Spanish Constitution of 1978 (annotated)/Preliminary Part

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Preliminary Part

Section 1

A social and democratic State under the rule of law2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 117, 128 C1. Spain is hereby established as a social and democratic State, subject to the rule of law, which advocates freedom, justice, equality and political pluralism as highest values of its legal system.

National sovereignty56, 66, 117 C2. National sovereignty belongs to the Spanish people, from whom all State powers emanate.

Parliamentary monarchy56, 66, 97, 108 C3. The political form of the Spanish State is the Parliamentary Monarchy.

Section 2

National unity and devolution to nationalities and regions1, 137-139, 143-148 CThe Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards; it recognises and guarantees the right to selfgovernment of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed and the solidarity among them all.

Section 3

Language14, 139.1, 149.1.1 C1. Castilian is the official Spanish language of the State. All Spaniards have the duty to know it and the right to use it.

147, 148.1.17, Final Prov. C2. The other Spanish languages shall also be official in the respective Self-governing Communities in accordance with their Statutes.

46, 149.1.28, 149.2 C3. The wealth of the different linguistic forms of Spain is a cultural heritage which shall be especially respected and protected.

Section 4

National flag1, 2 C1. The flag of Spain consists of three horizontal stripes: red, yellow and red, the yellow stripe being twice as wide as each red stripe.

147 C2. The Statutes may recognize flags and ensigns of the Self-governing Communities. These shall be used together with the flag of Spain on their public buildings and in their official ceremonies.

Section 5

Capital1 CThe capital of the State is the city of Madrid.

Section 6

Political parties1.1, 7, 22, 23.1, 67.2, 127.1, 159.4 C 23 RPolitical parties are the expression of political pluralism, they contribute to the formation and expression of the will of the people and are an essential instrument for political participation. Their creation and the exercise of their activities are free in so far as they respect the Constitution and the law. Their internal structure and their functioning must be democratic.

Section 7

Trade unions and employers' associations1.1, 22, 28, 37, 131.2 CTrade unions and employers' associations contribute to the defence and promotion of the economic and social interests which they represent. Their creation and the exercise of their activities shall be free in so far as they respect the Constitution and the law. Their internal structure and their functioning must be democratic.

Section 8

Armed Forces28.1, 29.2 30, 62 h), 63.3, 70.1 e), 97 C1. The mission of the Armed Forces, comprising the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, is to guarantee the sovereignty and independence of Spain and to defend its territorial integrity and the constitutional order.

2. The basic structure of military organization shall be regulated by an Organic Act in accordance with the principles of the present Constitution.

Section 9

Rule of law1, 9.3, 10, 25.1, 103.1, 106, 161 C1. Citizens and public authorities are bound by the Constitution and all other legal provisions.

Promotion of freedom, equality and citizens' participation by public autorities1.1, 39-52, 128-131 C2. It is the responsibility of the public authorities to promote conditions ensuring that freedom and equality of individuals and of the groups to which they belong are real and effective, to remove the obstacles preventing or hindering their full enjoyment, and to facilitate the participation of all citizens in political, economic, cultural and social life.

Constitutional principles1.1, 9.1, 25, 103, 106, 117, 133, 161 C3. The Constitution guarantees the principle of legality, the hierarchy of legal provisions, the publicity of legal statutes, the non-retroactivity of punitive provisions that are not favourable to or restrictive of individual rights, the certainty that the rule of law shall prevail, the accountability of public authorities, and the prohibition of arbitrary action of public authorities.