Jump to content

1986 Spanish general election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1986 Spanish general election

← 1982 22 June 1986 1989 →

All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 208 (of 254) seats in the Senate
176[a] seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies
Opinion polls
Registered29,117,613 8.5%
Turnout20,524,858 (70.5%)
9.5 pp
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Felipe González Manuel Fraga Adolfo Suárez
Leader since 28 September 1979 9 October 1976 29 July 1982
Leader's seat Madrid Madrid Madrid
Last election 202 seats, 48.1% 107 seats, 26.4%[b] 2 seats, 2.9%
Seats won 184 105 19
Seat change 18 2 17
Popular vote 8,901,718 5,247,677 1,861,912
Percentage 44.1% 26.0% 9.2%
Swing 4.0 pp 0.4 pp 6.3 pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Leader Miquel Roca Gerardo Iglesias Iñaki Anasagasti
Leader since 4 July 1982 10 December 1982 1986
Leader's seat Barcelona Madrid Biscay
Last election 12 seats, 3.7%[d] 4 seats, 4.2%[e] 8 seats, 1.9%
Seats won 19 7 6
Seat change 7 3 2
Popular vote 1,288,768 935,504 309,610
Percentage 6.4% 4.6% 1.5%
Swing 2.7 pp 0.4 pp 0.4 pp

Election results by Congress of Deputies constituency

Prime Minister before election

Felipe González

Prime Minister after election

Felipe González

The 1986 Spanish general election was held on Sunday, 22 June 1986, to elect the 3rd Cortes Generales of the Kingdom of Spain. All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies were up for election, as well as 208 of 254 seats in the Senate.

The election was held after the referendum on Spanish membership in NATO in March 1986 had resulted in a surprising win for the 'In' camp headed by Prime Minister Felipe González. Reinforced from the referendum result, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) sought to take advantage of the favorable political situation. The election resulted in the PSOE winning a second consecutive—albeit diminished—majority with 184 out of 350 seats. Its immediate competitor, Manuel Fraga's People's Coalition, an electoral alliance formed by People's Alliance (AP), the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the Liberal Party (PL), remained stagnant with a similar result to the one obtained in 1982 by the AP–PDP coalition. The disappointing election result caused the Coalition to break apart shortly afterwards.

Former PM Adolfo Suárez's Democratic and Social Centre (CDS) came out in third place with nearly 1.9 million votes, 9.2% of the share and 19 seats. The Communist Party of Spain (PCE) contested the election within the newborn left-wing United Left (IU) coalition, slightly improving on the PCE's result in 1982 with 4.6% and 7 seats and holding its own against the Communists' Unity Board (MUC), Santiago Carrillo's split party founded after him being expelled from the PCE, which won no seats.

Two future prime ministers (José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Mariano Rajoy) were first elected as deputies at this election.


Electoral system[edit]

The Spanish Cortes Generales were envisaged as an imperfect bicameral system. The Congress of Deputies had greater legislative power than the Senate, having the ability to vote confidence in or withdraw it from a prime minister and to override Senate vetoes by an absolute majority of votes. Nonetheless, the Senate possessed a few exclusive (yet limited in number) functions—such as its role in constitutional amendment—which were not subject to the Congress' override.[1] Voting for the Cortes Generales was on the basis of universal suffrage, which comprised all nationals over 18 years of age and in full enjoyment of their political rights.[2]

For the Congress of Deputies, 348 seats were elected using the D'Hondt method and a closed list proportional representation, with an electoral threshold of three percent of valid votes—which included blank ballots—being applied in each constituency. Seats were allocated to constituencies, corresponding to the provinces of Spain, with each being allocated an initial minimum of two seats and the remaining 248 being distributed in proportion to their populations. Ceuta and Melilla were allocated the two remaining seats, which were elected using plurality voting.[3][4] The use of the D'Hondt method might result in a higher effective threshold, depending on the district magnitude.[5]

As a result of the aforementioned allocation, each Congress multi-member constituency was entitled the following seats:[6]

Seats Constituencies
33 Barcelona, Madrid(+1)
16 Valencia(+1)
12 Seville
10 Alicante(+1), Biscay
9 Asturias(–1), Cádiz(+1), La Coruña, Málaga(+1)
8 Murcia, Pontevedra, Zaragoza
7 Córdoba, Granada, Guipúzcoa, Las Palmas(+1)
6 Badajoz(–1), Balearics, Jaén(–1), Santa Cruz de Tenerife(–1)
5 Almería, Cáceres, Cantabria, Castellón, Ciudad Real, Gerona, Huelva, León(–1), Lugo, Navarre, Orense, Tarragona, Toledo, Valladolid
4 Álava, Albacete, Burgos, La Rioja, Lérida, Salamanca, Zamora
3 Ávila, Cuenca(–1), Guadalajara, Huesca, Palencia, Segovia, Soria, Teruel

For the Senate, 208 seats were elected using an open list partial block voting system, with electors voting for individual candidates instead of parties. In constituencies electing four seats, electors could vote for up to three candidates; in those with two or three seats, for up to two candidates; and for one candidate in single-member districts. Each of the 47 peninsular provinces was allocated four seats, whereas for insular provinces, such as the Balearic and Canary Islands, districts were the islands themselves, with the larger—Majorca, Gran Canaria and Tenerife—being allocated three seats each, and the smaller—Menorca, IbizaFormentera, Fuerteventura, La Gomera, El Hierro, Lanzarote and La Palma—one each. Ceuta and Melilla elected two seats each. Additionally, autonomous communities could appoint at least one senator each and were entitled to one additional senator per each million inhabitants.[7][4]

Election date[edit]

The term of each chamber of the Cortes Generales—the Congress and the Senate—expired four years from the date of their previous election, unless they were dissolved earlier. The election decree was required to be issued no later than the twenty-fifth day prior to the date of expiry of parliament and published on the following day in the Official State Gazette (BOE), with election day taking place between the fifty-fourth and the sixtieth day from publication. The previous election was held on 28 October 1982, which meant that the legislature's term would expire on 28 October 1986. The election decree was required to be published in the BOE no later than 4 October 1986, with the election taking place on the sixtieth day from publication, setting the latest possible election date for the Cortes Generales on Wednesday, 3 December 1986.[4]

The prime minister had the prerogative to dissolve both chambers at any given time—either jointly or separately—and call a snap election, provided that no motion of no confidence was in process, no state of emergency was in force and that dissolution did not occur before one year had elapsed since the previous one. Additionally, both chambers were to be dissolved and a new election called if an investiture process failed to elect a prime minister within a two-month period from the first ballot.[8][non-primary source needed][dubiousdiscuss] Barred this exception, there was no constitutional requirement for simultaneous elections for the Congress and the Senate. Still, as of 2024 there has been no precedent of separate elections taking place under the 1978 Constitution.

While the 1986 general election was initially expected for October,[9][10][11] there was widespread opinion that a snap election would be held in June alongside the scheduled 1986 Andalusian regional election, with part of the government remaining ambiguous on the issue.[12][13][14] On 21 April, Felipe González announced his intention to trigger an early dissolution of the Cortes Generales, explaining that it was his wish to prevent "political uncertainties" resulting from an autumn election that could affect the country's economic prospects during the making of the 1987 General State Budget.[15]

The Cortes Generales were officially dissolved on 23 April 1986 after the publication of the dissolution decree in the BOE, setting the election date for 22 June and scheduling for both chambers to reconvene on 15 July.[6]


Shortly after assuming office on 2 December 1982, Prime Minister Felipe González had to face a worsening economic situation, with high inflation, soaring unemployment and a public deficit at 6%.[16][17] Among the new PSOE government's first economic measures were the nationalization of the Rumasa holding due to its financial situation and because of alleged fraudulent practices and continuous evasion from the inspection activity conducted by the Bank of Spain,[18] the reduction of work time to 40-hour week and the establishment of a minimum legal annual leave of 30 days and a lunch break of 15 minutes.[19][20]

The Spanish entry into the EEC was regarded as one of the major political successes of Felipe González's first government.

This period saw major reforms being implemented in order to achieve economic recovery as well as equalization of Spain with the remainder of Europe, including an unpopular economic stabilization plan involving a process of industrial restructuring—which led to the closure of many obsolete industries[21][22][23]—and a reform of the pension system which lengthened the period used to calculate full pension benefits from 10 to 15 years and adopted a new system for pension revaluation.[24] This economic policy received widespread criticism from trade unions—including the historically PSOE-aligned UGT—leading to strikes and demonstrations opposing the government's economic policy.[22][25] A new labor reform was approved, which included fiscal incentives to investment, added protection for unemployed and the easing of temporality through the implementation of fixed-term contracts.[26] González's first term also saw the establishment of the Spanish National Health System and universal health care in Spain,[22][27] and decriminalization of abortion in three cases: therapeutic in cases of serious risk to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman, during the first 12 weeks; criminological in cases of woman rape, during the first 22 weeks; and eugenic in cases of fetus malformations, at any time during pregnancy.[23] Free and compulsory education was established until the age of 16.[28]

Internally, these years were marked by a harsh hostile campaign from ETA, with around one hundred dead throughout the 1982–1986 period as a result of terrorist activity, which was countered with a similarly harsh government response.[28][29] The PSOE government also had to deal with the issue of military insurrectionism, with a profound reorganization of the Spanish Armed Forces by promoting an increase of civil authority over the military, with the final aim of professionalizing the Armed Forces and end the threat of military coup attempts.[30][31][32][33] Felipe González also came briefly involved in the 1984 German Flick affair, when SPD MP Peter Struck said in the German press that another MP from his party, Hans-Jürgen Wischnewski, had given one million Marks from the corruption plot to González himself. The Spanish prime minister countered this with a remarkable statement at the time: "I have not received a single mark, a single penny, a single peseta, neither from Flick nor from Flock", and was later acquitted from the scandal by the inquiry commission in Congress.[34][35]

Internationally, the PSOE government was successful in culminating negotiations for the Spanish entry into the European Economic Community (EEC), effective from 1 January 1986.[36][37] The issue of NATO membership was more controversial, as the PSOE had campaigned for the holding of a referendum on the issue after Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo's move to enter the alliance in May 1982. However, once in power Felipe González evolved to support NATO.[38] According to Santos Juliá, the main factors that influenced the PSOE government's change of attitude were "pressure from the United States and several European countries; the connection between staying in NATO and Spain–EEC negotiations and the growing favorable stance of the Spanish Defence Ministry to attain closer ties with the Alliance".[39] By 1985, as Spain had signed the Act of Accession to the EEC, preparations for the referendum on NATO membership started, being eventually held on 12 March 1986. NATO permanence option won the vote by a surprising 53.1% to 40.3%, and the PSOE came out reinforced.

Within the opposition, the Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD) was dissolved in February 1983.[40][41] Under Manuel Fraga's leadership, the People's Alliance (AP) and the People's Democratic Party (PDP) joined with other parties to form the People's Coalition, seeking to build on his idea of the "natural majority" of the centre-right in order to win the next general election.[42] At the same time, Catalan politician Miquel Roca tried to enter national politics by founding the Democratic Reformist Party (PRD), supported by the Catalan-based Convergence and Union (CiU), the Liberal Democratic Party (PDL) of Antonio Garrigues Walker and a number of regional parties, in what came to be known as "Operation Roca".[43][44][45] All attempts at forming a common alliance between the three main centre to centre-right political forces—including the growing Democratic and Social Centre (CDS) of former prime minister Adolfo Suárez[46]—failed throughout 1985.[47][48][49] In the left, the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) experienced an internal crisis which saw the resignation of its leader Santiago Carrillo and his succession by Gerardo Iglesias.[50] Internal disagreements resulted in splits that saw the birth of the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (PCPE) and the Workers' Party of Spain–Communist Unity (PTE-UC).[51][52][53]

Parliamentary composition[edit]

The tables below show the composition of the parliamentary groups in both chambers at the time of dissolution.[54][55]

Parties and candidates[edit]

The electoral law allowed for parties and federations registered in the interior ministry, coalitions and groupings of electors to present lists of candidates. Parties and federations intending to form a coalition ahead of an election were required to inform the relevant Electoral Commission within ten days of the election call, whereas groupings of electors needed to secure the signature of at least one percent of the electorate in the constituencies for which they sought election, disallowing electors from signing for more than one list of candidates.[4]

Below is a list of the main parties and electoral alliances which contested the election:

Candidacy Parties and
Leading candidate Ideology Previous result Gov. Ref.
Votes (%) Con. Sen.
PSOE Felipe González Social democracy 48.11% 202 134 checkY
AP–PDP–PL Manuel Fraga Conservatism
Christian democracy
26.36%[b] 107 54 ☒N [58]
Miquel Roca Centrism
3.67%[d] 12 5[h] ☒N [43]
Iñaki Anasagasti Basque nationalism
Christian democracy
Conservative liberalism
1.88% 8 7 ☒N
IU Gerardo Iglesias Socialism
4.17%[e] 4 0 ☒N
CDS Adolfo Suárez Centrism
2.87% 2 0 ☒N
HB Jon Idigoras Basque independence
Abertzale left
Revolutionary socialism
1.00% 2 0 ☒N
ERC Francesc Vicens Catalan nationalism
Left-wing nationalism
Social democracy
0.66% 1 2[h] ☒N
EE Juan María Bandrés Basque nationalism
0.48% 1 0 ☒N
PAR Hipólito Gómez de las Roces Regionalism
New[i] ☒N
Miguel Ramón Blaverism
New[i] ☒N
Manuel Hermoso Regionalism
Canarian nationalism
New ☒N
Not contesting
UCD None
(Party dissolved)
Centrism 6.84% 11 4 ☒N [41]


Party slogans[edit]

Party or alliance Original slogan English translation Ref.
PSOE « Por buen camino » "On track" [59][60]
AP–PDP–PL « Para salir adelante »
« Con la verdad por delante »
"To get ahead"
"With truth ahead"
IU « Hace falta »
« Nos van a oír »
"It is needed"
"They will hear us"
CDS « El valor del centro »
« El centro avanza »
"The value of the centre"
"The centre goes forward"
PRD « La otra forma de hacer España » "The other way of building Spain" [60]
MUC « Los comunistas, seguro » "The communists, for sure" [60]

Spanish Socialist Workers' Party[edit]

The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party under Felipe González campaigned on a continuity platform, emphasizing on the idea of progress and trying to highlight that the party's management of government during the previous four years had been positive for the country. The democratization process after the turbulent years of the early 1980s was deemed as having been fully completed, the military insurrectionism threat had been vanquished, Spain had been integrated within Europe and the economic crisis was easening, with the brunt of the industrial conversion having been dealt with in the first years of Socialist government.[63] It also tried to deliver on the idea that the party's programme was not yet fulfilled, with many proposals still left to be carried out.[60] Another message of the Socialist electoral campaign revolved around the idea that a non-Socialist government would revert the political and social advances accomplished in the previous years, with PM González himself warning of a possible alternative coalition between the various centre and centre-right parties in case the PSOE lost its absolute majority.[64]

There were notable divergences from the campaigning style of 1982: González himself, being now the Prime Minister, had a busy public agenda and was only able to participate in large campaign events during weekends, having little time to maintain direct contact with party militants.[65] He also wanted to distance himself from direct confrontation to the other parties' candidates, usually leaving that task to Deputy Prime Minister Alfonso Guerra and other PSOE leaders, in order to emphasize his image as Chief of the Executive.[66] The PSOE's electoral manifesto for the 1986 election also avoided making any concrete pledges such as those done in 1982.[67]

Opposition parties had accused the PSOE government of a rudely style of ruling, of arrogance, of little austerity and of informational opacity, a result, according to them, of the large absolute majority of seats it had obtained in the 1982 election. Thus, one of the PSOE's self-imposed objectives during the election campaign was to maintain that absolute majority. In the end, the PSOE would win the election but with a significantly reduced majority of 184 seats, compared to the 202-strong majority achieved in 1982.[68]

People's Coalition[edit]

People's Coalition logo (1986).

The People's Alliance, the People's Democratic Party and the Liberal Party contested the election in a common ticket under the People's Coalition label. Some regionalist parties in different autonomous communities, such as the Navarrese People's Union in Navarre, also joined the coalition, who was to be led into the election by AP leader Manuel Fraga.[69]

Its campaign centered into criticising the González' government record in office, accusing the PSOE of breaking many of its 1982 election pledges and asking voters to support an alternative to the Socialists, with Fraga opening the possibility to invite other parties, specially the CDS and the PRD, into a coalition government aimed at ousting the PSOE from power.[60][70] The Coalition released an election programme which was described as a mixture of economic neoliberalism and social conservatism. Among the Coalition's election pledges were the privatization of public companies (the most notable example being TVE 2) and of the healthcare assistance system in order to reduce tax burden and public spending; the implementation of a national plan against drugs; the illegalization of HB and tougher penalties for terrorists (going as far as to promise an end to ETA terrorism within 6 months); a repeal of the newly approved abortion law and a revision of the divorce law.[71]

The Coalition was criticised for its perceived right-wing stance, with serious difficulties to define an alternative policy to the PSOE, a weak opposition stance to González' government (virtually trailing the Socialists on every issue) and a lack of initiative. The Coalition's call for abstention in the March referendum (despite the party's official stance favouring Spain permanence within NATO) had been a fatal blow to its expectations in the upcoming general election, being seen, on the one hand, as a gesture of political opportunism in an attempt to weaken Felipe González' position and, on the other hand, as showing a lack of political guidance. Instead, the 'Yes' landslide victory had reinforced the PSOE in the eyes of public opinion, but the Coalition's position on the referendum was met with skepticism and disapproval from other centre-right parties, both nationally and internationally.[72]

United Left[edit]

United Left logo (1986). It would not be until 1988 that a specific logo for IU would be designed.

The roots for the United Left (IU) coalition originated during the protests to demand the exit of Spain from NATO in 1986, with the "Platform of the United Left". While the 1986 referendum had resulted in the country's permanence within NATO, sectors to the left of the PSOE sought to form a unitary candidacy for the 1986 general election aimed at representing the nearly 7 million voters that had shown their position against such a permanence. Aside from the PCE, which was to become IU's main member party, also joining the coalition were the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSUC), the Socialist Action Party (PASOC), the Republican Left (IR), the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain or the Collective for the Unity of Workers-Andalusian Left Bloc (CUT-BAI), among others.[73]

Aside from its anti-NATO stance, the IU coalition also opposed the Socialist government's recent industrial conversion, which had been carried out almost unilaterally and with little to no talks with trade unions, thanks to the PSOE absolute majority in Congress.[74] IU campaigned on a left-wing platform, accusing the PSOE of abandoning its socialist roots and of applying liberal policies. On the international stage, IU promised to bring Spain out of NATO, the dismantling of US bases and the withdrawal of US troops from Spanish soil, as well as to counter "the harmful consequences of integration within the EEC, a conception of Europe against the interests of multinationals and imperialism and to support initiatives for the elimination of nuclear weapons and against the militarization of space." On the domestic stage, IU's pledges included nationalizations in the banking and energy sectors. It also provided for large investments in the public sector, an agrarian reform and a federal model of state which provided for "the full development of the rights of nationalities and regions".[75]

Opinion polls[edit]


Congress of Deputies[edit]

Summary of the 22 June 1986 Congress of Deputies election results
Parties and alliances Popular vote Seats
Votes % ±pp Total +/−
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 8,901,718 44.06 –4.05 184 –18
People's Coalition (APPDPPL)1 5,247,677 25.97 –0.39 105 –2
Democratic and Social Centre (CDS) 1,861,912 9.22 +6.35 19 +17
Reformists (PRDCiUCG) 1,288,768 6.38 +2.71 19 +7
Convergence and Union (CiU) 1,014,258 5.02 +1.35 18 +6
Democratic Reformist Party (PRD) 194,538 0.96 New 0 ±0
Galician Coalition (CG) 79,972 0.40 New 1 +1
United Left (IU)2 935,504 4.63 +0.46 7 +3
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV) 309,610 1.53 –0.35 6 –2
Popular Unity (HB) 231,722 1.15 +0.15 5 +3
Communists' Unity Board (MUC) 229,695 1.14 New 0 ±0
Basque Country Left (EE) 107,053 0.53 +0.05 2 +1
Andalusian Party (PA) 94,008 0.47 +0.07 0 ±0
Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) 84,628 0.42 –0.24 0 –1
Workers' Socialist Party (PST) 77,914 0.39 –0.10 0 ±0
Regionalist Aragonese Party (PAR) 73,004 0.36 New 1 +1
Canarian Independent Groups (AIC) 65,664 0.33 New 1 +1
Valencian Union (UV) 64,403 0.32 New 1 +1
Party of the Communists of Catalonia (PCC) 57,107 0.28 +0.06 0 ±0
Galician Socialist Party–Galician Left (PSG–EG)3 45,574 0.23 +0.12 0 ±0
Spanish Phalanx of the CNSO (FE–JONS) 43,449 0.22 +0.21 0 ±0
Communist Unification of Spain (UCE) 42,451 0.21 +0.10 0 ±0
Valencian People's Union (UPV) 40,264 0.20 +0.11 0 ±0
Canarian AssemblyCanarian Nationalist Left (AC–INC) 36,892 0.18 +0.09 0 ±0
The Greens (LV) 31,909 0.16 New 0 ±0
Green Alternative List (LAV) 29,567 0.15 New 0 ±0
Spanish Vertex Ecological Development Revindication (VERDE) 28,318 0.14 New 0 ±0
Republican Popular Unity (UPR)4 27,473 0.14 +0.03 0 ±0
Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) 27,049 0.13 –0.05 0 ±0
Internationalist Socialist Workers' Party (POSI) 21,853 0.11 New 0 ±0
United Extremadura (EU) 16,091 0.08 –0.04 0 ±0
Socialist Party of the Andalusian People (PSPA) 14,999 0.07 New 0 ±0
Socialist Party of Majorca–Nationalist Left (PSM–EN) 7,539 0.04 ±0.00 0 ±0
National Unity Coalition (CUN) 5,209 0.03 New 0 ±0
Revolutionary Workers' Party of Spain (PORE) 5,126 0.03 New 0 ±0
Social Democratic Party of Catalonia (PSDC) 4,885 0.02 New 0 ±0
Group of Independent Electors (ADEI) 3,857 0.02 New 0 ±0
Leonese Convergence (CL) 2,520 0.01 New 0 ±0
Regionalist Party of the Leonese Country (PREPAL) 2,449 0.01 –0.01 0 ±0
Valencian Nationalist Left (ENV–URV) 2,116 0.01 –0.02 0 ±0
Communist Workers' League (LOC) 1,952 0.01 –0.02 0 ±0
Moderate Party–Centrists of Navarre (PMCN) 1,932 0.01 New 0 ±0
Natural Culture (CN) 1,886 0.01 New 0 ±0
Murcian Regionalist Party (PRM) 1,401 0.01 New 0 ±0
Democratic Spanish Party (PED) 1,169 0.01 New 0 ±0
Nationalist Party of Castile and León (PANCAL) 1,047 0.01 New 0 ±0
Candidacy for Autonomy (CA) 758 0.00 New 0 ±0
Proverist Party (PPr) 756 0.00 ±0.00 0 ±0
Electoral Group–Independent Group of Ceuta (AE–AIC) 601 0.00 New 0 ±0
Christian Spanish Party (PAEC) 254 0.00 New 0 ±0
Communist Movement of the Basque Country (EMK) 0 0.00 New 0 ±0
Revolutionary Communist League (LKI) 0 0.00 –0.01 0 ±0
Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD) n/a n/a –6.77 0 –11
Blank ballots 121,186 0.60 +0.13
Total 20,202,919 350 ±0
Valid votes 20,202,919 98.43 +0.38
Invalid votes 321,939 1.57 –0.38
Votes cast / turnout 20,524,858 70.49 –9.48
Abstentions 8,592,755 29.51 +9.48
Registered voters 29,117,613
Popular vote
Blank ballots


Summary of the 22 June 1986 Senate of Spain election results
Parties and alliances Popular vote Seats
Votes % ±pp Total +/−
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 24,719,863 44.52 –3.08 124 –10
People's Coalition (APPDPPL)1 14,485,103 26.09 +0.41 63 +9
Democratic and Social Centre (CDS) 4,537,464 8.17 +5.19 3 +3
Reformists (PRDCiUCG) 3,687,520 6.64 n/a 8 +3
Convergence and Union (CiU)3 2,934,479 5.28 n/a 8 +3
Democratic Reformist Party (PRD) 514,504 0.93 New 0 ±0
Galician Coalition (CG) 238,537 0.43 New 0 ±0
United Left (IU) 2,583,230 4.65 –0.01 0 ±0
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV) 934,198 1.68 –0.32 7 ±0
Popular Unity (HB) 677,204 1.22 +0.16 1 +1
Communists' Unity Board (MUC) 651,544 1.17 New 0 ±0
Basque Country Left (EE) 311,471 0.56 +0.06 0 ±0
Andalusian Party (PA) 297,220 0.54 +0.04 0 ±0
Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC)3 255,718 0.46 n/a 0 –2
Regionalist Aragonese Party (PAR) 254,729 0.46 New 0 ±0
Valencian Union (UV) 226,909 0.41 New 0 ±0
Spanish Phalanx of the CNSO (FE–JONS) 175,971 0.32 +0.30 0 ±0
Party of the Communists of Catalonia (PCC) 148,090 0.27 –0.05 0 ±0
Spanish Vertex Ecological Development Revindication (VERDE) 147,962 0.27 +0.11 0 ±0
Valencian People's Union (UPV) 136,150 0.25 +0.24 0 ±0
Galician Socialist Party–Galician Left (PSG–EG)4 133,516 0.24 +0.12 0 ±0
Canarian Independent Groups (AIC) 130,173 0.23 New 1 +1
The Greens (LV) 108,418 0.20 New 0 ±0
Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) 84,113 0.15 –0.05 0 ±0
Workers' Socialist Party (PST) 80,907 0.15 –0.32 0 ±0
Green Alternative List (LAV) 71,481 0.13 New 0 ±0
United Extremadura (EU) 58,349 0.11 –0.08 0 ±0
Canarian AssemblyCanarian Nationalist Left (AC–INC) 49,129 0.09 +0.04 0 ±0
Socialist Party of the Andalusian People (PSPA) 43,137 0.08 New 0 ±0
Communist Unification of Spain (UCE) 31,916 0.06 +0.04 0 ±0
Internationalist Socialist Workers' Party (POSI) 24,131 0.04 New 0 ±0
Revolutionary Workers' Party of Spain (PORE) 20,890 0.04 New 0 ±0
National Unity Coalition (CUN) 20,787 0.04 New 0 ±0
Socialist Party of Majorca–Nationalist Left (PSM–EN) 14,669 0.03 –0.01 0 ±0
Regionalist Party of the Leonese Country (PREPAL) 13,452 0.02 –0.01 0 ±0
Natural Culture (CN) 13,036 0.02 –0.13 0 ±0
Leonese Convergence (CL) 10,475 0.02 New 0 ±0
Lanzarote Electoral Group (AEL) 9,471 0.02 New 0 ±0
Melillan People's Union (UPM) 9,097 0.02 New 0 ±0
Republican Popular Unity (UPR)5 6,247 0.01 –0.02 0 ±0
Majorera Assembly (AM) 5,604 0.01 ±0.00 1 ±0
Group of Independent Electors (ADEI) 5,204 0.01 New 0 ±0
Proverist Party (PPr) 5,073 0.01 +0.01 0 ±0
Moderate Party–Centrists of Navarre (PMCN) 4,895 0.01 New 0 ±0
Social Democratic Party of Catalonia (PSDC) 4,286 0.01 New 0 ±0
Valencian Nationalist Left (ENV–URV) 3,951 0.01 –0.06 0 ±0
Ecologist Movement of Spain (MEE) 3,824 0.01 New 0 ±0
Agreement of the Left of Menorca (PSMEU) 3,687 0.01 New 0 ±0
Popular Castilian Action (ACP) 3,548 0.01 New 0 ±0
Murcian Regionalist Party (PRM) 3,169 0.01 New 0 ±0
Nationalist Party of Castile and León (PANCAL) 2,932 0.01 New 0 ±0
Christian Spanish Party (PAEC) 2,072 0.00 New 0 ±0
Pensionist Party (PENS) 1,615 0.00 New 0 ±0
Candidacy for Autonomy (CA) 1,406 0.00 New 0 ±0
Electoral Group–Independent Group of Ceuta (AE–AIC) 1,017 0.00 New 0 ±0
Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD) n/a n/a –6.84 0 –4
Group of Independent Electors (ADEI) n/a n/a –0.03 0 –1
Blank ballots[j] 311,305 1.57 –0.21
Total 55,527,328 208 ±0
Valid votes 19,795,126 96.68
Invalid votes 678,993 3.32
Votes cast / turnout 20,474,119 70.32
Abstentions 8,643,494 29.68
Registered voters 29,117,613
Popular vote
Blank ballots


The 1986 election results showed little changes to the balance of power with respect to 1982. Overall, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) remained the dominant party in Spanish politics by securing a second consecutive overall majority in the Congress of Deputies. Prime Minister Felipe González was regarded to have come out reinforced from the election. With his popularity already soaring after winning the NATO referendum on March, politically turned into a plebiscite on his premiership, the election results further strengthened his political position by securing him a new mandate to continue the reforms already in place since in 1982. Nonetheless, the election unveiled the first signs of weariness of the PSOE government, as it suffered major losses in support in the major urban centers, the same that had set out the seed for González's landslide victory in 1982. In the Madrid Community the PSOE suffered the most, scoring a bare 40% from the 52% it had secured four years previously. Despite this, discontent towards the government did not translate into major inroads for other parties. Voters' apathy and the absence of strong alternatives to the Socialists translating into a substantial increase of the abstention rate, which rose to 29.5% from the 20.0% of 1982.

The centre-right People's Coalition failed to secure substantial gains from the 1982 result of the AP–PDP alliance, experiencing small gains in Castile and León, Extremadura and Melilla but falling elsewhere. Adolfo Suárez's Democratic and Social Centre (CDS) virtually took over the place of the defunct UCD with nearly 2 million votes and 19 seats. On the other hand, results for the Democratic Reformist Party (PRD) of Miquel Roca were an unmitigated disaster and a blow to Roca's national aspirations, disbanding shortly thereafter. Its Catalan counterpart Convergence and Union (CiU), however, made significant gains in the Socialist stronghold of Catalonia, dramatically closing the gap with the PSC to just 9 points from a 23-point lead in 1982. The newly formed United Left coalition was able to slightly improve over the PCE's result in 1982, despite the split of former party leader Santiago Carrillo's MUC, which was unable to gain parliamentary representation.

In the election aftermath, the People's Coalition found itself into a state of deep crisis after results showed it was unable to garner the support of the centre voters. The People's Democratic Party immediately broke away from the Coalition after the election; its 21 MPs forming their own parliamentary caucus in the Congress of Deputies, thus reducing the Coalition's parliamentary strength to 84. Manuel Fraga would resign as AP leader after the party's disastrous results in the November 1986 Basque regional election, deepening a party crisis that would last until its refoundation into the People's Party in 1989.[63]


Government formation[edit]

Felipe González (PSOE)
Ballot → 23 July 1986
Required majority → 176 out of 350 checkY
184 / 350
144 / 350
6 / 350
  • AP (11)
  • HB (5)
16 / 350

1987 motion of no confidence[edit]

Motion of no confidence
Antonio Hernández Mancha (AP)
Ballot → 30 March 1987
Required majority → 176 out of 350 ☒N
  • AP (66)
  • UV (1)
67 / 350
194 / 350
71 / 350
18 / 350


  1. ^ Given that HB deputies did not usually take their seats, the number of deputies needed for a majority was in practice slightly lower. HB won 5 seats, meaning a practical majority required at least 173 seats.
  2. ^ a b Results for AP–PDP in the 1982 election.
  3. ^ a b The PRD, CiU and CG contested the election separately and under their own brands, but agreed to field Miguel Roca as their joint prime ministerial candidate and did not compete against each other in the same geographical regions.
  4. ^ a b Results for CiU in the 1982 election.
  5. ^ a b Results for PCE (4.02%, 4 deputies and 0 senators) and NE (0.15%, 0 seats) in the 1982 election.
  6. ^ María Victoria Fernández-España, former AP legislator; Manuel Gallent, former PDP legislator; Anastasio Modrego, former PL legislator; Vicente Ramos, former UV legislator.
  7. ^ Fernando Gil and José Rodríguez, former AP legislators; Guillermo Fernández, former PSOE legislator; Luis Merino, former UCD legislator; Narcís Oliveras, former UDC legislator.
  8. ^ a b CiU (5 senators) and ERC (2 senators) contested the 1982 Senate election within the CatSen alliance.
  9. ^ a b The PAR (2 deputies and 2 senators) and UV (2 deputies and 0 senators) contested the 1982 election in alliance with AP–PDP.
  10. ^ The percentage of blank ballots is calculated over the official number of valid votes cast, irrespective of the total number of votes shown as a result of adding up the individual results for each party.


  1. ^ "Sinopsis artículo 66". Constitución española (in Spanish). Congress of Deputies. Retrieved 12 September 2020, summarizing Const. Esp. (1978), tit. III art. 66.
  2. ^ Carreras de Odriozola & Tafunell Sambola 2005, pp. 1077.
  3. ^ Const. Esp. (1978), tit. III art. 68.
  4. ^ a b c d Ley Orgánica 5/1985, de 19 de junio, del Régimen Electoral General (Organic Law 5/1985). BOE (in Spanish). Vol. 147. Spain: Jefatura del Estado [Head of State] (published 1985-06-20). 1985-06-19. BOE-A-1985-11672. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  5. ^ Gallagher, Michael (30 July 2012). "Effective threshold in electoral systems". Trinity College, Dublin. Archived from the original on 30 July 2017. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Real Decreto 794/1986, de 22 de abril, de disolución del Congreso de los Diputados y del Senado y de convocatoria de elecciones" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado (in Spanish) (97): 14439. 23 April 1986. ISSN 0212-033X.
  7. ^ Const. Esp. (1978), tit. III art. 69.
  8. ^ Const. Esp. (1978), tit. IV art. 99.
  9. ^ Jáuregui, Fernando (6 April 1986). "El Gobierno, partidario de celebrar las elecciones en otoño, pese a las presiones en contra de un sector del PSOE". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  10. ^ "Felipe González quiere respetar la "fecha simbólica" de las elecciones en el mes de octubre". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. 11 April 1986. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  11. ^ "Felipe González reitera su voluntad de agotar la legislatura". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. 16 April 1986. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  12. ^ "Guerra mantiene la ambigüedad sobre la fecha de las elecciones". El País (in Spanish). Seville. 13 April 1986. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  13. ^ Jáuregui, Fernando (15 April 1986). "La oposición conservadora, convencida de que el Ejecutivo, pretende adelantar a junio las elecciones legislativas". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  14. ^ Jáuregui, Fernando (19 April 1986). "La oposición asegura que el PSOE ha comenzado a contratar vallas publicitarias para el mes de junio". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  15. ^ Jáuregui, Fernando (22 April 1986). "El equipo económico convenció a González para anticipar los comicios". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  16. ^ Gómez, Carlos (28 January 1983). "En 1983 se mantendrá el déficit en el 6%, del PIB". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  17. ^ "El déficit por cuenta corriente superó los 4.000 millones de dólares en el pasado año". El País (in Spanish). 3 February 1983. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  18. ^ "El Gobierno expropia los bancos y todas las empresas del Grupo Rumasa". El País (in Spanish). 24 February 1983. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  19. ^ "El Gobierno aprueba la jornada laboral de 40 horas semanales". El País (in Spanish). 23 December 1982. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  20. ^ Prades, Joaquina (14 April 1983). "El 'tiempo del bocadillo' lo pagará el empresario, según el dictamen de la Comisión de Política Social". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  21. ^ Roldán, Juan (3 December 1983). "Felipe González afirma que la reconversión industrial "es fundamental para nuestra puesta al día" con Europa". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  22. ^ a b c Prieto, Joaquín (30 November 2012). "La revolución felipista". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  23. ^ a b Calvo Hernando, Pedro (6 December 1998). "1983: Rumasa y la Ley del Aborto". El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  24. ^ Serrano, Rodolfo (10 May 1985). "40.000 futuros pensionistas tendrán que trabajar hasta después de los 65 años para tener derecho a la jubilación". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  25. ^ "UGT convoca manifestaciones contra la reforma de pensiones propuesta por el Gobierno". El País (in Spanish). 17 May 1985. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  26. ^ González, Jesús-Sérvulo (10 February 2012). "Tres décadas de reformas laborales". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  27. ^ Díez, Anabel (1 November 1985). "La sanidad pública alcanzará al 98% de la población, según el proyecto del Gobierno". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  28. ^ a b "Los gobiernos democráticos (1979–2000)" (PDF). Junta de Andalucía (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  29. ^ "El Grupo Vasco apoya las medidas contra ETA explicadas por González en el Congreso, "aunque no nos gustan"". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. 4 November 1983. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  30. ^ "El Gobierno refuerza la supremacía del poder civil sobre el militar". El País (in Spanish). 27 October 1983. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  31. ^ "Los salarios de los miembros de las Fuerzas Armadas serán aumentados en un 15% en 1984". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. 29 December 1983. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  32. ^ Yárnoz, Carlos (12 January 1984). "El Gobierno aprueba la renovación de todos los miembros de la Junta de Jefes de Estado Mayor". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  33. ^ Yárnoz, Carlos (31 January 1984). "Los tres ejércitos quedan integrados por prímera vez en la estructura orgánica y funcional de Defensa". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  34. ^ García Candau, Julián (15 November 1984). "Felipe González reafirma ante el Congreso que el PSOE no ha recibido fondos de la RFA desde que fue legalizado". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  35. ^ García Candau, Julián (1 March 1985). "El Congreso absuelve a Felipe González en el 'caso Flick'". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  36. ^ Ortega, Andrés (31 March 1985). "España ingresará en la CEE el 1 de enero de 1986". El País (in Spanish). Brussels. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  37. ^ Ortega, Andrés; Hidalgo, Luis F. (13 June 1985). "A las 20.53 de ayer España firmó el tratado e adhesión a la Comunidad Económica Europea". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  38. ^ Portero, Florentino. "EEC, NATO and Spain". Cuenta y Razón (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 August 2015.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)[dead link]
  39. ^ Juliá 1999, p. 266-267.
  40. ^ "El proceso de desintegración de UCD se acelera con peticiones de bajas en numerosas regiones". El País (in Spanish). 16 December 1982. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  41. ^ a b "La crisis de UCD culmina con la decisión de disolverse como partido político". El País (in Spanish). 19 February 1983. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  42. ^ Jáuregui, Fernando (6 November 1983). "Fraga llama a unirse en la 'mayoría natural' a todos los "no socialistas ni separatistas"". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  43. ^ a b Prades, Joaquina (14 October 1983). "El Partido Reformista pretende captar cinco millones de votos que considera de centro". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  44. ^ Prieto, Joaquín (19 June 1984). "A Felipe González no le parece mal la 'operación Roca'". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  45. ^ Jáuregui, Fernando (7 September 1984). "Todos los partidos de la oposición planean un incremento del acoso a la gestión del Gobierno de Felipe González". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  46. ^ Jáuregui, Fernando (8 December 1983). "El 'renacimiento' económico del partido de Adolfo Suárez recrudece la batalla por el centro". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  47. ^ "Tres ofertas para un solo espacio de centro". El País (in Spanish). 6 May 1984. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  48. ^ Jáuregui, Fernando (17 January 1985). "Las crecientes diferencias entre Coalición Popular y el partido reformista alejan la posibilidad de un pacto". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  49. ^ Jáuregui, Fernando (20 April 1985). "Disminuyen las posibilidades de acuerdo entre el CDS y el partido de Roca". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  50. ^ "Iglesias ganó el congreso del PCE, pero no evitó la división del partido". ABC Sevilla (in Spanish). 20 December 1983. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  51. ^ Prieto, Joaquín (16 January 1984). "El congreso de los comunistas prosoviéticos eligió por unanimidad a Ignacio Gallego como secretario general". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  52. ^ Jáuregui, Fernando (20 April 1985). "Santiago Carrillo y 18 de sus seguidores, expulsados de los órganos de dirección del PCE". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  53. ^ González Ibáñez, Juan (18 October 1985). "Carrillo comienza a construir su nuevo partido". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  54. ^ "Grupos Parlamentarios en el Congreso de los Diputados y el Senado". Historia Electoral.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 October 2022.
  55. ^ a b "Composición del Senado 1977-2024". Historia Electoral.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 October 2022.
  56. ^ "Grupos parlamentarios". Congress of Deputies (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  57. ^ "Grupos Parlamentarios desde 1977". Senate of Spain (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  58. ^ "Formalizada la coalición AP-PDP-UL en todas las provincias". El País (in Spanish). 22 March 1983. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  59. ^ "PSOE poster – 1986 general election". archivoelectoral.org. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  60. ^ a b c d e f g h "Lemas contra lemas". El País (in Spanish). 9 June 1986. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  61. ^ "La campaña de Coalición Popular no se centrará en Fraga". El País (in Spanish). 17 May 1986. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  62. ^ "CDS poster – 1986 general election". archivoelectoral.org. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  63. ^ a b Marín 2001, p. 391-392.
  64. ^ "González warns that if the PSOE does not obtain an absolute majority there will be an alliance of "non-Socialists"". El País (in Spanish). 1986-05-31.
  65. ^ "Gonzalez makes a weekends' campaign without contact with his bases". El País (in Spanish). 1986-06-14.
  66. ^ "Felipe González will not enter into a 'melee' with any political adversary". El País (in Spanish). 1986-06-11.
  67. ^ "The PSOE offers a "medium-term economic planning"". El País (in Spanish). 1986-05-15.
  68. ^ "Felipe González: "There is a lot of pressure for us to not win a majority"". El País (in Spanish). 1986-06-15.
  69. ^ "The People's Coalition campaign will not be centered around Fraga". El País (in Spanish). 1986-05-17.
  70. ^ "Fraga invites non-Socialist forces to a post-election agreement". El País (in Spanish). 1986-05-21.
  71. ^ "Fraga wants to privatize the second channel of TVE". El País (in Spanish). 1986-05-20.
  72. ^ Marín 2001, p. 393.
  73. ^ "The main members of the Platform of the United Left conclude the electoral agreement today". El País (in Spanish). 1986-04-27.
  74. ^ Marín 2001, p. 400.
  75. ^ "The communists, within United Left". El País (in Spanish). 1986-06-09.
  76. ^ a b "Elecciones celebradas. Resultados electorales". Ministry of the Interior (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  77. ^ a b "Elecciones Generales 22 de junio de 1986". Historia Electoral.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  78. ^ "Elecciones al Senado 1986". Historia Electoral.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  79. ^ a b "Congress of Deputies: Most important votes". Historia Electoral (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 September 2017.