The Spanish State structure Estado de las Autonomías, a federal structure?



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Functions

According to article 66.2SC the major functions of parliament are:



Beside the approval of international agreements and treaties, these other, non-legislative powers also concern the autonomous communities, Like the approval of agreements between the autonomous communities.

Congress is considered to have an overall precedence in parliament over the Senate. This clearly stands out in the amount of specific powers attributed to the Congress. An example of this is the exclusive Congressional right to demand information from any institute of public administration. The Senate is restricted to requesting information emanating from bodies within the houses.



Other powers exclusively reserved to Congress are:

  • ratification or rejection of governmental decree laws within thirty days (art.87SC)

  • approval/disapproval of the declaration of a state of alarm, exception or siege (art.116SC)

  • accusation of the P.M. or other members of the government in case of treason or any other offence against the security of the state (art.102SC)

  • approval /disapproval of a candidate for the premiership through a vote of investiture (art. 99.3SC)

  • introduction of a censure motion through which the Congressional distrust in the government can be expressed. This motion also requires Congress to nominate a new candidate P.M. which in order results in the dismissal of the entire government (articles 113SC, 114.2SC and 101.1SC)

  • expressing of confidence or non-confidence in the P.M. if the latter seeks this through a vote of confidence (art.112SC)

Notwithstanding the overall precedence of Congress, both houses exercise the right to appeal to the Constitutional Court against any treaty (art.95.2SC) or law (162aSC) which is in defiance with the constitution. Constitutional reform bills require the approval of both houses by at least a 3/5 majority. In contrast it requires only a tenth of the members of either of the houses to initiate a referendum on a constitutional reform bill. This power also forms an important tool in the control of the legislative capacity of the autonomous communities.

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