Autonomous communities of Spain

Spain's fifty provincess (provincias) are grouped into seventeen autonomous communities (comunidades autónomas), in addition to two African autonomous cities (ciudades autónomas) (Ceuta and Melilla).

Table of contents
1 Formation and Powers
2 List
3 Plazas de soberanía
4 External link

Formation and Powers

Centralism, nationalism and separatism played an important role in the Spanish transition. For fear that separatism would lead to instability and a dictatorial backlash, a compromise was struck among the moderate political parties taking part in the drafting of the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The aim was to appease separatist forces and so disarm the extreme right. A highly decentralized state was established, compared both with the previous Francoist regime and with most modern territorial arrangements in Western European nations.

The autonomous communities have wide legislative and executive autonomy, with their own parliaments and regional governments. As an example, in Catalonia the regional government has allowed registered partnership between homosexuals in order to bring their rights on a par with heterosexual married couples, whereas this form of partnership has no legal standing in the rest of Spain. Similar laws have been enacted by some cities, though.

The distribution of competences is different for every community, collected in the "autonomy statute" (estatuto de autonomía). There is a de facto distinction beween "historic" communities (Basque Country, Catalonia, Galicia, and Andalusia) and the rest. The historic ones initially received more functions, including the ability of the regional presidents to choose the timing of the regional elections (as long as they happen at most 4 years apart). As another example, the Basque Country and Catalonia have full-range police forces of their own: Ertzaintza in the Basque Country and Mossos d'Esquadra in Catalonia. Other communities have a limited-bailiwick one or none at all.

The Constitution recognizes the historical rights of regions in general terms. This is a reference to the special status of certain regions with respect to the whole as a result of past agreements between the central government and the region, some times centuries ago. It is understood that those rights need to be actualized through the estatuto de autonomía. This explains why the Basque Country and Navarre collect taxes and negotiate with the Spanish government on how much they must contribute to the state's treasury while the rest receive allocations according to the "transferred" government functions.

The initial intent was not that every part of Spain should become part of an autonomous community, but that only the "historic" communities would be created. However, shortly after the Constitution was approved, a wave of creation of autonomous communities ensued. This was dubbed café para todos ("coffee for everybody") by critics of the decentralization.

There has been a tendency for "slow-track" communities to aspire to the function range of their elders. Even in communities without a separatist tradition, the local branches of parties fight for more power and budgets. Current points of disagreement are tax collection and representation at institutions of the European Union.

The Spanish Constitution of 1931 gave autonomy Catalonia and the Basque Country, but the Spanish war crushed this experiment.

List

Here is a list of the communities and provinces.

Name
Local name(s)
Capital Provinces Capital

Andalusia
Andalucía
Seville
Sp. Sevilla

Almería Almería

Cádiz Cádiz

Córdoba Córdoba

Granada Granada

Huelva Huelva

Jaén Jaén

Málaga Málaga

Sevilla Seville

Aragon
Aragón
Zaragoza

Huesca Huesca

Teruel Teruel

Huesca Zaragoza

Asturias
As Asturies
Oviedo

Asturias
As Asturies
Oviedo

Balearic Islands
Cat Illes Balears
Sp. Islas Baleares
Palma de Mallorca Balearic Islands
Cat Illes Balears
Sp. Islas Baleares
Palma de Mallorca

Basque Country
Ba Euskadi
Sp. País Vasco
Vitoria
Ba. Gasteiz

Álava
Ba. Araba
Vitoria
Ba. Gasteiz

Guipúzcoa
Ba. Gipuzkoa
San Sebastián
Ba. Donostia

Vizcaya
Ba. Bizkaia
Bilbao
Ba. Bilbo

Canary Islands
Islas Canarias
Santa Cruz de Tenerife/
Las Palmas

Santa Cruz de Tenerife Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Las Palmas Las Palmas

Cantabria Santander

Cantabria Santander

Catalonia
Cat Catalunya
Sp. Cataluña
Barcelona

Barcelona Barcelona

Girona
Sp. Gerona
Girona
Sp. Gerona

Lleida
Sp. Lérida
Lleida
Sp. Lérida

Tarragona Tarragona

Castile-La Mancha
Castilla-La Mancha
Toledo

Albacete Albacete

Ciudad Real Ciudad Real

Cuenca Cuenca

Guadalajara Guadalajara

Toledo Toledo

Castile-Leon
Castilla-León
Valladolid

Ávila Ávila

Burgos Burgos

León León

Palencia Palencia

Salamanca Salamanca

Segovia Segovia

Soria Soria

Valladolid Valladolid

Zamora Zamora

Extremadura Mérida

Badajoz Badajoz

Cáceres Cáceres

Galicia
Ga Galiza
Santiago de Compostela

A Coruña
Sp. La Coruña
A Coruña
Sp. La Coruña

Lugo Lugo

Ourense
Sp. Orense
Ourense
Sp. Orense

Pontevedra Pontevedra

La Rioja Logroño

La Rioja Logroño

Madrid Madrid

Madrid Madrid

Murcia Murcia

Murcia Murcia

Navarre
Ba Nafarroa
Sp. Navarra
Pamplona
Ba. Iruña

Navarre
Ba Nafarroa
Sp. Navarra
Pamplona
Ba. Iruña

Valencia
Vl Comunitat Valenciana
Sp. Comunidad Valenciana
Valencia

Alicante
Vl. Alacant
Alicante
Vl. Alacant

Castellón
Vl. Castelló
Castellón de la Plana
Vl. Castelló de la Plana

Valencia
Vl. València
Valencia
Vl. València

See also:

The map is stable, though some minorities claim separate communities for León, Orihuela and Álava. Also, there is an enclave of Burgos (Castilla y León) inside Álava (País Vasco), called Condado de Treviño which would like to leave Burgos and join Álava.

Plazas de soberanía

There are five "places of sovereignty" (plazas de soberanía) near Morocco, under direct Spanish administration:

External link

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