Government of Spain
Spanish: Gobierno de España
Co-official languages
Basque: Espainiako Gobernua
Catalan: Govern d'Espanya
Galician: Goberno de España
Aranese: Govèrn d'Espanha
Logo of the Government of Spain
RoleExecutive power
Established15 January 1834; 190 years ago (1834-01-15)
CountryKingdom of Spain
Appointed byMonarch
Main organCouncil of Ministers
Responsible toCortes Generales
Constitution instrumentGovernment Act of 1997
MembersSánchez Government
Prime MinisterPedro Sánchez
Deputy Prime MinisterMaría Jesús Montero
Number of members22
Staff organizationMinistries
LocationMadrid, Spain
SeatMoncloa Palace
(since 1977)
WebsiteOfficial website

The government of Spain (Spanish: Gobierno de España) is the central government which leads the executive branch and the General State Administration of the Kingdom of Spain.

The Government consists of the Prime Minister and the Ministers; the prime minister has the overall direction of the Ministers and can appoint or terminate their appointments freely and all of them belong to the supreme decision-making body, known as the Council of Ministers. The Government is responsible before the Parliament (Cortes Generales), and more precisely before the Congress of the Deputies, a body which elects the Prime Minister or dismisses them through a motion of censure. This is because Spain is a parliamentary system established by the Constitution of 1978.

Its fundamental regulation is placed in Title IV of the Constitution, as well as in Title V of that document, with respect to its relationship with the Cortes Generales, and in Law 50/1997, of 27 November, of the Government. According to Article 97 of the Constitution and Article 1.1 of the Government Act, "the Government directs domestic and foreign policy, the civil and military administration and the defense of the State. It exercises the executive function and the regulatory regulation according to the Constitution and the laws".

The current prime minister is Pedro Sánchez, who took office on 2 June 2018.[1] He is the leader of the Socialist Workers' Party, and he leads his third cabinet since late 2023.[2]

The Government is occasionally referred to by the metonymy Moncloa, due to the fact that the residence of the Prime Minister, the Palace of Moncloa, is also the headquarters of the Government.


The Government's performance is governed by the following operating principles:[3]

Government in Parliament

Control sessions in the
Cortes Generales
PM Sánchez before Senate
PM Sánchez before Congress
Congress of Deputies

The Kingdom of Spain is a constitutional monarchy in which executive decisions are made by the Government. More specifically, the Spanish Constitution describes Spain's form of government as "Monarquía parlamentaria",[4] or parliamentary monarchy, in which the monarch acts as a moderator rather than a source of executory authority. Spain possesses an asymmetric bicameral parliament, called the "Cortes Generales", composed of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate. While both the Congress and Senate propose legislation, albeit by different procedural mechanisms, the Government has the right to be consulted for such proposals. The Government may also propose law directly. A Government-sponsored bill is known as a proyecto de ley, contrasting with a proposición de ley which is offered by a house of parliament.

Neither the prime minister nor the ministers need to be members of parliament,[5] but the Government must account to both the Senate and Congress every week in a parliamentary meeting known as a sesión de control (control session) (Part V § 108). Questioning minor-rank ministers, such as Secretaries of State or Under Secretaries, must be done in Parliamentary Committees.[6][7] While the prime minister is typically elected from the members of Congress, the current prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, was not a member of either chamber for the first year of his premiership.[8]

Under the parliamentary system, the Government is required to maintain the confidence of the Congress of Deputies. In the absence of such confidence, the Government may fall or prove unable to pass legislation. There are two procedures to ascertain the Congress's confidence in the Government: the motion of no-confidence (Part V § 113), by which members of parliament can ask the Congress to rescind its confidence in the prime minister and to elect another, and the question of confidence (Part V § 112), by which the prime minister asks the Congress if it supports the Government's political programs generally or a specific piece of legislation. A loss by the Government in either case may result in the removal of the prime minister.

The Government and the Crown

Royal prerogative of assent and enact laws
King Juan Carlos I assenting to and enacting a law...
... and PM Rajoy countersigning the law.

The Spanish monarch, currently King Felipe VI, is the head of state and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. As a monarch of a parliamentary monarchy, the executive power does not belong to The Crown and is independent from it. The Constitution gives the monarch a symbolic role, but also a moderating role, being able to intervene if there is a conflict between the country's institutions (Part II § 56).

As commander-in-chief of the armed forces, former King Juan Carlos I suppressed the 23-F Spanish coup d'état attempt in February 1981, showing that the monarch has more power than the constitution grants him. The heir presumptive is Leonor, Princess of Asturias.

The Constitution also gives the monarch some powers known as Royal Prerogatives. These prerogatives range from the signing of international treaties, to declaring war and making peace or to dissolving the parliament. However, with the arrival of democracy, these prerogatives have been regulated and most of them must be countersigned by an official.

Although the monarch is not part of the executive power, the prime minister has weekly meetings with him to inform him about the Government's activity and the King can express his opinion.[9] In the same sense, the monarch is normally invited to the first Council of Ministers of every new government (and others if the prime ministers wants to) and to the meetings of bodies such as the National Security Council or the National Defence Council.

The Royal prerogatives are:

Domestic powers

Foreign powers


To see the current members, see Council of Ministers.

The Council of Ministers in 2023.

According to Article 98 of the Spanish Constitution and Article 1.2 of the Government Law, the Government of Spain is composed of:


In accordance with article 11 of the Law of the Government, "to be a member of the Government it is required to be Spanish, adult, to enjoy the rights of active and passive suffrage, as well as not to be disabled to exercise employment or public office by sentence Judicial firm."[5]

Criminal privileges

The members of the Government enjoy their own criminal procedure so that they will only be tried by the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court.[11]

The initiation of a case for treason or against the security of the State can only respond to the initiative of a quarter of the Congress of Deputies, approved by an absolute majority thereof,[12] and can not be granted a pardon in such cases.[13]

Caretaker government

The Caretaker Government is regulated in Section 101 of the Spanish Constitution which says that "the Government shall resign after the holding of general elections, in the event of loss of parliamentary confidence as provided in the Constitution, or on the resignation or death of the President. The outgoing Government shall continue as acting body until the new Government takes office".[14]

Between the approval of the Constitution in 1978 and the approval of the Government Act of 1997, there were no explicit limitations to the Government powers while acting as acting government except for what the doctrine and parliamentary practice said. With this constitutional precept it was intended that the succession of one Government by another does not affect the fundamental continuity of the governmental action or that paralysis or dysfunctions occur in the system as a whole.[15] This need of not leaving a modern state without its central governing body is explained very well in a Supreme Court sentence saying that "It is easy to understand that Spain can not run out of government even for a few hours".[16]

In 1997 the Government Act was passed; the Caretaker Government is regulated in Title 4. In addition to the aforementioned constitutional provisions, Section 21 of the Government Act establishes that "the caretaker government shall facilitate the normal development of the process of formation of the new Government and the transfer of powers to it and limit its duties to the ordinary office of public affairs, abstaining from adopting, except in cases of urgency duly accredited or for reasons of general interest whose accreditation expressly justifies it, any other measures".[17]

This article also establishes explicit limitations on the Prime Minister, preventing him from "proposing to the King the dissolution of any of the Chambers or the Cortes Generales, raising the question of confidence, or proposing to the King the calling for a consultative referendum" and on the Government prohibiting it from "the approval of the State General Budget Bill or presenting bills to the Cortes Generales". The government neither may exercise the legislative delegations that the parliament has granted to it while acting as a caretaker government.[17]

On the occasion of the 2015–2016 caretaker government of Mariano Rajoy, the Government refused repeatedly to submit to the control of the Congress of Deputies alleging that there was no trust relationship between both powers for the fact of being a caretaker government and, therefore, there was no control of the legislative power over the executive. Faced with this situation, the Congress denounced the Executive Power before the Constitutional Court for refusing to submit to its control and, on 22 November 2018, the high court ruled that the Government "undermined the constitutional attribution" that the Constitution confers on Congress and that although "control of the Government's action will normally be exercised within the framework of the confidence that must exist between the Government and the Congress of Deputies", this does not mean that "exceptionally, as are the periods in which there is no relationship of trust between Congress and the Government, the aforementioned control function can not be exercised" since "the control function that corresponds to the Cortes Generales is implicit in its representative character and in the form of parliamentary government that establishes Article 1.3 of the Constitution, not being able to deny the Chambers all exercise of the control function, since this would affect to the balance of powers foreseen in our Constitution".[18][19]

The longest caretaker government of the Spanish politics since the restoration of democracy in 1977 has been the 2015–2016 Rajoy government with a record of 316 days.[20]


The Palace of Moncloa or Moncloa Palace is the official residence and workplace of the Prime Minister of Spain.

The Office of the Prime Minister as well as the official headquarters of the Government are located in the Palace of Moncloa, outside Madrid. The Council of Ministers meetings also take place here. In this palace is also the office of the deputy prime minister, the headquarters of the Ministry of the Presidency and the office of the Government's Spokesperson. Most of the government departments are located in the centre of the city of Madrid, each having its own buildings. One of the most famous places where ministries are located is the gubernatorial complex of New Ministries.

Advisory bodies

The Spanish Government has two main advisory bodies:


Main article: General State Budget

The General State Budget is considered one of the most important legislations that a Government can pass. According to the Constitution, the Government is the only body that can make the Budget bill, although it is the parliament who must accept it, reject it or propose modifications. If the Congress approves a full budget amend, the budget is automatically rejected.

Devolved governments

See also: Autonomous communities of Spain and Nationalities and regions of Spain

Since the approval of the Constitution of 1978, Spain was established as a decentralized unitary country which grants its regions a high degree of autonomy. The first two regions to be granted autonomy were the Basque Country and Catalonia in 1979. In 1981, four further regions achieved their autonomy: Andalusia, Asturias, Cantabria and Galicia. A year later, seven more regions were granted autonomy: Aragon, the Canary Islands, Castile-La Mancha, Navarre, Murcia and La Rioja. The last four regions to get their autonomy were the Balearic Islands, Castile and León, Extremadura and Madrid, all of them in 1983.

The Constitution also grants the cities of Ceuta and Melilla autonomy, which they got in 1995. The Constitution also gives them the possibility to become fully autonomous communities, but so far these cities have not requested the activation of this clause.


Parts of this article (those related to Commissioners) need to be updated. The reason given is: Some no longer exist and there are new ones.. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (January 2024)

Although it is not a very common position within the Administration, it has existed the position of Commissioner or High Commissioner, a senior official normally holding the position of Secretary of State or Under Secretary, being entrusted with a specific task.

Currently, there are two high commissioners, three special commissioners and two commissioners, all of them with the rank of Under-Secretary:

Former commissioners

See also


  1. ^ "Socialist Sánchez sworn in as Spain's PM". BBC News. 2 June 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Sánchez picks a Cabinet of dealmakers to navigate tensions in Spain". POLITICO. 20 November 2023. Retrieved 30 January 2024.
  3. ^ "Government Act of 1997 - Preamble". Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Article 1, Part 3" (PDF). Constitución Española (in Spanish). 1978. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Government Act of 1997 - Article 11". (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Standing Orders of the Congress - Article 189" (PDF). Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Standing Orders of the Senate - Article 168". (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Socialist Sánchez sworn in as Spain's PM". BBC News. 2 June 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  9. ^ La Moncloa (16 July 2018), El Rey y el presidente mantienen su despacho semanal, archived from the original on 12 December 2021, retrieved 15 November 2018
  10. ^ "Referendum Act of 1980". (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  11. ^ Article 102.1 of the Spanish Constitution
  12. ^ Article 102.2 of the Spanish Constitution
  13. ^ Article 102.3 of the Spanish Constitution
  14. ^ Spain, the Government of. "Part Iv". Spanish Constitution - Part IV.
  15. ^ Reviriego Picón, Fernando (2017). The Outgoing Government in the Supreme Court's Doctrine. Revista Española de Derecho Constitucional. p. 382. doi:10.18042/cepc/redc.109.13.
  16. ^ Supreme Court. Supreme Court Sentence 8303 of December 2nd, 2005. p. 4.
  17. ^ a b "1997 Government Act - Section 21". Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  18. ^ "El Constitucional concluye que el Gobierno en funciones de Rajoy tenía que haberse sometido al control parlamentario". (in Spanish). 22 November 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  19. ^ "El Pleno del TC respalda que el Gobierno en funciones del PP podía ser controlado por el Parlamento". Europa Press. 22 November 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Mariano Rajoy, presidente del Gobierno tras 10 meses en funciones". El País (in Spanish). 30 October 2016. ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  21. ^ a b "Royal Decree 419/2018, of June 18, by which the Prime Minister's Office is restructured". Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  22. ^ "Royal Decree 136/2020, of January 27, which restructures the Office of the Prime Minister". pp. 8160–8170. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  23. ^ Ministerio de Hacienda y Función Pública (2 March 2022), Real Decreto 156/2022, de 1 de marzo, por el que se modifican el Real Decreto 139/2020, de 28 de enero, por el que se establece la estructura orgánica básica de los departamentos ministeriales, y el Real Decreto 403/2020, de 25 de febrero, por el que se desarrolla la estructura orgánica básica del Ministerio de Asuntos Económicos y Transformación Digital, pp. 24334–24338, retrieved 3 March 2022
  24. ^ "Real Decreto 308/2022, de 3 de mayo, por el que se modifican el Real Decreto 139/2020, de 28 de enero, por el que se establece la estructura orgánica básica de los departamentos ministeriales, y el Real Decreto 645/2020, de 7 de julio, por el que se desarrolla la estructura orgánica básica del Ministerio de Transportes, Movilidad y Agenda Urbana". pp. 61263–61273. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  25. ^ "Real Decreto 426/2022, de 7 de junio, por el que se modifican el Real Decreto 139/2020, de 28 de enero, por el que se establece la estructura orgánica básica de los departamentos ministeriales, y el Real Decreto 373/2020, de 18 de febrero, por el que se desarrolla la estructura orgánica básica del Ministerio de la Presidencia, Relaciones con las Cortes y Memoria Democrática". pp. 77920–77924. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  26. ^ "Real Decreto 447/2022, de 14 de junio, por el que se modifican el Real Decreto 139/2020, de 28 de enero, por el que se establece la estructura orgánica básica de los departamentos ministeriales, y el Real Decreto 404/2020, de 25 de febrero, por el que se desarrolla la estructura orgánica básica del Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación". pp. 81893–81896. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  27. ^ Ministerio de Hacienda y Función Pública (6 July 2022), Real Decreto 527/2022, de 5 de julio, por el que se modifican el Real Decreto 139/2020, de 28 de enero, por el que se establece la estructura orgánica básica de los departamentos ministeriales, y el Real Decreto 500/2020, de 28 de abril, por el que se desarrolla la estructura orgánica básica del Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica y el Reto Demográfico, y se modifica el Real Decreto 139/2020, de 28 de enero, por el que se establece la estructura orgánica básica de los departamentos ministeriales, pp. 94851–94856, retrieved 12 July 2022
  28. ^ "Royal Decree 1/2003, of January 3, by which the Commissioner is created for actions derived from the catastrophe of the ship "Prestige"". pp. 457–458. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  29. ^ "Royal Decree 101/2003, of January 24, which creates the Commissioners of the Ministries of Development and Environment and the Coordinator of the Ministry of Defense for the actions of the respective Departments derived from the catastrophe of the ship "Prestige"". p. 3440. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  30. ^ "Royal Decree 462/2003, of April 25, by which the Government Commissioner is created for the participation of Spain in the reconstruction of Iraq". pp. 16238–16239. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  31. ^ "Royal Decree 2317/2004, of December 17, by which the High Commissioner for the Support of the Victims of Terrorism is created". pp. 41452–41453. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  32. ^ "Royal Decree 1227/2005, of October 13, by which the Government Commissioner is created for the celebration of the XXXII America's Cup". pp. 33546–33548. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  33. ^ "Royal Decree 1367/2011, of October 7, by which the Government Commissioner is created for the actions derived from the Lorca earthquake". pp. 106039–106040. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  34. ^ "Royal Decree 40/2017, of January 27, which creates the Government Commissioner against the Demographic Challenge and regulates its operating regime". Retrieved 23 January 2019.