The Congress and Senate were disolved on 24 September 2019. The will be reopened on 3 December 2019.

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14 OCTOBER 2019


Dictionary of terms

General terms

Call (back) to the matter.

Power held by the Speaker of the House aimed at maintaining order in debate, requesting a member of parliament who currently has the floor to limit his or her intervention to the matter at hand, if it is felt that said member is digressing to issues beyond the scope of the debate or returns to a matter that has already been discussed or voted on

Call to order.

Power held by the Speaker of the House aimed at maintaining order in discussions and directing debates when a member utters words that are offensive to the decorum of the House or to its members, the institutions of State, or any other person or entity, or when the course of the debate is altered by means of interruptions or in any other manner. Having called a member to order three times within a single sitting or session, the Speaker may forbid said member, without discussion, from attending the rest of the session and may even extend this prohibition to the following sitting. In the case of repeated offence or failing to comply with the requirements to abandon the chamber or room, more serious penalties may be imposed, including suspension from the parliamentary position for a maximum of one month.


Room where Plenary Sittings are held, distributed in the form of a semicircle.

Chamber of sittings.

Physical space that holds parliamentary sittings. The term chamber is reserved for the main room in parliament where the Plenary Sitting meets, to distinguish it from smaller rooms used for Committees and Reporting Bodies.

Collective agreement for Senate staff.

Agreement reached between the representatives of the Parliamentary Administration and the union representatives of staff working at the Senate, approved by the Senate Bureau, which regulates the legal conditions and status of members of staff who work in the Senate, establishing conditions governing access to such positions, rights and obligations, and disciplinary proceedings


Functional parliamentary body, made up of a small number of members of the House in proportion to the numerical weight of their Group in the House, with authority in certain matters and which occasionally acts as a preparatory body for the activity of the Plenary Sittings and, in other cases, as a body with its own competences. There are several types of Committees: standing (legislative and non-legislative), investigative, special and mixed (Congress of Deputies and Senate). The key competences of Committees are to rule on legislative texts and hold informative sessions with members of Government, authorities, civil servants and other figures, and to channel oral questions and motions.

Committee Speaker.

Committees choose a Bureau from among their members to act as their governing body, made up of a Speaker, two Deputy Speakers and two Secretaries. The Speaker of the Committee performs a number of functions within the sphere of the Committee, including the convening of Committee meetings, establishing the agenda, having consulted with the respective Bureau, chairing meetings and structuring debates.

Conference of Parliament Speakers from the European Union and the European Parliament.

Forum made up of the Parliamentary Speakers from all the Member States of the European Union and the Speaker of the European Parliament. The latest meetings have also included the Speakers of Assemblies from candidate countries. The aim is to promote dialogue and the exchange of good practices among the member Parliaments and to coordinate inter-parliamentary cooperation between them. It meets on an annual basis.

Conference of Parliamentary Speakers from around the world.

Forum that brings together Parliamentary Speakers from all around the world under the auspices of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and which aims to express, at the highest level, the commitment of parliaments to strengthening multilateral international systems, peace, democracy and human rights. It meets every five years.

Conference of Speakers for European Parliamentary Assemblies.

Forum made up of the Speakers of the national Parliaments from the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe and those which are classed as official observers in the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly. It meets on a biannual basis. The aim is to tackle specific current affairs and issues on the basis of discussion documents prepared previously by the host country.

Confidence motion/vote.

Instrument demanding political responsibility from the Government regulated by section 112 of the Spanish Constitution, which enables the President of the Government, having previously consulted with the Council of Ministers, to raise a request for the Congress of Deputies to express its confidence in the programme or general policy statement of the Government itself. Confidence will be understood to have been given when a simple majority of Deputies vote in favour. If the Congress does not give its confidence to the Government, the latter must tender its resignation to the King.

Congress of Deputies.

Parliamentary House comprising 350 Deputies, chosen by universal, equal, direct and secret suffrage in the terms established by law. It represents the Spanish people and has legislative functions, as well as political supervisory functions and the authority to appoint members of constitutional bodies, among others.


In the initial stage of the legislative procedure, and to perfect the legislative initiative when the proposal is made by the members themselves, parliamentary groups, regional parliaments, or if it is a legislative initiative of the people (section 87.2 and 3 of the Constitution), the Senate Plenary Sitting (when dealing with proposals from Senators or Parliamentary Groups from the House) or the Plenary Sitting of the Congress of Deputies (in the other cases outlined above) must make said proposal their own by debating the initiative as a whole and subsequently voting through a ballot which requires a simple majority.

Considered opinion.

Document send by the Senate to the Congress of Deputies at the conclusion of legislative proceedings informing the Congress if it has approved the veto or amendments submitted by said House with regard to a legislative initiative, setting forth the reasons for the agreements reached.

Constitutional allowance.

One of the remunerative packages received by members for the performance of their functions, which is allocated in the House Budget.

Constitutional bodies.

Institutions outlined in the Constitution which make up the political structure of the State. They are the Crown, Parliament, Government, the General Council of Judicial Power and the Constitutional Court.

Constitutional reform.

Modification of the constitutional text by virtue of which content is added or removed, or the existing text is replaced. The Spanish Constitution is classed as rigid because any reforms require supermajorities (sections 167 and 168).

Constitutional sitting of the Senate.

First sitting of the Senate following general elections, which marks the start of the Legislature. At the constitutional sitting of the Senate, the members of the Senate Bureau are elected: the Speaker, two Deputy Speakers and four Secretaries. Additionally, Senators swear an oath of allegiance or observance of the Constitution.


Act of calling on members of collegiate bodies to meet and validly adopt agreements. In the case of Parliament, section 67.3 of the Constitution establishes that meetings of members which are held without being officially convened will not be binding for the Houses and cannot perform their functions or enjoy their privileges. Furthermore, section 79.1 of the Constitution determines that in order to adopt agreements, members of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate must meet in accordance with the stipulations of the Standing Orders, which set out the need for a meeting to be convened in advance.


Stage in the ballot which involves counting all the votes cast.


Document issued by the Provincial Electoral Board which certificates that a candidate standing for Senator or Deputy has been elected in the corresponding elections. In the case of Senators appointed by Self-Governing Communities, credentials are issued by their respective regional Parliament.