Municipal Presidentialism and Democratic Consolidation in Spain
Both from the legislative point of view, and from that of political practice, the history of the Spanish local political system is one of the gradual consolidation of municipal presidentialism. If we interpret presidentialism as a system in which the essential part of executive authority is concentrated in the position of mayor (Delcamp, 1994), then this trend began with the Local Government Act that was passed in 1985 (Law 7/1985), further confirmed by a block of legislation in April 1999. Political practice has shaped this tendency: the long stay in office of mayors, their partial or exclusive dedication to political and administrative management and such political factors as the dominance of local party structure or the notable autonomy of local sections from the central bodies of political parties, have all resulted in giving the position of mayor a presidential profile. However, the recently passed Law of Measures for the Modernisation of Local Government (Law 57/2003) breaks with this presidential trend and opts, in the case of large cities, for a strong executive body taking on most of the management functions at the expense of the mayor.
KeywordsLocal Government Political Party Local Councillor Political Practice General Delegation
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