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Popular destinations SPAIN

AndalusiaCataloniaCosta blanca
Costa bravaCosta del solEl hierro
FormenteraFuerteventuraGran canaria
IbizaLa gomeraLa palma


State structure

The head of state of Spain, the "Rey de España", is the King of Spain. The King is inviolable and the responsibilities lie with the Prime Minister and his cabinet. Nevertheless, the king can exert great influence through his powers. He ratifies and promulgates laws; he convenes and dissolves the Houses of Parliament and calls elections and referendums. Furthermore, he is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and appoints and dismisses ministers.

The government consists of the prime minister or Presidente del Gobierno, possibly vice-presidents and ministers. The Prime Minister is much more powerful than for instance in the Netherlands, and can be compared to the British Prime Minister and the German Chancellor.

The representation of the people consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives or Congreso de los Diputados with 350 members and the Senate or Senado with 254 members. Each province may send two members to the Congreso, except Ceuta and Melilla. The other members are elected per province and the population size is then decisive for the number of members delegated. For the Senado, the 47 mainland provinces elect four senators each. Majorca may elect three. The Senate represents the population of the provinces as a whole, regardless of their size. This system is in the process of being abolished.

For the current political situation in Spain, see the history section.

Ibiza, together with Formentera, forms an autonomous region, one of the Comunidades Autónomas, with its own government and parliament (Spanish: Consells). Each Autónomia has a varying set of powers laid down in an Estatuto de Autonomía. Each autonomy has a regional parliament (Asamblea Legislativa), a regional government (Consejo de Gobierno), a regional president (Presidente del Consejo) and a regional supreme court (Tribunal Superior de Justicia). The regional parliament consists of one chamber from which the regional prime minister is elected.

Spain is divided into 50 provinces, the most important of which is the Diputacíon Provincial, the Provincial Council. It has between 25 and 51 members or diputados. These are elected by local councillors. The diputados in turn elect an executive, the Comisíon de Gobierno.

In 1998 there were 8097 municipalities or municipios in Spain. In municipalities with between 250 and 100,000 inhabitants, the council or Ayuntamiento has between 5 and 25 members. An Ayuntamiento consists of a Mayor or Alcalde, one or more Deputy Mayors or Tenientes de Alcalde and Councillors or Consejales.

There are still many municipalities with less than 100 inhabitants. Of all the municipalities, 86% have fewer than 500 inhabitants.

Sant Francesc (Xavier) is the administrative centre of Formentera and has about 1500 inhabitants.


The education system in Spain has been undergoing major changes since 1990. Primary education already works with the new system. Nursery education (Jardin de Infancia and Escuela de Párvulos) consists of a three-year and a six-year system that is not compulsory.

Primary education from 6 to 12 years ( Educación Primaria) is compulsory and free. This phase of education consists of three cycles of two years each. This is followed by compulsory secondary education (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria) from age 12 to 16. After this, compulsory education ends. The ESO has two cycles of two years after which one receives a certificate with which one can go to vocational schools, among other things.

After the compulsory education, one can continue studying for the Bachillerato that gives access to university.

Secondary vocational education (Formación Profesional Grado Medio) is not much appreciated in Spain. It lasts about two years on average and trains directly for professions.

Higher vocational education (Formación Profesional Grado Superior) and university (Universidad) are the final stages of the education system. Spain currently has 62 state universities and around 20 private universities. The University of Salamanca dates back to 1218, making it one of the oldest universities in the world.

The Balearic Islands also have a university, the Universitat de les Illes Balears, with an annex in Ibiza. The Morna International College is special, as its study programme is based on English education and lessons are therefore given in English. Children learn Spanish from the age of three and German from the age of five. Most teachers and educators have studied in England.


Mallorca & Ibiza, Menorca & Formentera
APA Publications

Mischke, R. / Ibiza, Formentera
Het Spectrum

Rokebrand, R. / Reishandboek Ibiza en Formentera

Sale, R. / Ibiza & Formentera
Kosmos-Z&K, 2000

Schmid, N. / Ibiza, Formentera

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated June 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info