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1923 Spanish general election

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1923 Spanish general election

← 1920 29 April 1923 (Congress)
13 May 1923 (Senate)
1931 →

All 409 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 180 (of 360) seats in the Senate
205 seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies
Registered4,782,347 (total)
3,128,928 (non-Article 29)
Turnout2,056,974 (65.7%)
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Manuel García Prieto José Sánchez Guerra Francesc Cambó
Party Liberal Unity Conservative LRC
Leader since 1913 1921 1917
Leader's seat Senator for life Cabra Barcelona
Seats won 223 C / 105 S 124 C / 46 S 22 C / 6 S
Popular vote 979,435 591,026 110,007
Percentage 47.6% 28.7% 5.3%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Leader Alejandro Lerroux Pablo Iglesias José Selva Mergelina
Party Radical Republican PSOE Carlist
Leader since 1908 2 May 1879 1921
Leader's seat Barcelona Madrid
Seats won 15 C / 3 S 7 C / 0 S 5 C / 3 S
Popular vote 129,225 38,151 19,071
Percentage 6.3% 1.9% 0.9%

Prime Minister before election

Manuel García Prieto
PLD (Liberal Unity)

Prime Minister after election

Manuel García Prieto
PLD (Liberal Unity)

The 1923 Spanish general election was held on Sunday, 29 April (for the Congress of Deputies) and on Sunday, 13 May 1923 (for the Senate), to elect the 19th Cortes of the Kingdom of Spain in the Restoration period. All 409 seats in the Congress of Deputies were up for election, as well as 180 of 360 seats in the Senate.

This would be the last election under the turno system, as the Cortes would be dissolved and the Constitution suspended as a result of a military coup in September 1923 staged by Captain General Miguel Primo de Rivera. Primo de Rivera would establish a dictatorship which would last until 1930. In 1931, the Second Spanish Republic would be proclaimed.


Electoral system[edit]

The Spanish Cortes were envisaged as "co-legislative bodies", based on a nearly perfect bicameral system. Both the Congress of Deputies and the Senate had legislative, control and budgetary functions, sharing equal powers except for laws on contributions or public credit, where the Congress had preeminence.[1][2] Voting for the Cortes was on the basis of compulsory, universal manhood suffrage, which comprised all national males over 25 years of age, having at least a two-year residency in a municipality and in full enjoyment of their civil rights. Those older than 70, the clergy, first instance judges and public notaries were exempt from this obligation.[3][4]

For the Congress of Deputies, 98 seats were elected using a partial block voting system in 28 multi-member constituencies, with the remaining 311 being elected under a one-round first-past-the-post system in single-member districts. Candidates winning a plurality in each constituency were elected. In constituencies electing ten seats or more, electors could vote for no more than four candidates less than the number of seats to be allocated; in those with more than eight seats and up to ten, for no more than three less; in those with more than four seats and up to eight, for no more than two less; in those with more than one seat and up to four, for no more than one less; and for one candidate in single-member districts. Additionally, in those districts where the number of candidates was equal or less than the number of seats up for election, candidates were to be automatically elected. The Congress was entitled to one member per each 50,000 inhabitants, with each multi-member constituency being allocated a fixed number of seats. The law also provided for by-elections to fill seats vacated throughout the legislature.[1][5][6][7]

As a result of the aforementioned allocation, each Congress multi-member constituency was entitled the following seats:[6][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

Seats Constituencies
8 Madrid
7 Barcelona
5 Palma, Seville
4 Cartagena
3 Alicante, Almería, Badajoz, Burgos, Cádiz, Córdoba, Gran Canaria, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Jerez de la Frontera, La Coruña, Lugo, Málaga, Murcia, Oviedo, Pamplona, Santander, Tarragona, Tenerife, Valencia, Valladolid, Zaragoza

For the Senate, 180 seats were indirectly elected by the local councils and major taxpayers, with electors voting for delegates instead of senators. Elected delegates—equivalent in number to one-sixth of the councillors in each local council—would then vote for senators using a write-in, two-round majority voting system. The provinces of Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia were allocated four seats each, whereas each of the remaining provinces was allocated three seats, for a total of 150. The remaining 30 were allocated to special districts comprising a number of institutions, electing one seat each—the archdioceses of Burgos, Granada, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Tarragona, Toledo, Valencia, Valladolid and Zaragoza; the Royal Spanish Academy; the royal academies of History, Fine Arts of San Fernando, Exact and Natural Sciences, Moral and Political Sciences and Medicine; the universities of Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Oviedo, Salamanca, Santiago, Seville, Valencia, Valladolid and Zaragoza; and the economic societies of Friends of the Country from Madrid, Barcelona, León, Seville and Valencia. An additional 180 seats comprised senators in their own right—the Monarch's offspring and the heir apparent once coming of age; Grandees of Spain of the first class; Captain Generals of the Army and the Navy Admiral; the Patriarch of the Indies and archbishops; and the presidents of the Council of State, the Supreme Court, the Court of Auditors, the Supreme War Council and the Supreme Council of the Navy, after two years of service—as well as senators for life (who were appointed by the Monarch).[1][17][18]

Election date[edit]

The term of each chamber of the Cortes—the Congress and one-half of the elective part of the Senate—expired five years from the date of their previous election, unless they were dissolved earlier. The previous Congress and Senate elections were held on 19 December 1920 and 2 January 1921, which meant that the legislature's terms would have expired on 19 December 1925 and 2 January 1926, respectively. The monarch had the prerogative to dissolve both chambers at any given time—either jointly or separately—and call a snap election.[1][6][17] There was no constitutional requirement for simultaneous elections for the Congress and the Senate, nor for the elective part of the Senate to be renewed in its entirety except in the case that a full dissolution was agreed by the monarch. Still, there was only one case of a separate election (for the Senate in 1877) and no half-Senate elections taking place under the 1876 Constitution.

The Cortes were officially dissolved on 6 April 1923, with the dissolution decree setting the election dates for 29 April (for the Congress) and 13 May 1923 (for the Senate) and scheduling for both chambers to reconvene on 23 May.[19]


The Spanish Constitution of 1876 enshrined Spain as a constitutional monarchy, awarding the monarch power to name senators and to revoke laws, as well as the title of commander-in-chief of the army. The monarch would also play a key role in the system of el turno pacífico (English: the Peaceful Turn) by appointing and dismissing governments and allowing the opposition to take power. Under this system, the major political parties of the time, the conservatives and the liberals—characterized as elite parties with loose structures and dominated by internal factions led by powerful individuals—alternated in power by means of election rigging, which they achieved through the encasillado, using the links between the Ministry of Governance, the provincial civil governors and the local bosses (caciques) to ensure victory and exclude minor parties from the power sharing.[20][21]


Congress of Deputies[edit]

Summary of the 29 April 1923 Congress of Deputies election results
Parties and alliances Popular vote Seats
Votes[a] % Cont. A.29 Total
Liberal Unity (Concentración Liberal) 979,435 47.62 137 86 223
Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) 53 39 92
Liberal Party (PL) 31 16 47
Liberal Left (IL) 31 15 46
Reformist Party (PR) 11 8 19
Agrarian Liberal Party (PLA) 9 1 10
Independent Democratic Party (PDI) 1 7 8
Independent Liberals (LI) 1 0 1
Conservatives (Conservadores) 591,026 28.73 73 51 124
Liberal Conservative Party (PLC) 54 38 92
Ciervist Conservatives (CC) 9 9 18
Maurist Party (PM) 10 4 14
Republicans (Republicanos) 129,225 6.28 11 4 15
Republican Democracy–Catalan Republican Party (DR–PRC) 9 3 12
Federal Democratic Republican Party (PRDF) 2 0 2
Autonomist Republican Union Party (PURA) 0 1 1
Regionalist League of Catalonia (LRC) 110,007 5.35 20 2 22
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 38,151 1.85 6 1 7
Agrarians (Agrarios) 29,975 1.46 1 0 1
Catholics (Católicos) 26,377 1.28 2 0 2
Carlists (Carlistas) 19,071 0.93 4 1 5
Jaimists (Jaimistas) 3 0 3
Traditionalist Communion (CT) 1 0 1
Integrist Party (PI) 0 1 1
Catalan Action (AC) 16,937 0.82 0 0 0
Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) 13,152 0.64 1 0 1
National Monarchist Union (UMN) 6,240 0.30 0 0 0
Biscay Monarchist League (LMV) 3,437 0.17 1 0 1
Communist Party of Spain (PCE) 2,320 0.11 0 0 0
Independents (Independientes) 54,263 2.64 7 1 8
Other candidates/blank ballots 37,358 1.82 0 0 0
Total 2,056,974 263 146 409
Votes cast / turnout 2,056,974 65.74
Abstentions 1,071,954 34.26
Non-Article 29 registered voters 3,128,928 65.43
Article 29 non-voters 1,653,419 34.57
Registered voters 4,782,347
Popular vote
Liberal Unity
Liberal Unity


Summary of the 13 May 1923 Senate of Spain election results
Parties and alliances Seats
Liberal Unity (Concentración Liberal) 105
Conservatives (Conservadores) 46
Liberal Conservative Party (PLC) 37
Ciervist Conservatives (CC) 6
Maurist Party (PM) 3
Regionalist League of Catalonia (LRC) 6
Republicans (Republicanos) 3
Carlists (Carlistas) 3
Catholics (Católicos) 1
Biscay Monarchist League (LMV) 2
Independents (Independientes) 5
Archbishops (Arzobispos) 9
Total elective seats 180
Liberal Unity

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In multi-member constituencies, votes have been allocated by calculating the arithmetic average of each candidacy and adding it to the votes of single-member constituencies.


  1. ^ a b c d Constitución de la Monarquía Española (PDF) (Constitution) (in Spanish). 30 June 1876. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  2. ^ "El Senado en la historia constitucional española". Senate of Spain (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  3. ^ García Muñoz 2002, pp. 106–107.
  4. ^ Carreras de Odriozola & Tafunell Sambola 2005, p. 1077.
  5. ^ Ley electoral de los Diputados a Cortes (PDF) (Law) (in Spanish). 28 December 1878. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Ley reformando la Electoral vigente (PDF) (Law) (in Spanish). 8 August 1907. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  7. ^ Ley mandando que los distritos para las elecciones de Diputados á Córtes sean los que se expresan en la división adjunta (PDF) (Law) (in Spanish). 1 January 1871. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  8. ^ Ley dividiendo la provincia de Guipúzcoa en distritos para la elección de Diputados a Cortes (PDF) (Law) (in Spanish). 23 June 1885. Retrieved 6 May 2023.
  9. ^ Ley dividiendo el distrito electoral de Tarrasa en dos, que se denominarán de Tarrasa y de Sabadell (PDF) (Law) (in Spanish). 18 January 1887. Retrieved 6 May 2023.
  10. ^ Ley fijando la división de la provincia de Alava en distritos electorales para Diputados á Cortes (PDF) (Law) (in Spanish). 10 July 1888. Retrieved 6 May 2023.
  11. ^ Leyes aprobando la división electoral de las provincias de León y Vizcaya (PDF) (Law) (in Spanish). 2 August 1895. Retrieved 6 May 2023.
  12. ^ Leyes aprobando la división electoral en las provincias de Sevilla y de Barcelona (PDF) (Law) (in Spanish). 5 July 1898. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  13. ^ Ley mandando que en lo sucesivo sean cuatro los Diputados á Cortes que elegirá la circunscripción electoral de Cartagena (PDF) (Law) (in Spanish). 7 August 1899. Retrieved 10 October 2022.
  14. ^ Ley estableciendo una circunscripción para elegir tres Diputados á cortes, que la constituirán los cuatro partidos judiciales de Ayamonte, Hueva, Moguer y la Palma, con todas las poblaciones que de ellos forman parte (PDF) (Law) (in Spanish). 24 March 1902. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  15. ^ Ley disponiendo que el territorio de la Nación española que constituye el Archipiélago canario, cuya capitalidad reside en Santa Cruz de Tenerife, conserve su unidad, ateniéndose los servicios públicos en el modo y forma que se determina en esta ley (PDF) (Law) (in Spanish). 11 July 1912. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  16. ^ Real decreto disponiendo que la isla de La Palma (Canarias) se divida, a los efectos de las elecciones para Diputados a Cortes, en dos distritos, que se denominarán de Santa Cruz de la Palma y de Los Llanos (PDF) (Royal Decree) (in Spanish). 20 March 1916. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  17. ^ a b Ley electoral de Senadores (PDF) (Law) (in Spanish). 8 February 1877. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  18. ^ "Real decreto disponiendo el número de Senadores que han de elegir las provincias que se citan" (PDF). Gaceta de Madrid (in Spanish) (76). Agencia Estatal Boletín Oficial del Estado: 1021. 16 March 1899.
  19. ^ "Real decreto declarando disueltos el Congreso de los Diputados y la parte electiva del Senado; disponiendo que las Cortes se reúnan el día 23 de Mayo próximo, y que las elecciones de Diputados se verifiquen en todas las provincias de la Monarquía el día 29 del mes actual, y las de Senadores el 13 de Mayo siguiente" (PDF). Gaceta de Madrid (in Spanish) (97). Agencia Estatal Boletín Oficial del Estado: 135. 7 April 1923.
  20. ^ Martorell Linares 1997, pp. 139–143.
  21. ^ Martínez Relanzón 2017, pp. 147–148.
  22. ^ Villa García 2020, pp. 276–287.
  23. ^ "Resultado de las elecciones de Diputados a Cortes verificadas el 29 de abril de 1923" (PDF). National Institute of Statistics (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  24. ^ "La constitución del Congreso". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 5 May 1923. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  25. ^ "Elecciones a Cortes 29 de abril de 1923". Historia Electoral.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  26. ^ "Ayer fueron elegidos ciento ochenta abuelos de la patria". National Library of Spain (in Spanish). La Voz. 14 May 1923. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  27. ^ "La elección de Senadores". National Library of Spain (in Spanish). La Época. 14 May 1923. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  28. ^ "El Gobierno se felicita del resultado". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 15 May 1923. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  29. ^ "Las elecciones de Senadores". National Library of Spain (in Spanish). El Globo. 15 May 1923. Retrieved 13 September 2020.