2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit of Spain

Spain received an overall electoral fairness score of 42.25 percent. The score means that the constitutional and legislative basis of Spain’s electoral system within its monarchy is unacceptable and more unfair than fair. A score of 50 percent is the minimum passing score. Spain has many elements of electoral fairness such as proportional representation, free public airtime for registered parties, parliamentary seats for self-governing, autonomous regions, and disability assisted votes, mail and diaspora votes. However, these fairness elements are more than offset by a consistent legislative bias to political parties successful in the previous election,lack of transparency of electoral finances, and partisan private media outside of the election period. The election period is only two weeks in duration. So there are potentially 1447 days in which the Spanish voting public can be influenced and/or manipulated by the major media(which has no ownership concentration regulations). The bias to parties successful in the previous election applies to media access, public electoral subsidies, and the proportional determination with the 3 percent of national votes as the barrier of entry. Just because a party was successful in the previous election, it does not follow that it should have an advantage over new and small parties not successful previously, in the current election. The Spanish system, despite claiming to be a multi-party system, encourages significantly the status quo and a two party system, at the expense of electoral discourse and ultimately electoral choice.It is unclear why the Spanish large, established parties cannot compete on equal playing field with other Spanish parties, rather than relying on a significant unfair legislative advantage.Similar to Canada, the problem with the Spanish system is that the majority of the Spanish parliamentarians legislate the election and media laws to their advantage. This conflict of interest results in a democratic dictatorship of two parties within the monarchy, as suggested by the fact that in the eight elections since the fall of Franco, only the same two parties have attained elected political power in Spain.