Business course - Spanish polítics

Spanish politics

Spanish politics (45 h)

The aim of the course is to introduce students to the main features of the Spanish political system and its evolution by reviewing the main elements that make up political systems. The course will also look at how the Spanish system might be similar, or different to other systems in the world.

The course is divided into three main sections: Institutional framework, Elections and Political Culture.

Course 2024-2025

Course 2024-2025

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Group: 10
Group: 10


Sessions are structured into three parts. In the first part, there is a presentation delivered by the lecturer regarding the main concepts and ideas of the topic. This is followed by students engaging in a debate about how the Spanish political system is similar or different to other political systems, especially concerning the concepts explained. Participation in these debates will be assessed. Finally, the session finishes with an exercise that links the theory with some practical elements. That latter part will usually involve some reading or the analysis of data. Some of these exercises will have to be handed in during the next session as part of the evaluation of the module.


Class attendance and participation: 20%

Exercises to be handed in: 20%

Mid-term exam: 30%

Final exam: 30% 


The course is divided into three main sections: Institutional framework, Elections and Political Culture.

The first section will look at the institutions that govern the country and the legal basis of the system. This first section is divided into three subsections, one that explains the background and context when the institutions were chosen and approved; one that explains the main institutions of the constitutional agreement reached in 1978 and their development; and one that introduces the territorial organization and the process of decentralization.

The second section focuses on one of the main elements of democratic systems: electoral dynamics in Spain. This section will start with a description of the regulation of elections in Spain. Then Spanish political parties will be presented and discussed. Finally, the electoral dynamics will be explained by reviewing different phases of electoral behavior in different elections since democracy was established.

The last section introduces the main elements of political culture in Spain and the ways in which they may be different from that of other countries. It is divided into two sections, one that will focus on the elites and their characteristic features and one that will review the main elements of citizens' political culture and public attitudes.

Institutional framework

• Institutional framework

o Historical background

o Previous democratic experiences

o Franco’s dictatorship

o The Spanish transition

o The Constitution of 1978

• The Institutions

o The Parliament: Senate and Congress

o Government

o The Monarchy

o The Constitutional Court

o The Judiciary

• The Territorial Organization

o Main Principles and Characteristics

o Two systems that became one

o Regional Political Systems

o The relations between the different levels of government


• Elections and Electoral System

o The different elections and its regulations

o Electoral law

 • Spanish Political Parties

o The Socialist Party

o The Popular Party and its predecessor AP

o The Left: from the Communist Party to Podemos through United Left

o Is there a center in Spain? Ciudadanos and UCD

o The Regional Parties

• The electoral dynamics in Spain

o The role of UCD and the first elections

o The collapse of UCD and the Socialist big majorities

o The arrival of the PP to the power

o 11M and the Zapatero government

o The economic crisis and Rajoy

o The collapse of the bipartisan system

Political culture

• Political elites in Spain

o Lobbies

o Think tanks

o Social Movements

• Public Opinion in Spain

o Public Opinion in Spain

- The decline of traditional morality

- Welfare state and economic views

- Europe and views of the role of Spain in the world

- Spain as a nation and the territorial conflict

o The media 


[in Spanish]

CAMINAL, M (ed.) (2006): Manual de ciencia política. Madrid: Tecnos

VALLÈS, J.M. (2007): Ciencia política: una introducción. Barcelona: Ariel

RENIU, J.M. (ed.) (2012: Sistema político español. Barcelona: Huygens,

ROMÁN, P. (Coord.) Sistema político español. Madrid: McGraw-Hill, 2002

[in English]

ENCARNACIÓN, O. G. (2008): Spanish politics: democracy after dictatorship. New York: Polity

GUNTHER, R., J. R. MONTERO, & J. BOTELLA.(2004): Democracy in modern Spain. New Haven: Yale University Press

MAGONE, J. M. (2008): Contemporary Spanish Politics. London: Routledge,

Atlas de la Península Ibérica, Península, Barcelona, 1998.

VILA VALENTÍ, J.: La península Ibérica, Ariel, Barcelona, 1996.

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