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Chronic irregularities of electoral processes in Spain

Outlawing of political parties

Nomination of candidates

Voting booths

Destruction of lists of voters


In 2002 spanish Regime outlawed several parties due to political reasons. In some regions voting right is denied for roughly 10%-20% people. Further over democratic regression meant by existence of outlawed political parties, this big irregularity leads elected institutions lack legitimacy.

In general outlawing of parties in Spain is related to the persistent conflict among nationalists. Demopunk Net maintains more detailed information about outlawing of parties in Spain.


Spanish electoral system is based on closed lists and exhibits the lowest proportionalty of vote/seat among the so-named "proportional" electoral systems (Demopunk Net maintains precise documentation about electoral systems, in particular about spanish electoral system).

But irrespectively of the pernicious and calculated design of electoral system, every new electoral day is preceded by the sad spectacle of making-up of electoral lists. In the vast majority of cases electoral lists are written directly by elites of each parties.

"... who really chooses candidates is the Electoral Committe headed by me. I have not got anymore to tell that who statutoryly decides and really chooses candidates is the National Electoral Committe" (ABC, 28/Jun/2002).

In local elections, local assamblies of party members are usually who choose candidates, though nearly every time a unique list is submitted, previously agreed; but it is frequent that management stuff of parties changes local lists.

Electoral system of closed lists, together with lacking real primary elections, have converted political parties in lay sects where "disobedience"  to elites is punished at least with no inclusion within lists of candidates.

The pathetic spectacle preceding every election is a proof of ineffectiveness of present constitution and its guarantee mechanisms. How is possible that such problems persist while following constitutional articles are in force?

Article 6. Political parties [...] their internal structure and operation must be democratic.
Article 67.2. Members of General Courts are not bound by imperative mandate.


One of the most painful lacks of the spanish electoral procedure are the voting booths. Obligatory nature of using the booth, as real action before voting, is the unique procedure to preserve electoral secret. The fact that ALL of voters had to pass through booth, would allow to assure there are always a private space for voter. Particularly, for the one that needs privacy. Sense of civic responsability of everyone might get rid of any kinf of coercion.

Spanish electoral procedure could be rated as "coarse". Ballots of each party list pile up there for everyone to see. It is ridiculous to see many voters taking several different ballots to cover up their voting. A fruitless covering for the persons efectively under electoral coercion, who even cannot to bring one closed envelope or merely to abstain.

There are several circumstances under which voter is coerced: within little rural communities with close economical relationships, towns and neighborhoods where are acute political conflicts. And very particularly within familiar scope. There are numerous familiar relationships marked by economical, religious, psychological, ... dependences. It is no wonder that action of voting (usually exercised by whole family) could be subjected to pressure. Due to the harmful design of polling stations in Spain, we might be talking about thounsands of prostituted votings.

Ineffectiveness of booths that Regime put in a corner within polling stations is so huge that the own Electoral Law is overwhelming broken during "democratic festival". Everybody are able to check booths are put in a coner and empty:

Organic Electoral Law, 5/1985. Art.86.2: ... All of voters come closer to the Table one by one, after having pass through, if they want so, the booth which will be into the same room, at a place between the entry and the Electoral Table. Inside of booth voter will be able to choose the electoral ballots and to introduce into the appropiate envelope.

Everybody are able to check actually booths are put in a corner and empty.

It is obvious to infer that mandatory use of booths could not benefit a specific party. This trouble is not regulated due to mere idleness.


Logically, during voting process name and surname of voters are noted down in order to avoid double voting. However, at the end of polling day mentioned list are not destroyed, was still at Regime's disposal. There is no legal norm binding its destruction, in spite of its conservation has not got any usefulness.

This circumstance can provoke coercion undet the one of most important freedom: freedom of voting. The wide diversity of personal circumstances allow to imagine coercion, real or unreal, under freedom to choose between voting or abstaining.

Painfuly, practice ends up confirming what common sense dictates. There are already several acussations about irregular use of mentioned lists by Regime, which could be used for policial tracing of voters. Voting to minoritarian parties which have got some kind of conflict with Regime, permits to track voter among few hundreds of voters within the same electoral table.

By the moment, this defect seems only to affect disident minorities, and then it cannot worry easily to a society which does not feel passionately democracy. But the repeated threats of Regime about becoming an electoral majoritarian system converts this defect in a bigger trouble. Lists of voters will be useful, as in another countries, for the "suitable" geographical delimitation of individual constituencies. Spanish version of "gerrymandering" will be not different to the common practice in USA and United Kingdom.

Related to the non-destruction of lists of voters, we thanks following informative perl sent by J.L.L.:

3/Oct/00, 1:55:00 AM, Tele5: "In Almeria, Socialist Party are doing phone calls by neighborhoods where was abstention last elections in order to move the will of the indecisive ones. It is other kind of dialogue which has attracted our attention. In the other end of the telephone they cannot believe for it. Even Chaves [socialdemocrat candidate] has volunteered to participate this morning in the telemarketing. A pioneering electoral trial to combat abstention."