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Spain Profile

Official Name: Kingdom of Spain

  • Geography: Area: 504,750 sq. km. (194,884 sq. mi.)
  • Capital: Madrid (pop. 3.0 million).
  • Other cities: Barcelona (1.5 million), Valencia (785,732), Seville (704,203), Zaragoza (638,799), Bilbao (352,317), Malaga (547,731).


  • Nationality: Spaniard(s).
  • Population: 44.1 million.
  • Annual growth rate: 1%.
  • Religion: Predominantly Roman Catholic.
  • Languages: Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan-Valenciano 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%.
  • Education: Years compulsory -- to age 16. Literacy --- 98%(2003 est.)
  • Work force (19.2 million): Services---65.1%; agriculture---5.2%; construction---12.5%; industry---17.2% (2005 est.)


Constitutional monarchy (Juan Carlos I proclaimed King November 22, 1975). Constitution: 1978. Branches:

  • Executive -- President of government nominated by monarch, subject to approval by democratically elected Congress of Deputies.
  • Legislative -- bicameral Cortes: a 350-seat Congress of Deputies (elected by the d'Hondt system of proportional representation) and a Senate. Four senators are elected in each of 47 peninsular provinces, 16 are elected from the three island provinces, and Ceuta and Melilla elect two each; this accounts for 208 senators. The 17 autonomous regions also appoint one senator as well as one additional senator for every 1 million inhabitants within their territory (about 20 senators).
  • Judicial -- Constitutional Tribunal has jurisdiction over constitutional issues. Supreme Tribunal heads system comprising territorial, provincial, regional, and municipal courts.

Subdivisions: 47 peninsular and three island provinces; two enclaves on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco (Ceuta and Melilla); and three island groups along that coast -- Alhucemas, Penon de Velez de la Gomera, and the Chafarinas Islands.

On Spain’s political front, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of the Socialist Party was elected President in the March 2004 elections. The new government is faced with the challenge of maintaining the positive economic trends of the previous eight years while addressing the need to improve overall competitiveness and productivity.

Political parties: Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), Popular Party (PP), and the United Left (IU) coalition. Key regional parties are the Convergence and Union (CIU) in Catalonia and the Basque National Party (PNV) in the Basque country.