all governments. These parties are Republican Action (Acción Republicana), Republican Union (Unión Republicana) and Radical Republican Party (Partido Republicano Radical).
The left mainly represented and with electoral force are the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE, Spanish Socialist Workers' Party), Partido Comunista de España (PCE, Communist Party of Spain) and Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI, Iberian Anarchist Federation). The latter has an important following in Andalusia and Asturias.
Another important group is formed by Christian Democrats in the Popular Action (Acción Popular) and Comunión Tradicionalista (also the political vehicle of Carlists and Navarre regionalism).
In Catalonia, nationalist parties are the main political groups. These are Lliga regionalista (center-right nationalist), Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC, Democratic Union of Catalonia nationalist and Christian Democracy), Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC, Republican Left of Catalan, center-left and nationalist), Partido Socialista Unificado de Cataluña (PUSC, Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia, left and social democrat) and Bloc Obrer i Camperol (BOC, Workers and Peasants' Bloc, left communist).
In the Basque Country, the main parties are Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV-EAJ, Basque National Party nationalist and Christian Democracy) and Basque Nationalist Action (EAE-ANV, Acción Nacionalista Vasca, nationalist and left republican) and Euskadiko Ezkerra EE, Basque Country Left).
Other important nationalist and regionalists are Partido Galeguista (Galicianist Party), Autonomous Galician Republican Organization Organización Republicana Galega Autónoma, ORGA) and Unión Navarra.
Administrative division of Spain
- More details in Administrative division of Spain
Administratively Spain, according to the Constitution, is divided in Autonomous Regions, Provinces, Municipalities and Autonomous cities.
The Constitution recognizes the rights of "regions and nationalities" to self-government and declares that "The Republic is an integral state, compatible with the autonomy of the Municipalities and Regions".
There are eighteen autonomous regions, 56 provinces and more then 7.000 municipalities.
The colonies of Spanish Sahara (or Spanish West Africa) and Spanish Guinea were organized in provinces, municipality and territory. A General Commissioner (Comisario General), named by the Government exercised all political and administrative authority, and was advised by elected a Overseas Council (Consejo Ultramarino). By the Pact of Autonomies they also became Autonomous Region.
The Tangier International Zone is co-administered by France, UK and Spain.
The northern half of the Morocco (Rif), was organized has the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco, until its independence as the Rif Republic.
The Spanish Armed forces are organized in the following services:
- Spanish Army (Ejército de Tierra), includes the Presidential Guard (Guardia Presidencial);
- Republican Navy (Marina de Guerra Repúblicana);
- Spanish Republican Air Force (Fuerzas Aéreas de la República Española, FARE), created from the union of Military Aeronautics (Aeronáutica Militar) and Naval Aeronautics (Aeronáutica Naval);
- Spanish Navy Marines (Infantería de Marina);
- Army of Africa (Ejército Español de África), the African territorial army composed of Spanish troops as well locally recruited Moroccan and Guineans infantry and cavalry called Regulares;
- Spanish Legion (Legión Española). Founded as the Tercio de Extranjeros ("Foreigners Regiment") originally intended as a Spanish equivalent of the French Foreign Legion, but in practice it recruited almost exclusively Spaniards and Spanish expatriates from Spanish-speaking countries;
Law enforcement is in charge of:
- Civil Guard (Guardia Civil), is the Spanish gendarmeriea and responsible for policing rural areas, borders and ports;
- Guardia de Asalto a gendarmerie style national armed police that could be used to suppress disorder in urban areas;
- National Police Corps (Cuerpo Nacional de Policía) is the national civilian police force of Spain. The CNP is mainly responsible for policing urban areas.
- Police corps of autonomous regions or communities. These are Mozos de Escuadra (Catalonia), Ertzaintza (Basque Country) and Policía Foral (Navarre)