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Report No. 255

(iii) Spain

3.16.1. Unlike Germany and Portugal, Spain only regulates the actions of its political parties, not their aims or intentions. The enabling provision of the Constitution states as follows:

"Section 6: Political parties are the expression of political pluralism, they contribute to the formation and expression of the will of the people and are an essential instrument for political participation. Their creation and the exercise of their activities are free in so far as they respect the Constitution and the law. Their internal structure and their functioning must be democratic."

3.16.2. The substantive law containing provisions related to the internal regulation and banning of political parties is the Institutional Law No. 6/2002 on Political Parties or the Organic Law (Ley Orgánica 6/2002 de Partidos PolĂ­ticos).147 Article 6 of the Law requires the organisation, operation, and activity of political parties to adhere to democratic principles.

Article 7 stipulates that the internal structure and functioning of political parties must be democratic; elections to governing bodies be provided by secret ballot; and all elected leaders be democratically controlled. Article 8 provides that members of parties are entitled by right to be voters and candidates for the offices thereof.

147. Organic Law No. 6/2002, of 27 June, Political Parties,

3.16.3. In contradistinction to the German position, Article 9 of the Spanish law regulates activity, and not ideology of political parties. It states that political parties may freely engage in activities, as long as they respect constitutional values of democratic principles and human rights, and as long as they perform their functions democratically. However, parties can be declared illegal if their activities violate democratic principles by:

  • Systematically violating fundamental freedoms and rights, by attacks on the life and integrity of persons.
  • Fomenting violence to achieve political ends such by legitimising the use of terrorist actions for political ends or creating conditions of coercion.
  • Providing assistance and political support to the actions of terrorist organisations to undermine peace such as by including the names of convicted terrorists in party directing bodies or candidate lists. Id.; Herri Batasuna and Batasuna v. Spain, Applications nos. 25803/04 and 25817/04, Fifth Section of the ECHR decided on 6th November 2009

3.16.4. Article 10 further provides for a court-ordered dissolution of a political party, when it repeatedly and seriously infringes the requirement of Articles 7 and 8 to have a democratic internal structure operate democratically. Pursuant to a judicial order, the party, vide Article 12, cease all its activities and liquidates its assets, which are then transferred to the Treasury to be used for social and humanitarian purposes.

3.16.5. Clearly, unlike India, countries in Western Europe regulate either the ideologies or the practice of political parties.

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