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Murcia (Spanish Congress Electoral District)

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Murcia (Spanish Congress Electoral District)

Location of Murcia electoral district in Spain.

Murcia is one of the 52 electoral districts (Spanish: circunscripciones) used for the Spanish Congress of Deputies - the lower chamber of the Spanish Parliament, the Cortes Generales. It was first contested in modern times in the 1977 General Election. Murcia and Cartagena are the largest towns and together account for almost half of the electorate. Lorca is the only other municipality with more than 50,000 voters. The district has produced some of the strongest performances for the People's Party in recent years and in the 2008 election it produced their highest vote share of all 52 districts.

Boundaries and electoral system

Under Article 68 of the Spanish constitution [1] the boundaries must be the same as the autonomous community of Murcia and under Article 140 this can only be altered with the approval of congress. Voting is on the basis of universal suffrage in a secret ballot. The electoral system used is closed list proportional representation with seats allocated using the D'Hondt method. Only lists which poll 3% or more of all valid votes cast, including votes "en blanco" i.e. for "none of the above" can be considered for seats. Under article 12 of the constitution, the minimum voting age is 18.

At the time of the 2008 election, Murcia was the largest municipality with 296,000 voters out of the district's total electorate of 950,000. This was followed by Cartagena with 146,000, Lorca (57,000), Alacantarilla (28,000), Yecla (23,000) and Águilas (22,000.)[2]

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Electoral procedures

The laws regulating the conduct and administration of elections are laid out in detail in the 1985 electoral law. (Ley Orgánica del Régimen Electoral General.[3]) Under this law, the elections in Murcia, as in other districts, are supervised by the Electoral Commission (Junta Electoral), a permanent body composed of eight Supreme Court judges and five political scientists or sociologists appointed by the Congress of Deputies. The Electoral commission is supported in its work by the Interior Ministry. On election day, polling stations are run by electoral boards which consist of groups of citizens selected by lottery.[4]

The format of the ballot paper is designed by the Spanish state, however, the law allows political parties to produce and distribute their own ballot papers, either by mailing them to voters or by other means such as street distribution, provided that they comply with the official model. The government then covers the cost of all printed ballot papers. These must then be marked by voters, either in the polling station or outside the polling station and placed inside sealed envelopes which are then placed inside ballot boxes in the polling station. Following the close of polls, the ballots are then counted in each individual polling station in the presence of representatives of the political parties and candidates. The ballots are then immediately destroyed, with the exception of those considered invalid or challenged by the candidates' representatives, which are retained for further scrutiny. The result is that full recounts are impossible.[5]

Eligibility

Article 67.3 of the Spanish Constitution prohibits dual membership of the Cortes and regional assemblies, meaning that candidates must resign from Regional Assemblies if elected. Article 70 also makes active judges, magistrates, public defenders, serving military personnel, active police officers and members of constitutional and electoral tribunals ineligible.[1]

Number of members

From the 1977 General Election onwards Murcia returned eight members. It gained a ninth seat for the 1989 General Election and has elected ten members since the 2008 election.

Under Spanish electoral law, all provinces are entitled to a minimum of 2 seats with a remaining 248 seats apportioned according to population.[6] These laws are laid out in detail in the 1985 electoral law. (Ley Orgánica del Régimen Electoral General) The practical effect of this law has been to overrepresent smaller provinces at the expense of larger provinces.

In 2004 Spain had 34,571,831 voters giving an average of 98,777 voters per deputy.[7] In Murcia the ratio was 104,572.[8]

Summary of seats won 1977-2008

1977 1979 1982 1986 1989 1993 1996 2000 2004 2008
Democratic Centre Union (UCD) 4 4
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 4 4 5 5 5 4 3 3 3 3
People's Party (PP) 3 3 3 4 5 6 6 7
United Left (IU) 1 1
Democratic and Social Centre (CDS) 1
Seats 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 10

Seats shown for the People's Party include seats won by their predecessors, the Popular Alliance and the Popular Coalition before 1989.

Vote share summary 1977-2008

1977 1979 1982 1986 1989 1993 1996 2000 2004 2008
Democratic Centre Union (UCD) 40.7 39.1 6.5
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 34.9 39.2 50.8 48.9 46.1 38.6 38.0 32.4 35.0 32.9
People's Party (PP) 6.8 5.7 35.6 34.3 30.0 47.3 49.9 58.1 57.4 61.2
United Left (IU) 6.7 7.9 3.8 4.5 9.2 9.7 10.5 6.2 4.3 2.9
Popular Socialist Party (PSP) 5.1
Democratic and Social Centre (CDS) 1.9 8.3 10.4 2.2 0.3 0.1 0.2

Results

Murcia has been one of the best districts for the PP in recent years. In the 2004 election it produced their third best result in percentage terms after Ávila and Ceuta. Overall, in the 2004 election, the PP vote dropped by 7.8% and the PSOE vote increased by 8.4%, in Murcia the PP vote dropped by only 0.7% and the PSOE vote grew by just 2.6% .

In 2004 in the largest municipalities, Cartagena produced a result close to the average. PP did better in Murcia municipality where they led PSOE by 30%. Lorca produced a better result for PSOE as they were only 7% behind the PP.

Prior to the 2008 election, opinion polls had pointed to the prospect of the PSOE gaining the tenth, additional seat which had been granted to the district.[9] However in the actual election, Murcia produced the PP's highest vote share of all districts allowing them to gain the tenth seat. In the wake of the 2008 election result, the Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, highlighted Murcia as one of five areas where the PSOE needed to improve its results.[10]

2008 General Election

 Summary of the 11 March 2008 Congress of Deputies election results in Murcia.
Parties and alliances Votes % Seats Members elected
People's Party (Partido Popular) 469,380 61.24 7 María Barreiro Álvarez, Vicente Martínez-Pujalte, Andrés Ayala Sánchez, Jaime García-Legaz Ponce, Lourdes Méndez Monasterio, Alberto Garre López, Arsenio Pacheco Atienza
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español) 251,822 32.85 3 Mariano Fernández Bermejo, José Marmol Peñalver, Sara García Ruiz
United Left (Izquierda Unida) 22,512 2.94 0
Union, Progress and Democracy 7,172 0.94 0
Los Verdes 3,496 0.46 0
Others 7,393 0.90 0

2004 General Election

 Summary of the 14 March 2004 Congress of Deputies election results in Murcia.
Parties and alliances Votes % Seats Members elected
People's Party (Partido Popular) 413,902 57.42 6
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español) 252,246 35.00 3
United Left (Izquierda Unida) 30,787 4.27 0
Los Verdes 7,074 0.98 0
Others 6,435 0.90 0

2000 General Election

 Summary of the 12 March 2000 Congress of Deputies election results in Murcia.
Parties and alliances Votes % Seats Members elected
People's Party (Partido Popular) 389,564 58.08 6
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español) 217,179 32.38 3
United Left 41,842 6.24 0
Los Verdes 6,555 0.98 0
Others 8,359 1.20 0

1996 General Election

 Summary of the 3 March 1996 Congress of Deputies election results in Murcia.
Parties and alliances Votes % Seats Members elected
People's Party (Partido Popular) 350,337 49.89 5
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español) 266,738 37.99 3
United Left 73,961 10.53 1
Others 5,640 0.80 0

Source:[11]

External links

  • List of members by year

References

  1. ^ a b Spanish Constitution
  2. ^ "Number of voters by municipality 2008". Spanish census office. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  3. ^ "Law governing electoral procedures". Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  4. ^ "OSCE observers task force report on 2008 Spanish election" (PDF). Organisation for security and cooperation in Europe OSCE. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  5. ^ "OSCE observers task force report on 2004 Spanish election" (PDF). Organisation for security and cooperation in Europe, OSCE. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  6. ^ General features of Spanish electoral system
  7. ^ 2004 Spanish election
  8. ^ Murcia 2004 election results
  9. ^ El Pais 3 March 2008 accessed 18-04-2009
  10. ^ "Zapatero asks PSOE to improve results in Murcia and Valencia". europapress.es. Retrieved 2008-11-29. (Spanish)
  11. ^ Interior ministry link to election results

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