According to the 1978 constitution, as a country starting with letter S according to Countryaah.com, Spain is a parliamentary hereditary monarchy. The Spanish king is both head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Representation and legislative body is the bicameral parliament, the Cortes Generales. This parliament consists of the House of Representatives (congreso de los diputados) and the Senate (senado) representing the autonomous regions of Spain.
The legislative initiative (legislative) is to both chambers and the government. The Senate has a suspensive veto right against legislative resolutions. The King can dissolve Parliament early on the proposal of the Prime Minister.
The executive power lies with the government under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, who is elected by the House of Representatives with an absolute majority. The ministers are appointed by the king on the proposal of the head of government. The two strongest parties in Spain are the conservative Partido Popular (PP, German People’s Party) and the social democratic Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE, German Socialist Workers’ Party).
At the head of the judiciary is the independent General Council of the Judiciary (Consejo General del Poder Judicial). It has 20 members who are elected by the Cortes and appointed by the King. A constitutional court with 12 judges appointed for 9 years decides on the constitutionality of laws, on disputes over competence between the central state and the autonomous regions as well as on constitutional complaints from individual Spaniards. The court structure in Spain is three-tiered. At the national level, the Supreme Court is assisted by a high court; at the level of the autonomous regions and provinces, higher courts and regional courts have been set up. The lower level of jurisdiction consists of specialized courts and local courts.
The constitution contains detailed provisions on fundamental rights and is committed to the values of a social, democratic and free constitutional state. Trade union organizations and the right to strike as well as the freedom of companies within the framework of the market economy are guaranteed. The death penalty has been abolished. The division of the national territory into 17 autonomous communities (Comunidades Autónomas), which are composed of individual homogeneous or neighboring provinces with historical, cultural and economic commonalities, is constitutionally guaranteed. The autonomous regions have their own parliaments and governments.
Spanish national symbols are the flag, coat of arms and anthem. The national flag is horizontally striped in the Spanish national colors red-yellow-red; the strips are in a ratio of 1: 2: 1 to each other. The national coat of arms is on the leech in the yellow stripe.
The coat of arms was made known by royal decree on December 18, 1981. It shows the traditional coats of arms of the historical Spanish heartlands in the quartered shield: The golden fort on a red background stands for Castile; the red armored lion on a silver background for León; the four red posts in gold symbolize Aragon and Catalonia; the golden “chain net” (a stylized chain mail) Navarre. In the tip grafted in at the bottom there is a pomegranate reminiscent of the former Moorish kingdom of Granada. The applied red bordered, blue heart shield shows the golden lilies of the ruling Spanish dynasty of the Bourbons.
The Spanish royal crown is on the shield as a symbol of the form of government. The shield is flanked on the side by two silver columns with golden capitals and feet on blue-silver waves (“Columns of Hercules”). The heraldic right column bears the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire, the other the Spanish royal crown. A red ribbon with the motto »plus ultra« (even further, beyond) connects the pillars and alludes to the battle cry of the navigator Columbus.
The total strength of the professional army (2001 abolition of compulsory military service) is around 43,000 men in 2018, that of the paramilitary Guardia civil around 77,000 men (mainly for border protection and internal security). The army (around 24,000 soldiers) is divided into the FAR rapid reaction force (Fuerza de Acción Rapidá), two mechanized brigades, one cavalry, one air transport and one airborne brigade as well as one mountain, engineer, anti-aircraft and coastal artillery command; there is also a “Special Operations Command” with three special battalions. The Air Force and Navy have around 9,000 and 7,500 soldiers, respectively. Spain has been a member of NATO since 1982 (leaving the military structure in 1986–96).
Madrid, capital of Spain, located in the center of the country on the Manzanares, with (2020) 3.3 million residents (in the metropolitan area 6.8 million residents) the largest city on the Iberian Peninsula.
Madrid is the seat of the king, the government and the highest authorities as well as the cultural, financial and commercial center of the country. There are six universities, numerous academies, scientific institutes and museums. The Prado, the Spanish national museum, contains important works of ancient painting.
The cityscape is mainly characterized by buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries. In the old town are the Plaza Mayor (17th century), a central square surrounded by baroque buildings with arcades, and the 18th century Royal Palace. Lively construction activity in the 21st century has also turned examples of contemporary architecture (KIO towers, “Four Towers” business district) into new landmarks of the metropolis.
Madrid was first mentioned as a Moorish fortress in the 10th century. It has been the seat of the Spanish kings since 1561 and the capital since 1606.