1977 Spanish general election

1977 Spanish general election

← 1936 15 June 1977 1979 →

All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 207 (of 248) seats in the Senate
176 seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies
Opinion polls
Turnout18,590,130 (78.8%)
  First party Second party Third party
  Adolfo Suárez 1979 (cropped).jpg Felipe González 1976 (cropped).jpg Santiago Carrillo 1978 (cropped).jpg
Leader Adolfo Suárez Felipe González Santiago Carrillo
Leader since 3 May 1977 13 October 1974 3 July 1960
Leader's seat Madrid Madrid Madrid
Seats won 165 118 20
Popular vote 6,310,391 5,371,866 1,709,890
Percentage 34.4% 29.3% 9.3%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Manuel Fraga 1982 (cropped).jpg Enrique Tierno Galván 1979 (cropped).jpg Jordi Pujol 1978 (cropped).jpg
Leader Manuel Fraga Enrique Tierno Galván Jordi Pujol
Leader since 9 October 1976 1974 17 November 1974
Leader's seat Madrid Madrid Barcelona
Seats won 16 6 11
Popular vote 1,526,671 816,582 514,647
Percentage 8.3% 4.5% 2.8%

1977 Spanish election - Results.svg
1977 Spanish election - AC results.svg

Prime Minister before election

Adolfo Suárez

Elected Prime Minister

Adolfo Suárez

The 1977 Spanish general election was held on Wednesday, 15 June 1977, to elect the Spanish Cortes of the Kingdom of Spain. All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies were up for election, as well as all 207 seats in the Senate.

It was the first free election held in Spain since 1936, prior to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. It was called by Prime Minister Adolfo Suárez as part of the political reform of the Francoist regime, ongoing since shortly after Francisco Franco's death in 1975 and promoted by his successor, King Juan Carlos I. Its aim was to elect a Constituent Cortes that was to draft a new constitution, which would ultimately lead to the repealing of the Fundamental Laws of the Realm and the culmination of the country's peaceful transition to democracy.

The Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD), the electoral coalition created to serve as Suárez's political platform in government, emerged as the largest party overall, albeit 11 seats short of an absolute majority. The election surprise was the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) of Felipe González, which—supported by the German SPD and running a campaign intended to highlight González's youth and charisma—won 118 seats and became the main left-of-centre party by a wide margin. The Communist Party of Spain (PCE), which had been the main opposition force to the dictatorship, and the right-wing People's Alliance (AP) of former Francoist minister Manuel Fraga, performed below expectations. Turnout was high at 78.8%, the second highest for any nationwide election held ever since.[1][2]



The death of Francisco Franco in 1975 paved the way for Spain's transition from an autocratic, one-party dictatorship into a democratic, constitutional monarchy. As per the Succession Law of 1947, the Spanish monarchy was restored under the figure of Juan Carlos I, who quickly became the promoter of a peaceful democratic reform of state institutions. This move was supported by western countries, an important sector of Spanish and international capitalism, a majority of the opposition to Francoism—organized into the Democratic Convergence Platform and the Democratic Junta, which in 1976 would both merge into the Democratic Coordination—and a growing part of the Franco regime itself, weary of popular mobilization after the outcome of the Carnation Revolution in neighbouring Portugal in 1974.[3] However, as incumbent Prime Minister Carlos Arias Navarro rejected any major transformation of the Spanish political system, rather supporting the preservation of Francoist laws, he was dismissed by the King in July 1976, who appointed Adolfo Suárez for the post.

Suárez's plans for political reform involved the transformation of Spanish institutions in accordance to the Francoist legal system through the approval of a "political reform bill" as a Fundamental Law of the Realm. This was meant as a step beyond Arias Navarro's plans to update—but preserve—the Francoist regime, with Suárez intending to implement democracy "from law to law through law"—in the words of Torcuato Fernández-Miranda—without the outright liquidation of the Francoist system as called for by opposition parties.[4][5] Thus, on 18 November 1976, the 1977 Political Reform Act was passed by the Francoist Cortes, later ratified in a referendum on 15 December 1976 with overwhelming popular support. As set out in Suárez's scheme, the Act called for an electoral process to elect new Cortes that were to be responsible for drafting a democratic constitution.

Electoral system

Under the 1977 Political Reform Act, the Spanish Cortes were envisaged as a provisional legislature that was to approve a new constitution in a short timespan. Initiative for constitutional amendment belonged to the Congress of Deputies, as well as to the Government. Constitutional bills required to be passed by an absolute majority in both the Congress and Senate. If the Senate rejected the bill as passed by Congress, discrepancies were to be submitted to a Mixed Commission and, if the deadlock persisted, a joint sitting of both Houses would convene as a single legislative body in order to resolve on the issue by an absolute majority.[6] Voting for the Cortes was on the basis of universal suffrage, which comprised all nationals over twenty-one and in full enjoyment of their civil and political rights.[7]

For the Congress of Deputies, 348 seats were elected using the D'Hondt method and a closed list proportional representation, with an electoral threshold of three percent of valid votes—which included blank ballots—being applied in each constituency. Additionally, the use of the D'Hondt method might result in an effective threshold over three percent, depending on the district magnitude.[8] Seats were allocated to constituencies, corresponding to the provinces of Spain. Each constituency was entitled to an initial minimum of two seats, with the remaining 248 fixed among the constituencies in proportion to their populations, at a rate of approximately one seat per each 144,500 inhabitants or fraction greater than 70,000. Ceuta and Melilla were allocated the two remaining seats, which were elected using plurality voting.[6][9]

For the Senate, 207 seats were elected using an open list partial block voting, with electors voting for individual candidates instead of parties. In constituencies electing four seats, electors could vote for up to three candidates; in those with two or three seats, for up to two candidates; and for one candidate in single-member districts. Each of the 47 peninsular provinces was allocated four seats, whereas for insular provinces, such as the Balearic and Canary Islands, districts were the islands themselves, with the larger—Majorca, Gran Canaria and Tenerife—being allocated three seats each, and the smaller—Menorca, IbizaFormentera, Fuerteventura, La GomeraEl Hierro, Lanzarote and La Palma—one each. Ceuta and Melilla elected two seats each. The law also provided for by-elections to fill seats vacated up to two years into the legislature. Additionally, the King could appoint senators in a number not higher than one-fifth of the elected seats.[6][9]

The electoral law provided that parties, federations, coalitions and groupings of electors were allowed to present lists of candidates. However, groupings of electors were required to secure the signature of at least 0.1 percent of the electors registered in the constituency for which they sought election—needing to secure, in any case, the signature of 500 electors—. Electors were barred from signing for more than one list of candidates. Concurrently, parties and federations intending to enter in coalition to take part jointly at an election were required to inform the relevant Electoral Commission within fifteen days of the election being called.[9]

Parties and leaders

Parties and coalitions Composition Ideology Candidate
Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD)
Centrism Adolfo Suárez
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)
Democratic socialism Felipe González
Communist Party of Spain (PCE)
Eurocommunism Santiago Carrillo
People's Alliance (AP)
Conservatism Manuel Fraga
People's Socialist PartySocialist Unity (PSP–US)
Democratic socialism Enrique Tierno Galván
Democratic Pact for Catalonia (PDC)
Catalan autonomism Jordi Pujol
Christian Democratic Team of the Spanish State (EDCEE)
Christian democracy Joaquín Ruiz-Giménez
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV) Basque autonomism Juan de Ajuriaguerra
Left of Catalonia–Democratic Electoral Front (EC–FED)
Left-wing nationalism Heribert Barrera
Democratic Socialist Alliance (ASDCI)
Democratic socialism José Prat
Democratic Left Front (FDI)
Communism Lorenzo Benassar
National Alliance July 18 (AN18)
Neo-Francoism Raimundo Fernández-Cuesta
Basque Country Left (EE)
Basque nationalism Francisco Letamendia
Centre Independent Aragonese Candidacy (CAIC) Aragonese regionalism Hipólito Gómez de las Roces

Opinion polls

The table below lists voting intention estimates in reverse chronological order, showing the most recent first and using the dates when the survey fieldwork was done, as opposed to the date of publication. Where the fieldwork dates are unknown, the date of publication is given instead. The highest percentage figure in each polling survey is displayed with its background shaded in the leading party's colour. If a tie ensues, this is applied to the figures with the highest percentages. The "Lead" column on the right shows the percentage-point difference between the parties with the highest percentages in a given poll. When available, seat projections are also displayed below the voting estimates in a smaller font. 176 seats were required for an absolute majority in the Congress of Deputies.


Congress of Deputies

Summary of 15 June 1977 Congress of Deputies election results
Parties and coalitions Popular vote Seats
Votes % ±pp Total +/−
Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD) 6,310,391 34.44 n/a 165 n/a
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 5,371,866 29.32 n/a 118 n/a
Communist Party of Spain (PCE) 1,709,890 9.33 n/a 20 n/a
People's Alliance (AP) 1,526,671 8.33 n/a 16 n/a
People's Alliance (AP)1 1,504,771 8.21 n/a 16 n/a
Navarrese Foral Alliance (AFN) 21,900 0.12 n/a 0 n/a
People's Socialist PartySocialist Unity (PSP–US) 816,582 4.46 n/a 6 n/a
Democratic Pact for Catalonia (PDC) 514,647 2.81 n/a 11 n/a
Christian Democratic Team of the Spanish State (EDCEE) 417,678 2.28 n/a 2 n/a
Federation of Christian Democracy (FPDID) 215,841 1.18 n/a 0 n/a
Union of the Centre and Christian Democracy of Catalonia (UCiDCC) 172,791 0.94 n/a 2 n/a
Basque Christian Democracy (DCV) 26,100 0.14 n/a 0 n/a
Democratic Union of the Balearic Islands (UDIB) 2,946 0.02 n/a 0 n/a
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV) 296,193 1.62 n/a 8 n/a
Left of Catalonia–Democratic Electoral Front (EC–FED) 143,954 0.79 n/a 1 n/a
Democratic Socialist Alliance (PSOEh–PSDE)2 126,944 0.69 n/a 0 n/a
Democratic Socialist Alliance (ASDCI) 101,916 0.56 n/a 0 n/a
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (historical) (PSOEh) 21,242 0.12 n/a 0 n/a
Spanish Democratic Socialist Party (PSDE) 3,786 0.02 n/a 0 n/a
Democratic Left Front (FDI) 122,608 0.67 n/a 0 n/a
National Alliance July 18 (AN18)3 97,894 0.53 n/a 0 n/a
National Alliance July 18 (AN18) 67,336 0.37 n/a 0 n/a
Spanish Phalanx of the CNSO (FE–JONS) 25,017 0.14 n/a 0 n/a
New Force (FN) 5,541 0.03 n/a 0 n/a
Basque Country LeftNavarrese Left Union (EE–UNAI) 85,906 0.47 n/a 1 n/a
Basque Country Left (EE) 61,417 0.34 n/a 1 n/a
Navarrese Left Union (UNAI) 24,489 0.13 n/a 0 n/a
Workers' Electoral Group (AET) 77,575 0.42 n/a 0 n/a
Spanish Social Reform (RSE) 64,241 0.35 n/a 0 n/a
Spanish Phalanx of the CNSO (Authentic) (FE–JONS(A)) 46,548 0.25 n/a 0 n/a
Front for Workers' Unity (FUT) 41,208 0.22 n/a 0 n/a
Centre Independent Aragonese Candidacy (CAIC) 37,183 0.20 n/a 1 n/a
Basque Socialist Party (ESB/PSV) 36,002 0.20 n/a 0 n/a
Communist Movement (MC)4 34,588 0.19 n/a 0 n/a
Popular Unity for Socialism Candidacy (CUPS) 12,040 0.07 n/a 0 n/a
Regionalist Unity (UR) 10,821 0.06 n/a 0 n/a
Popular Unity Candidates (CUP) 5,206 0.03 n/a 0 n/a
Aragonese Autonomist Front (FAA) 4,791 0.03 n/a 0 n/a
Regionalist Left Unitary Candidacy (CUIR) 1,504 0.01 n/a 0 n/a
Left Andalusian Bloc (BAI) 226 0.00 n/a 0 n/a
Socialist Party of the Valencian Country (PSPV) 31,138 0.17 n/a 0 n/a
Centre Independent Candidacy (CIC) 29,834 0.16 n/a 1 n/a
Galician Socialist Party (PSG) 27,197 0.15 n/a 0 n/a
Galician National-Popular Bloc (BNPG) 22,771 0.12 n/a 0 n/a
Andalusian Regional Unity (URA) 21,350 0.12 n/a 0 n/a
League of Catalonia–Catalan Liberal Party (LC–PLC) 20,109 0.11 n/a 0 n/a
National Association for the Study of Current Problems (ANEPA–CP) 18,113 0.10 n/a 0 n/a
Navarrese Autonomist Union (PNVANVESB) 18,079 0.10 n/a 0 n/a
United Canarian People (PCU) 17,717 0.10 n/a 0 n/a
Basque Independent Democrats (DIV) 15,505 0.08 n/a 0 n/a
Balearic Autonomist Union (UAB) 11,914 0.07 n/a 0 n/a
Centre-Left of Albacete (CIA) 11,879 0.06 n/a 0 n/a
Independent Navarrese Front (FNI) 10,606 0.06 n/a 0 n/a
Canarian People's Party (PPCan) 9,650 0.05 n/a 0 n/a
Social Christian Democracy of Catalonia (DSCC) 9,157 0.05 n/a 0 n/a
Socialist Movement (MS) 8,741 0.05 n/a 0 n/a
Montejurra–Federalism–Self-Management (MFA) 8,461 0.05 n/a 0 n/a
Agrarian Social Action (ASA) 8,439 0.05 n/a 0 n/a
José Antonio Circles (CJA) 8,184 0.04 n/a 0 n/a
Independent Candidacy (INDEP) 6,472 0.04 n/a 0 n/a
Basque Nationalist Action (EAE/ANV) 6,435 0.04 n/a 0 n/a
Congress Independent Candidacy for Girona (CICPG) 6,411 0.03 n/a 0 n/a
Independent (INDEP) 6,158 0.03 n/a 0 n/a
Aragonese Christian Democracy (DCAR) 6,014 0.03 n/a 0 n/a
Independent Riojan Candidacy (CIR) 5,682 0.03 n/a 0 n/a
Socialist Party of Canaries (PSCan) 5,110 0.03 n/a 0 n/a
Independent Party of Madrid (PIM) 4,814 0.03 n/a 0 n/a
Proverist Party (PPr) 4,590 0.03 n/a 0 n/a
Independent (INDEP) 4,530 0.02 n/a 0 n/a
United Canarian Left (ICU) 4,118 0.02 n/a 0 n/a
Galician Democratic Party (PDG) 3,196 0.02 n/a 0 n/a
Independent Candidacy (INDEP) 2,737 0.01 n/a 0 n/a
Labour Federation (FL) 2,631 0.01 n/a 0 n/a
Independent (INDEP) 2,622 0.01 n/a 0 n/a
Independent Riojan Group (GIR) 2,399 0.01 n/a 0 n/a
Independent (INDEP) 2,347 0.01 n/a 0 n/a
Valencia Socialist Radical Party (PRSV) 2,345 0.01 n/a 0 n/a
Carlist Electors of the Valencian Country (ECPV) 2,252 0.01 n/a 0 n/a
Independent Candidacy (INDEP) 1,684 0.01 n/a 0 n/a
City and Country Independent Electoral Group (AEICC) 1,623 0.01 n/a 0 n/a
Small Business Independent Candidates (CIPYE) 1,480 0.01 n/a 0 n/a
Ceuta Electors' Association (ADEC) 1,099 0.01 n/a 0 n/a
Carlist Electors' Group (ADC) 938 0.01 n/a 0 n/a
Independent Spanish Phalanx (FEI) 855 0.00 n/a 0 n/a
Spanish Agrarian Party (PAE) 833 0.00 n/a 0 n/a
Independent Liberal Party (PLI) 805 0.00 n/a 0 n/a
Independent (INDEP) 492 0.00 n/a 0 n/a
Left Andalusian Candidacy (CAI) 0 0.00 n/a 0 n/a
Blank ballots 46,248 0.25 n/a
Total 18,324,333 350 n/a
Valid votes 18,324,333 98.57 n/a
Invalid votes 265,797 1.43 n/a
Votes cast / turnout 18,590,130 78.83 n/a
Abstentions 4,993,632 21.17 n/a
Registered voters 23,583,762
Popular vote
Blank ballots


Summary of the 15 June 1977 Senate of Spain election results
Parties and coalitions Directly
Seats +/−
Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD) 106 n/a 7 113
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 49 n/a 0 49
Democratic Senate (SenDem) 13 n/a 0 13
Independent Progressives and Socialists (PSI) 6 n/a 0 6
Democratic Left (ID) 5 n/a 0 5
Communist Party of Spain (PCE) 1 n/a 0 1
Liberal Alliance (AL) 1 n/a 0 1
Agreement of the Catalans (Entesa) 12 n/a 1 13
Catalan Socialist Federation (FSC) 4 n/a 0 4
Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSUC) 4 n/a 0 4
Socialist Party of Catalonia–Congress (PSC–C) 3 n/a 0 3
Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) 1 n/a 0 1
Catalan State (EC) 0 n/a 1 1
Independent Grouping (AI) 0 n/a 13 13
Independent Group (GI) 0 n/a 10 10
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV) 6 n/a 1 7
People's Socialist PartySocialist Unity (PSP–US) 4 n/a 0 4
Independents of Soria (IDS) 4 n/a 0 4
People's Alliance (AP) 2 n/a 1 3
Democracy and Catalonia (DiC) 2 n/a 0 2
Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) 2 n/a 0 2
Democratic Left of Catalonia (EDC) 0 n/a 0 0
Democratic Union of Catalonia (UDC) 0 n/a 0 0
Socialist Party of Catalonia–Regrouping (PSC–R) 0 n/a 0 0
Aragonese Candidacy of Democratic Unity (CAUD) 2 n/a 0 2
Galician Democratic Candidacy (CDG) 2 n/a 0 2
Xirinacs Electoral Group (AE Xirinacs) 1 n/a 0 1
Socialist Unification of the Basque Country (ESEI) 1 n/a 0 1
Centre Independent Aragonese Candidacy (CAIC) 1 n/a 0 1
Basque Country Left (EE) 1 n/a 0 1
Majorera Assembly (AM) 1 n/a 0 1
Independents (INDEP) 0 n/a 8 8
Total 207 n/a 41 248
AE Xirinacs


  • Carreras de Odriozola, Albert; Tafunell Sambola, Xavier (2005) [1989]. Estadísticas históricas de España, siglos XIX-XX (PDF) (in Spanish). Volume 1 (II ed.). Bilbao: Fundación BBVA. pp. 1072–1097. ISBN 84-96515-00-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. |volume= has extra text
  • Juliá Díaz, Santos (1999). Un siglo de España. Política y sociedad (in Spanish). Madrid: Marcial Pons. ISBN 84-9537903-1.
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Opinion poll sources
  1. ^ "La Unión de Centro Democrático y el PSOE, a gran distancia de los demás grupos políticos" (PDF). Informaciones (in Spanish). 15 June 1977.
  2. ^ "El PSOE, en cabeza" (PDF). Pueblo (in Spanish). 14 June 1977.
  3. ^ "La tercera parte de los españoles, indecisos" (PDF). Informaciones (in Spanish). 14 June 1977.
  4. ^ a b "Aprendiendo a votar". Diario 16 (in Spanish). 15 June 1977. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  5. ^ "Fuerte avance de la izquierda". El País (in Spanish). 12 June 1977.
  6. ^ "Centristas y socialistas, al copo en el Congreso" (PDF). El País (in Spanish). 12 June 1977.
  7. ^ "La participación electoral será masiva" (PDF). El País (in Spanish). 12 June 1977.
  8. ^ "Según una nueva encuesta, 147 escaños serían para el centro" (PDF). Ya (in Spanish). 12 June 1977.
  9. ^ "Gana el Centro, seguido del PSOE" (PDF). El País (in Spanish). 13 June 1977.
  10. ^ "El Centro es favorito". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 10 June 1977.
  11. ^ "El Centro es favorito". Diario 16 (in Spanish). 9 June 1977. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  12. ^ "Confirmada la ventaja de UCD y PSOE". El País (in Spanish). 24 May 1977.
  13. ^ "Ventaja del centro y los socialistas en la carrera electoral". El País (in Spanish). 10 May 1977.
  1. ^ "15-J. Elecciones en libertad y sin ira". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 15 June 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  2. ^ Julve, Rafa (15 June 2017). "Curiosidades de las primeras elecciones tras la dictadura franquista en el 40º aniversario". El Periódico de Catalunya (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  3. ^ Landaluce, Emilia; Manso, Joaquín (20 November 2016). "Así se gestó la ley que puso fin al franquismo hace 40 años". El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  4. ^ López Burniol, Juan-José (11 February 2017). "De la ley a la ley". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  5. ^ Fernández-Miranda, Juan (9 June 2017). "Fernández-Miranda: de la ley a la ley". ABC (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "Political Reform Law of 1977". LawNo. 1of4 January 1977. Official State Gazette (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  7. ^ Carreras de Odriozola & Tafunell Sambola 2005, pp. 1077.
  8. ^ Gallagher, Michael (30 July 2012). "Effective threshold in electoral systems". Trinity College, Dublin. Archived from the original on 30 July 2017. Retrieved 22 July 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ a b c "Electoral Rules Decree of 1977". Royal Decree-LawNo. 20of18 March 1977. Official State Gazette (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Electoral Results Consultation. Congress. June 1977. National totals". Ministry of the Interior (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  11. ^ a b "General election 15 June 1977". historiaelectoral.com (in Spanish). Electoral History. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  12. ^ "Electoral Results Consultation. Senate. June 1977. National totals". Ministry of the Interior (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Senate Election 1977". historiaelectoral.com (in Spanish). Electoral History. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Senate Composition 1977-2017". historiaelectoral.com (in Spanish). Electoral History. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Senate election 15 June 1977". historiaelectoral.com (in Spanish). Electoral History. Retrieved 24 September 2017.

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