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Congreso de los Diputados (Congress of Deputies)

Compare data for parliamentary chambers in the Last elections module

A historical Archive of past election results for this chamber can be found on a separate page

Parliament name (generic / translated) Las Cortes Generales / The Cortes
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Congreso de los Diputados / Congress of Deputies
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Senado / Senate
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 20 November 2011
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all the seats in the Congress of Deputies following early dissolution of this body on 26 September 2011. Elections to the Congress of Deputies had previously taken place in March 2008.
On 29 July 2011, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announced that parliamentary elections would be held on 20 November, four months earlier than they were constitutionally due. The bicameral parliament was subsequently dissolved on 26 September. At stake were all 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies and the 208 directly-elected seats in the 264-member Senate.

In the previous elections held in March 2008, Prime Minister Zapatero's Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) - in power since 2004 - remained the largest party in the Congress of Deputies with 169 seats, but failed to secure a majority. The People's Party (PP) followed with 153 seats. The latter took 101 of the 208 directly-elected seats in the Senate, 12 more than the PSOE. The remaining seats in both chambers went to small parties.

During Mr. Zapatero's second term, the global economic crisis severely affected the country's economy, in particular the real estate sector. The country officially entered a recession in the third quarter of 2008. The government introduced an economic stimulus plan, including 8 billion euros of infrastructure products and a 2,500-euro "baby cheque" for each newborn child. Despite the stimulus, however, the economic situation continued to deteriorate and the public deficit reached 11.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009, in stark contrast with the 2-per-cent surplus in 2007. The unemployment rate surpassed 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2010, reaching a 13-year high.

In April 2010, while the countries in the euro zone were negotiating a bailout plan for Greece - without which the country could have defaulted on sovereign debt, thus destabilizing the euro - attention turned to Spain's public deficit. Although Prime Minister Zapatero initially denied that the Spanish economy was in trouble, he subsequently announced a series of austerity measures, amounting to approximately 1.5 per cent of GDP. They included wage cuts for civil servants, an end to the "baby cheque" and a freeze on pension increases, followed by a 2 percentage-point rise in the value-added tax.

In January 2011, the Cortes (Parliament) passed pension reforms that will gradually raise the retirement age from 65 to 67. In April, the Prime Minister announced that he would not seek re-election.

In May 2011, one week before local elections, the first mass protests by the "Indignant Movement" were held in Madrid. The Movement, comprising young demonstrators, protested against wage and social benefit cuts as well as high unemployment. Its demands included taxing bankers and top fortunes, and the Movement quickly spread to the rest of Europe before reaching Wall Street in September.

The PSOE lost the May local elections, which reportedly increased the pressure on the Prime Minister to call early parliamentary elections. In June, the PSOE endorsed Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba as its candidate for the premiership. Mr. Rubalcaba is known for his tough stance against ETA, the Basque separatist group.

On 29 July, the Prime Minister announced that early elections would be held in November to bring "political and economic certainty" to the country. On 30 August, the Congress of Deputies passed a constitutional amendment obliging future governments to keep a balanced budget during times of normal economic growth. The Senate endorsed the amendment a week later.
According to Eurostat, the overall unemployment rate in Spain in October 2011 was recorded at 22.8 per cent and 48.9 per cent for under 25-year-olds. Both are the highest among the 27 Member States of the European Union (EU).

The 2011 elections once again saw a duel between the PSOE and the PP. Mr. Rubalcaba (PSOE) warned that the PP would destroy the welfare State. He accused the PP of having secret plans for massive public spending cuts and privatization. He pledged to introduce new taxes on banks and the biggest personal fortunes, in response to the Indignant Movement. The PSOE promised to reduce the country's deficit from 9.2 per cent of GDP (recorded in 2010) to 6 per cent by the end of 2011.

PP leader Mariano Rajoy Brey criticized the PSOE government for not taking adequate measures to tackle unemployment. The PP's platform included plans for corporate tax cuts to encourage hiring. The PP leader pledged to deal with economic problems, without going into the details. He said that he would honour Spain's deficit-reduction commitments to the EU but called the PSOE's plan to reduce the deficit to 6 per cent unrealistic.

In the middle of the election campaign, on 20 October, ETA declared "the definitive cessation" of its armed activity after 43 years of armed struggle for autonomy that claimed over 800 lives. Prime Minister Zapatero welcomed the declaration as a "victory for democracy, law and reason". The PP ruled out any negotiation with ETA. The Bildu party formed an electoral coalition of pro-independence parties in the Basque region, Amaiur, to run for the 2011 elections. Bildu is a successor of the Basque separatist party Batasuna, which was banned in 2003 because of its links to ETA.

Due to inclement weather, some polling stations opened late. In all, 71.69 per cent of the 34.3 million registered voters turned out at the polls, down from 75.32 per cent in 2008.

The final results gave a clear victory to the PP, which took 186 of the 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 136 of the 208 directly-elected seats in the Senate. The PSOE took 110 and 48 seats respectively. The remainder in both chambers went to small parties, including Amaiur, which took seven seats in the Congress of Deputies and three in the Senate.

On 13 December, the newly elected Cortes held its first session. Mr. Jesús María Posada Moreno (PP) was elected Speaker of the Congress of Deputies while Mr. Pío García-Escudero Márquez (PP) was elected Senate President.

On 20 December, Mr. Rajoy (PP) won a vote of confidence in the Congress of Deputies.
Voter turnout
Round no 120 November 2011
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
24'590'557 (71.69%)
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
People's Party 10'830'693 45.24
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 6'973'880 29.13
Convergence and Union (CiU) 1'014'263 4.24
United Left (IU) - The Greens (LV) 1'680'810 7.02
Amaiur 333'628 1.39
Union Progress and Democracy (UPyD) 1'140'242 4.76
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV) 323'517 1.35
ESQUERRA 256'393 1.07
Galician Nationalist Party (BNG) 183'279 0.77
CC-NC-PNC 143'550 0.60
Compromís-Q 125'150 0.52
Asturian Forum (FAC) 99'173 0.41
Geroa Bai (GBAI) 42'411 0.18
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total
People's Party 186
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 110
Convergence and Union (CiU) 16
United Left (IU) - The Greens (LV) 11
Amaiur 7
Union Progress and Democracy (UPyD) 5
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV) 5
Galician Nationalist Party (BNG) 2
Compromís-Q 1
Asturian Forum (FAC) 1
Geroa Bai (GBAI) 1
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
IPU Group (13.12.2011, 01.01.2014)

Note on the distribution of seats:
"CC-NC-PNC" stands for Canarian Coalition (CC) - New Canaries (NC) - Canarian Nationalist Party (PNC).

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