The Spanish Constitution of 1978


by Christopher Collins

Terrible anxiety is gripping Spain these days.  The whole country is unsettled.

The central government has announced, after the extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers in the morning of 21 October 2017, that it will get the Senate to activate Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution and unleash it on Catalonia. Some say the measure is too drastic and overly disproportionate. Vengeful, too.   Others believe Catalonia had it coming.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announces to the press that Article 155 will be activated against Catalonia/Pool Moncloa-Juan Carlos Hidalgo

A leading jurisprudence expert says that Art. 155 is so extreme it has never been intended for actual implementation. It was written into the Constitution, he says, as a kind of deterrence to would-be offenders so that they may not go ahead and bring on themselves the full constitutional wrath of the Spanish state.


The Spanish Constitution


The Spanish Nation, wishing to establish justice, liberty and security, and to promote the welfare of all who make part of it, in use of her sovereignty, proclaims its will to:

Guarantee democratic life within the Constitution and the laws according to a just economic and social order.

Consolidate a State ensuring the rule of law as an expression of the will of the people.

Protect all Spaniards and all the peoples of Spain in the exercise of human rights, their cultures and traditions, languages and institutions.

Promote the progress of culture and the economy to ensure a dignified quality of life for all

Establish an advanced democratic society, and

Collaborate in the strengthening of peaceful and efficient cooperation among all the peoples of the Earth.

Consequently, the Cortes approve and the Spanish people ratify the . . . Constitution.


  1. If a Self-governing Community [e.g., Catalonia] does not fulfil the obligations imposed upon it by the Constitution or other laws, or acts in a way that is seriously prejudicial to the general interest of Spain, the Government, after having lodged a complaint with the President of [that] Self-governing Community and failed to receive satisfactory response, may, following approval granted by the overall majority of the Senate, take all measures necessary to compel the Community to meet said obligations, or to protect the abovementioned general interest.
  2. With a view to implementing the measures provided for in the foregoing paragraph, the Government may issue instructions to all the authorities of the Self-governing Communities.


Featured image/Cortes Constituyentes, PD