Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Balearic Islands (Spanish Congress electoral district)

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Autonomous community  Balearic Islands
Electorate  772,939 (2016)
Region  Balearic Islands
Population  1,104,479 (2016)
Founded  1977
Balearic Islands (Spanish Congress electoral district)
Province  Province of Balearic Islands
Seats  6 (1977–1989) 7 (1993–2000) 8 (2004–)
Created  Spanish general election, 1977
Major settlements  Palma, Majorca, Calvià, Ibiza

Balearic Islands (Catalan: Illes Balears [ˈiʎəz βəɫəˈas]) is one of the 52 electoral districts (Spanish: circunscripciones) used for the Congress of Deputies—the lower chamber of the Spanish Parliament, the Cortes Generales. The electoral system uses the D'Hondt method and a closed-list proportional representation, with a minimum threshold of 3%. Until the 2000 election, the district name was Balearics (Spanish: Baleares).

Contents

Palma is by far the largest municipality with a population of 400,000—over 40% of the district's population. Aside from Calviá and Ibiza, there are no other municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants.

PSOE has always obtained representation in this electoral district, shared with UCD in 1977 and 1979 elections, and with the conservative party coalitions AP or PP from the 1982 election.

In the 2015 and 2016 elections, more than two parties obtained representation for the first time since the Spanish transition. Podemos and C's obtained two seats and one seat respectively in both elections.

Boundaries and electoral system

Under Article 68 of the Spanish constitution the boundaries must be the same as the Balearic Islands province and under Article 140 this can only be altered with the approval of congress. Voting is on the basis of universal suffrage in a secret ballot. The electoral system used is closed list proportional representation with seats allocated using the D'Hondt method. Only lists which poll 3% or more of all valid votes cast, including votes "en blanco" i.e. for "none of the above" can be considered for seats. Under article 12 of the constitution, the minimum voting age is 18.

The laws regulating the conduct and administration of elections are laid out in detail in the 1985 electoral law. (Ley Orgánica del Régimen Electoral General.) Under this law, the elections in the Balearics, as in other districts, are supervised by the Electoral Commission (Junta Electoral), a permanent body composed of eight Supreme Court judges and five political scientists or sociologists appointed by the Congress of Deputies. The Electoral commission is supported in its work by the Interior Ministry. On election day, polling stations are run by electoral boards which consist of groups of citizens selected by lottery.

The format of the ballot paper is designed by the Spanish state, however, the law allows political parties to produce and distribute their own ballot papers, either by mailing them to voters or by other means such as street distribution, provided that they comply with the official model. The government then covers the cost of all printed ballot papers. These must then be marked by voters, either in the polling station or outside the polling station and placed inside sealed envelopes which are then placed inside ballot boxes in the polling station. Following the close of polls, the ballots are then counted in each individual polling station in the presence of representatives of the political parties and candidates. The ballots are then immediately destroyed, with the exception of those considered invalid or challenged by the candidates' representatives, which are retained for further scrutiny. The result is that full recounts are impossible.

Eligibility

Article 67.3 of the Spanish Constitution prohibits dual membership of both chambers of the Cortes or of the Cortes and regional assemblies, meaning that candidates must resign from regional assemblies if elected. Article 70 also makes active judges, magistrates, public defenders, serving military personnel, active police officers and members of constitutional and electoral tribunals ineligible. Additionally, under Article 11 of the Political Parties Law, June 2002 (Ley Orgánica 6/2002, de 27 de junio, de Partidos Políticos), parties and individual candidates may be prevented from standing by the Spanish Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo), if they are judged to have violated Article 9 of that law which prohibits parties which are perceived to discriminate against people on the basis of ideology, religion, beliefs, nationality, race, gender or sexual orientation (Article 9a), foment or organise violence as a means of achieving political objectives (Article 9b) or support or compliment the actions of "terrorist organisations" (Article 9c). Article 55, Section 2 of the 1985 electoral law also disqualifies director generals or equivalent leaders of state monopolies and public bodies such as the Spanish state broadcaster RTVE. Lastly, following changes to the electoral law which took effect for the 2007 municipal elections, candidates' lists must be composed of at least 40% of candidates of either gender and each group of five candidates must contain at least two males and two females.

Number of members

From the 1977 General Election onwards Islas Baleares returned six members. This was increased to seven members for the 1993 General Election and then to eight members for the 2004 election.

Under Spanish electoral law, all provinces are entitled to a minimum of 2 seats with a remaining 248 seats apportioned according to population. These laws are laid out in detail in the 1985 electoral law. (Ley Orgánica del Régimen Electoral General) The practical effect of this has been to overrepresent smaller provinces at the expense of larger provinces. Islas Baleares had a ratio of 85,979 voters per deputy in 2004 a figure below the Spanish average of 98,777 voters per deputy.

References

Balearic Islands (Spanish Congress electoral district) Wikipedia


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