Ayuntamiento (Spain)

An Ayuntamiento is the body charged with the government and administration of the municipalities in Spain not bound to the regime of concejo abierto ("open council").[n. 1]

An ayuntamiento is formed by a Mayor (Alcalde) and the elected councillors, who compose the Plenary (Pleno). In municipalities with over 5000 inhabitants, a Government Commission (Junta de Gobierno or Comisión de Gobierno) is mandatory, while the existence of the body in municipalities under that population is at the discretion of the Plenary or the regulations of the Ayuntamiento.[1][2]

Since the 1978 Spanish Constitution, the Ayuntamiento follows a collegiate-representative model, with features of a corporative organism such as the double presidency of both the deliberative body (the Plenary) and the executive body by the Mayor, and the formation of the Government Commission exclusively by elected councillors.[3]

Unlike in other European countries the Mayor is not directly elected.[4];he is invested by the councillors. The indirect election, stated in the 1978 Law of Local Elections was confirmed in the 1985 Organic Law of the General Electoral Regime.[5] The system of municipal organization is described in the 1985 Law Regulatory of the Basis of the Local Regime (LRBRL).[6] A 11/1999 Law superseding some features of the LRBRL set increased powers for the Mayor, but the plenary also gained more scrutiny over these powers.[3] The Plenary lacks legislative autonomy.[7]

The method by which the mayor is elected is as follows. If no head of list of each electoral list commands an absolute majority of the votes of the councillors in the Plenary, the head of list of the most voted list becomes Mayor.[8] The executive arm includes the Mayor, the tenientes de alcalde (English: deputy mayors) and the executive committee formed by a number of the elected councillors (Spanish: Junta or Consejo de Gobierno).[4] While the plenary retains the vote of censure to remove the Mayor, the system confers much power upon the Mayor, which has become a point of controversy.[9]

The municipalities of Madrid and Barcelona have a special system,[10] regulated by the 2006 Law of Capitality and Special Regime in the case of the Ayuntamiento of Madrid and by the Municipal Charter of Barcelona, approved in the 22/1998 Catalan law in the case of Barcelona.[11]


  1. ^ According to the article 19 of the Law 7/1985 regulating the basis of the local government, the Ayuntamiento, formed by the Mayor and the Councillors, is charged with the municipal government and administration.[1] Under the concejo abierto system, which exists in the municipalities under 100 inhabitants, in municipalities with a tradition of using the system or in the case of geographical circumstances that favor it, the government and administration are performed by the mayor and the "neighboring assembly" (Asamblea vecinal).


  1. ^ a b Spain: "Ley 7/1985, de 2 de abril, Reguladora de las Bases del Régimen Local". Boletín Oficial del Estado núm. 80 de 3 de abril de 1985 (in Spanish): 8945–8964. ISSN 0212-033X.
  2. ^ Moreno Sardà, Molina Rodríguez-Navas & Corcoy Rius 2013, p. 509.
  3. ^ a b Zafra Víctor 2004, p. 107.
  4. ^ a b Cools & Verbeek 2013.
  5. ^ Márquez Cruz 2010, p. 44.
  6. ^ Márquez Cruz 1999, p. 312.
  7. ^ Zafra Víctor 2004, p. 108.
  8. ^ "Electoral Systems and Voting Procedures at Local Level". Local and Regional Authorities in Europe. Council of Europe (68): 35. January 1999. ISBN 9287139830.
  9. ^ Canel 1994, p. 49.
  10. ^ Márquez Cruz 2010, p. 39.
  11. ^ Rodríguez Álvarez 2010, pp. 85–86.