Federalism and Democracy in the Basque Country

The Spanish Federal Challenge
  • Jule Goikoetxea


This paper shows how the Basque political system, articulated in the Law of the Historic Territories, has checked the tendency that political and economic power has to centralize and concentrate by introducing an institutional distribution of these powers by territory and constitutionalizing them. It will be argued that this distinctive pattern of distributing power and political autonomy has led to a differentiated (Basque) federal democracy. This thesis will be developed by showing how the institutional system has determined a particular socio-economic structure and how both of these, in turn, have shaped specific democratic and federal practices and demands. A systematic analysis of the processes that have featured these practices and demands might clarify the conditions under which the antagonism between ‘constitutionalists and nationalists’ occurs. The inquiry into the political and socio-economic context in which this confrontation takes place could shed light on what federal arrangements would best nurture democratic governance of Spanish diversity—not only cultural but also political and territorial.


Social Cohesion Basque Country Free Association Shared Rule Active Labor Market Policy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St Edmund’s CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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