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Resumen: This paper deals with the relationship between the form of government and the voting system in contemporary Spain. Following Norberto Bobbio’s theory of government’s form, Spain is a parliamentary democracy that is close to the presidential model, because of the indirect election of the Prime Minister. This is a consequence of the election law envisaged by the 1978 democratic Constitution. Scholars have demonstrated that, though the voting system is inspired to Proportional Representation, nonetheless it entails a «majority effect». Democratic elections from 1977 to 2011 resulted in the two biggest parties (socialists and conservatives) obtaining a representation in Parliament higher than the proportion of votes actually achieved and thus competing for the office of Presidente del Gobierno. The paper argues that the Spanish political regime has changed its way of functioning rather than its nature. As the structural elements of a parliamentary system (confidence motion, dissolution of Parliament) remain, the form of government cannot be considered presidential. However, the essay looks into the party system to show how its way of functioning gets the Spanish political regime close to the presidential form. With the exception of regional parties, the two-party system has shaped up the Spanish parliamentary democracy, thus characterizing it as presidential. Prospective changes in the political landscape might affect also the functioning of the Spanish democracy. After presenting the mutual influences between voting system and form of government, the paper ends with a few remarks about the debate on reform of electoral law that has been taking place in Spain in the recent years. In particular, it examines the very important report of the Consejo de Estado (published in 2009), that suggests some changes in order to reinforce the proportional representation of the voting system. After the emerging of so-called 15-M protest movement, the lack of representativeness in the voting system got a huge resonance in the debate on the social and political problems Spain is currently facing.
Palabras clave: Spain. Voting system. Parliamentarianism. Electoral reform. Spanish Constitution.