Local government in Spain Information

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The Local government in Spain pertains the government and administration powers exercised by the "local entities" in the country. It is one of the three tiers of government, along the state level and the regional level ( autonomous communities). Spain is adhered to the European Charter of Local Self-Government although it declares itself not bound to the full extent of the paragraph 2 of the Article 3 of the Charter. [1]

Local entities

Provincial government

The collective body for the Government and administration of the non-insular provinces is the diputación provincial ("provincial deputation"). Additionally, the functions of the diputaciones is replaced by the regional government bodies in the case of uniprovincial autonomous communities. It is formed by a plenary council, the deliberative body, and an executive committee formed by the president and part of the deputies. [1] The provincial councillors are indirectly elected to a 4-year mandate by the municipal councils as function of the results of the municipal elections. [2] The Spanish Constitution guarantees the autonomy of the provinces. [3]

Cabildos insulares

It is the governing body used for each of the seven major islands of the Canarian Archipielago, lacking both two Canarian provinces a provincial "deputation".

Municipal government


The collective body for most of the municipalities is the Ayuntamiento. The main organ of the Ayuntamiento is the plenary, the deliberative body formed by the elected councillors, and presided by the alcalde ("Mayor"). Unlike in other European countries the Mayor is not directly elected. [1] He is invested by the councillors. If no head of list of each electoral list commands an absolute majority of the votes of the councillors in the Plenary, the head of list of the most voted list becomes Mayor. [4] The executive organs are the Mayor, the tenientes de alcalde ("deputy mayors") and the executive committee formed by a number of the elected councillors (Junta or Consejo de Gobierno). [1] While the Plenary retains the vote of censure to remove the Mayor, the system confers much power to the Mayor, thus the Mayoral competences and authority have become a main point of discussion about the Spanish local government. [5] The Spanish Constitution guarantees the autonomy of the municipalities. [3]

Concejo abierto

The concejo abierto ("open council") is the assambleary system used for the government and administration of low-population municipalities. The government is exercised by the Mayor and the asamblea vecinal ("neighboring assembly"), formed by all the electors of the municipality.

Other local entities

Other entities belonging to the local tier, sharing the feature of not being mentioned in the Constitution, [1] and thus, the name and its simple existence being highly dependent on the particular regional legislation are:

  • Comarca
  • Entidad de Ámbito Territorial Inferior al Municipio (EATIM). Administrative unit below the municipal level.
  • Mancomunidad (association of municipalities)
  • Metropolitan area


  1. ^ a b c d e Cools & Verbeek 2013.
  2. ^ Canel 1994, pp. 51–52.
  3. ^ a b Canel 1994, pp. 48–49.
  4. ^ "Electoral Systems and Voting Procedures at Local Level". Local and regional authorities in Europe. Council of Europe (68): 35. ISBN  9287139830.
  5. ^ Canel 1994, p. 49.