The Constitution is one of the most vital articles that impact our lives on a daily basis. It determines what we to do, protect individual’s rights and freedoms, and is also the framework that guides and limits the authority of the government. The Supreme Court is the ultimate decision maker on what topics and issues are legal. It has to frequently hear and determine the constitutionality of sensitive issues and come up with final verdicts. In our discussion, we would discuss and analyze some of the constitutional aspects of Spain. It is on subjects such as the period when the Constitution came into place, amendments that it has gone through, the provisions, and its relevance to the current society.
The Spanish Constitution forms the supreme law of the land. It came into place after a referendum that led to the transition of the country to a democracy. The Constitution of 1978 is one of the numerous law documents also part of the two fully democratic charters (Rosenfeld, 1997). Juan Carlos sanctioned the record on one particular occasion but got published in December. The promulgation of the Constitution led to a new era after almost four decades of military rule. The transition of Spain to a democratic state was one of the most complicated processes of the Francoist administration. Spain never abolished the regime but instead chose to use a slow transformation course. The Constitution got redacted, debated and approved by the constituent assembly that was in place after the 1977 election (Rosenfeld, 1997). All the fundamental laws of the realm that contradicted the Constitution got repealed.
Article 1 of the Constitution defines the Spanish state. Section 1.2 outlines the national sovereignty, and Article 1.3 establishes the parliament monarchy (Rosenfeld, 1997). The Constitution comprises of 10 parts, a preamble, additional provisions and repeals, a preamble, and a final provision. The 1978 referendum led to the ratification of the Constitution in the same year. Title X of the Constitution determines the approval of any constitutional amendment affecting the Preliminary Title or Section I of Chapter II of Title I or Title II are subject to practice that requires two-thirds approval of each house, approval in a referendum, and two-thirds support by an amendment (Heywood " Grugel, 1995). Title X is not inclusive of itself in the protected provisions making it difficult to modify using the usual procedure to eliminate a severity of the particular requirement. Despite such a process not formally contradicting the law, one could see it as an attack on its spirit.
The Constitution has on two occasions been through changes. The first period is when Article 13.2 changed to extend suffrage rights to citizens of the European Union in regional elections (Heywood " Grugel, 1995). The other instance is in September 2011when a balanced budget amendment got proposed besides the inclusion of a debt brake. The current version allows for the death penalty only in military scenarios, but the punishment was done away with thus lacking relevance. There have however been requests for a complete abolishment and explicitly in all cases. A campaign has been in place to extend the provision to other amendments protecting social, justice, human rights and the environment.
The Spanish Constitution is among one of the limited with a provision of Bill of Rights besides social rights. It includes the definition of the state subject to the rule of law in its initial title. Nonetheless, the freedoms are not similar to those that safeguard individual rights which are in articles 14 to 28 (Heywood " Grugel, 1995). The social rights are reflected as principles and directives of economic policy but never complete rights of the citizens. Other constitutional stipulations recognize the right to a pension, social welfare, employment and health protection. The Statute of Autonomy of the various regions forms the second most crucial aspects when it comes to issues relating to the nation’s political structure. Based on that, attempted efforts to reform specific statutes have either been rejected or brought about a considerable controversy. An example was the plan by Basque President to modify the status of the Basque Country in Spanish that was in no small extent turned down by the Spanish Cortes
In another instance, the People’s Party attempted to decline the admission into the Cortes of the 2005 reform of the Autonomy State of Catalonia (Perea, 2009). It was because it required a constitutional change rather than a statute amendment. After failing to gather the required majority, the party filed unconstitutionality claims and called for the revocation of several articles. The dilemma has led to the contest of Autonomous Communities on similar grounds and other disputed factors such as cultural heritage.
There have been concerns about the legal reforms to align themselves with the Constitution. Some of the arguments include autonomous states have included clauses claiming exclusive power, the Valencian statute that makes any powers assumed by other communities in its laws automatically available on the Valencian community. Moreover, the amended version of the Catalan Statute prompts the state to allow investments in Catalonia according to Catalonia's percentage contribution to the total Spanish GDP (Perea, 2009). Concerning that, the Catalan crisis came about that is threatening to be a significant impediment to the nation.
In conclusion, Spain's journey to the attainment of a Constitution was a complicated path. It is based on the numerous hurdles that they went through before realization of their democratic dream. The Constitution is a crucial document in the structuring of the societal operation. However, some controversial issues are threatening to undermine the progress that requires urgent attention.
Heywood, P., " Grugel, J. (1995). The government and politics of Spain (p. 100). London: Macmillan.
Perea, H. (2009). The Catalan seismic crisis (1427 and 1428; NE Iberian Peninsula): geological sources and earthquake triggering. Journal of Geodynamics, 47(5), 259-270.
Rosenfeld, M. (1997). Constitution-Making, Identity Building, and Peaceful Transition to Democracy: Theoretical Reflections Inspired by the Spanish Example. Cardozo L. Rev., 19, 1891.