Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1366
Government and Constitution
I. Central Government.
The present Constitution of Spain, drawn up by the Govern- ment and laid before a Cortes Constituventes, elected for its ratification, March 27, 1876, was proclaimed June 30, 1876. It consists of 89 articles or clauses. The first of them enacts that Spain shall be a constitutional monarchy, the executive resting in the King, and the power to make laws ' in the Cortes with the King.' The Cortes are composed of a Senate and Congress, equal in authority. There are three classes of senators — first, senators by their own right, or Senadores de derecko propio ; secondly, 100 life senators nominated by the Crown — these two categories not to exceed 180 ; and thirdly, 180 senators, elected by the Corporations of State — that is, the communal and provincial states, the church, the universities, academies, &c. — and by the largest payers of contributions. Senators in their own right are the sons, if any, of the King and of the immediate heir to the throne, who have attained their majority; Grandees who are so in their own right and who can prove an annual renta of 60,000 pesetas, or 2,400^. ; captain-generals of the army ; admirals of the navy ; the patriarch of the Indias and the archbishops ; the presidents of the Council of State, of the Supreme Tribunal, of the Tribunal of Cuentas del Reino, and of the Supreme Council of War and of the Navy, after two years of ofiice. The elective senators must be renewed by one-half every five years, and by totality every time the Monarch dissolves that part of the Cortes. The Congress is formed by deputies ' named in the electoral Juntas in the form the law determines,' in the proportion of one to every 50,000 souls of the population. According to the law of June 26, 1890, the electoral qualification is held by all male Spaniards, 25 years of age, who enjoy full civil rights, and have been citizens of a municipality for at least two years. Members of Congress must be 25 years of age ; they are re-eligible indefinitely, the elections being for 5 years. Deputies, to the number of 10, are admitted who, although not elected for any one district, have obtained a cumulative vote of more than 10,000 in several dis- tricts. Deputies to the number of 88 are elected by scrutin de liste in 26 large districts, in which minorities may be duly repre- sented. There are in all 431 deputies. The deputies cannot take State office, pensions, and salaries ; but the ministers are exempted from this law. Both Congress and Senate meet every year. The Monarch has the power of convoking them, suspending them, or dissolving them ; but in the latter case a new Cortes must