The Spanish Political & Administrative Structure

Spain is a constitutional monarchy, referred to commonly as monarquía parlamentaria, parliamentary monarchy, though the monarch is considered to hold a role of moderator more than any real power of governance.

National Government

The Spanish parliament, called the cortes generals  consists of two separate legislative bodies, the Office of Deputies, and the Senate.

Also at national level is the Spanish Judiciary which forms part of the legal government of the nation.

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Beginner’s Guide To The Spanish Political & Administrative Structure

Autonomous Communities & Autonomous Cities

The next tier of Government is that of Autonomous Communities and Cities, given a right to self government based upon criteria including historical identity, sharing common identities with neighbouring regions, and applicable to Ibiza, as part of a group of islands. Ibiza is part of the Balearic Islands autonomous community.

Provinces

In much of Spain the next tier is that of the province. The Balearics are not subdivided by provinces and so we have not included the provincial tier on our main tree. We have shown an example in a spur to the right where the Autonomous community of Catalonia, equal in status to the Balearic Islands, is comprised of 4 provinces, Barcelona, Gerona Lerida and Tarragona.

Beginner’s Guide To The Spanish Political & Administrative Structure

Island Government

Along with the Canary Islands, the Balearics have an additional level of Government, the ‘Consell Insular’, literally Island Council, not present on the mainland.

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Beginner’s Guide To The Spanish Political & Administrative Structure

Ibiza’s Consell govern island wide and have some authority over the individual municipalities.

Formentera is perhaps best described as a hybrid municipality and Island Consell. All islands are entitled to their own Consell, so Formentera has one, but there is little need to subdivide such a small population with a further tier of regional municipalities as is the case in the 3 bigger Balearic Islands, Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza.

Municipalities

There are more than 8,000 municipalities (ayuntamientos). Each has a council, a commission (a kind of cabinet), and a mayor (alcalde).

Municipal councillors are elected by universal adult suffrage (the right to vote) through a system of proportional representation. As in elections to the national parliament, votes are cast for party lists, not for individual candidates.

Municipal governments may pass specific local regulations so long as they conform to legislation of the national or regional parliament.

While municipal governments receive funds from the central government and the regions, they can also levy their own taxes.

Ibiza/Formentera

Ibiza has its one Consell dealing with island wide matters, and then 5 municipalities, Ibiza Town, San Antonio, Santa Eulalia, San Juan and San Jose.

As mentioned earlier, Formentera fulfils both Consell and Ayuntamiento functions under one administrative umbrella.