noVEUNMEKT AND CONSTITUTION lOll
sit within three months. The Monarch appoints the president and vice-presidents of the Senate from members of the Senate only ; the Congress elects its own Officials. Tlie Monarch and each of the legislative chambers can take tlu^ initiative in the laws. The Con- gress has the right of impeaching the ministers before the Senate.
The Constitution of June 30, 1876, further enacts that the Monarch is inviolable, but his ministers are respdnsilile, and that all his decrees must be countersigned by one of them. The Cortes must approve his marriage before he can contract it, and the King cannot marry any one excluded by law from the succession to the crdwn. Should the lines of the legitimate descendants of the late Alphonso XII. become extinct, the succession shall be in this order — first, to his sisters ; next to his aunt and her legitimate descendants ; and next to those of his uncles, the brothers of Fernando VII., 'unless they have been excluded.' If all the lines become extinct, 'the nation will elect its Monarch. '
The executive is vested, under the Monarch, in a Council of Ministers, as follows, March 4, 1899 : —
President of the Council. — Senor Silvela. Minister of Foreign Affairs. — The Marquis Pidal. Minister of Justice. — Senor Duran. Minister of Finance. — Senor Villaverde. Minister of the Interior. — Senor Dato. Minister of JVar. — General Polavieja. Minister of Marine. — Admiral Lazaga.
Minister of Agriculture and Commerce and of Public Works. — Senot Cardenas.
The Ministry of the Colonies was abolished February 10, 1899.
II. Local Government.
The various provinces and communes of Spain are governed by the provincial and municipal laws. Every commune has its own elected Ayuntamiento, consisting of from five to thirty-nine Regidores, or Conce- jales, and presided over by the Alcalde, at whose side stand, in the largel' to^vns, several Tenientes Alcaldes. The entire municipal government, with power of taxation, is vested in the Ayuntamientos. Half the members are elected every two years, and they appoint the Alcalde, the executive functionary, from their own body. In the larger towns he may be appointed by the King. Members cannot be re-elected until after two years. Each province of Spain has its own Parliament, the Diputacion Provincial, the members of which are elected by the constituencies. The Diputaciones Provinciales meet in annual session, and are permanently represented by the Comission Provincial, a committee elected every year. The Constitution of 1876 secures to the Diputaciones Provinciales and the Ayuntamientos the government and administration of the respective provinces and com- munes. Neither the national executive nor the Cortes have the right to interfere in the established municipal and provincial administration, except in the case of the action of the Diputaciones Provinciales and Ayuntamientos going beyond the locally limited sphere to the injury of general and permanent interests. In the Basque provinces self-government has been almost abolished since the last civil war, and they are ruled as the rest of Spain. Notwithstanding the provisions of the Con.stitution, pressure is too frequently brought to bear upon the local elections by the Central Government. '
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