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National and Subnational Democracy in Spain: History, Models and Challenges

  • Political Science


Democracy in Spain is embedded in a typical configuration of institutional elements characteristic of the Spanish state organization and culture that have been determined by its particular political history, but are comparable to other European states. However, it is not easy to categorize Spain clearly into a single state tradition model. Recent transformations have meant a complete redistribution of power and a rescaling of the traditional Spanish state institutions. The Spanish model of subnational democracy has evolved parallel to the consolidation of the first successful experience of liberal democracy occurred at the national level during the last thirty years. Democracy at the subnational level has been influenced by the state tradition, but at the same time has transformed its structure and the behaviour of political actors from a consensual towards a more majoritarian model. This has been done alongside far-reaching decentralization and the emergence of particular regional democratic institutions, party systems, welfare state policies and the recovering of local self-government.

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