The Presidentialization of Spanish Democracy: Sources of Prime Ministerial Power in Post‐Franco Spain
Spain is a good example of a formally parliamentary regime subject to presidentializing pressures. This chapter examines the foundations of this presidentialization, focusing on three broad areas: the formal constitutional framework and other institutional features stemming from the nature of the Spanish transition to democracy, the internal dynamics of Spanish political parties, and the dynamics of electoral competition. It shows that there are clear tendencies towards presidentialization in the Spanish political system, but also countervailing factors that to some extent redress the balance. There is no clear evidence of a gradual presidentialization of Spanish democracy over the post-Franco period, and the status and autonomy of Prime Ministers have fluctuated over time with no clear pattern or direction. This suggests that the key to explaining the degree of presidentialization of Spanish democracy lies in intra- and inter-party dynamics, and in the characteristics of leaders themselves. In conclusion, Spain has strongly ‘presidential’ tendencies, but its constitutional arrangements can also accommodate the reassertion of parliamentary power. In this sense, it has become quite a flexible institutional arrangement where political authority can shift in line with the unpredictable evolution of party politics.
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