Spain

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GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Population


Total population (millions): 41.3
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 77%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 0.4%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km²) : 505,99


Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Spanish 72.2
Catalan 16.4
Galician 8.2
Basque 2.4
Other 0.8



Main Cities Population
Madrid 3 128 600
Barcelona 1 605 602
Valencia 805 304
Sevilla 704 414
Zaragoza 649 181
Málaga 560 631



Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Madrid (GMT+1 in winter, GMT+2 in summer).
Summer time from March to October



Languages
Official language: Castillan (Spanish). Nevertheless, certain autonomous regions use their regional language, recognised by the constitution, and to do business included (Basque, Catalan, but also to a certain extend Galician, Mallorcan and Valencian). The business language is also Spanish.

Free translation tools

Babel Fish
Free English-Spanish-English translation of texts and web pages

Systran
Free French-Spanish-French translation of texts and web pages

Dictionarios.com
Free Spanish-Catalan-English-French Dictionary

Eurodicautom
The European Union Dictionary (12 languages avalaible)





Religion
Religious practises : Catholics 94.5%
Muslims 1.2%
Protestants 0.4%
Others 3.9%.


Political context

Spain is a constitutional monarchy based on parliamentary democracy. Spain (official name: Kingdom of Spain) has highly decentralised power structure, with its autonomous communities having wide legislative and executive autonomy.
King is the chief of state. The monarchy is hereditary. King is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces; otherwise King’s role is largely ceremonial. Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed as Prime Minister by the monarch and elected by the parliament (lower house) to serve a four-year term. The Prime Minister is the head of the government, also called President of the Government. Prime Minister enjoys the executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. The Council of Ministers (cabinet) is appointed by the President on recommendation of the Prime Minister. There also exits a Council of State that is the supreme consultative organ of the government, but its recommendations are non-binding.
The legislature in Spain is bicameral. The parliament called National Assembly consist of: Senate (the upper house) having 259 seats, with its 208 members directly elected by popular vote and the remaining 51 appointed by the regional legislatures to serve four-year terms; and the Congress of Deputies (the lower house) having 350 seats, with its members elected by popular vote from closed party lists by proportional representation to serve four-year terms. The executive branch of government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the parliament. Prime Minister does not have the power to dissolve the parliament directly but can recommend its dissolution to the King. The people of Spain enjoy considerable political rights.
Judiciary is largely independent in Spain, however it has been affected by Basque terrorism as judicial officials and law enforcement officers have been targets of separatist group ETA. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1978. The country’s legal system is based on civil law system, with regional variations. Being a member of the European Union, the national law in Spain needs to comply with the conditions of the Community legislation. Spain accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations. The people of Spain enjoy considerable political rights.
Spain is largely ruled by law. Foreign nationals can normally expect an impartial trial from the country’s judicial system. Political corruption remains an issue in Spain.


Major political parties

Though Spain has a multi-party system, but in reality it is a two-party dominant system where it is extremely difficulty for any other political party to achieve electoral success. Regional parties can be strong in the autonomous communities which make them essential for making of coalition governments. The two largest parties in the country are: PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party) – a democratic socialist party, second oldest, PP (People’s Party) – is the largest liberal conservative political party in Spain, The other important parties are:
- IU (United Left) - a coalition of parties around Communist Party of Spain (PCE);
- CiU (Convergence and Unity) - a conservative, nationalist party based in Catalonia, supports free market economy;
- PNV (Basque Nationalist Party) – a centre-right political party in the Basque Country.


Major political leaders

King: JUAN CARLOS I (since November 1975) – hereditary
President of the Government and Prime Minister: Jose Luis RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO (since April 2004) - PSOE


Next political election dates

Senate: March 2008
Congress of Deputies: March 2008




Climate

 

 

 


Tourism


Number of visitors in Spain 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 53,599 55,914 58,451 3
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005

 

Tourist sites
-Prado Museum ( Madrid)
-Escurial (North West of Madrid)
-Modernism Road (Barcelro, Gaudi's works)
-Picasso Museum (Barcelona
-Fine Arts Museum (Sevilla)
-Alhambra ( Granada)
-Roman Theater ( Merida)
-Modern Art Museum of Bilbao: Güggenheim
-Alcazar ( Toleda)

For more information about tourism in Spain , check out the following web site(s) :
Spanish Tourism Board



Food


Traditional dishes
Fried squids, gazpacho and tapas.
Caldereta: Lamb stew: Shepherd's dish par excellence, this Spanish dish holds its name from the cast-iron cauldron, " the caldereta ", in which it was originally made. It is an adaptable dish, allowing any kind of local ingredients such as wine, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, red and green peppers and garlic can be added. In Extremadura's old recipes, the cooking juice is thickened with dried bread-crumbs, lamb liver and almonds, mixed up with a meat stock to make a sort of dough.
Paëlla: typical Spanish dish; it is saffron rice based with seafood and meat or poultry. The real paëlla is prepared in a big special pan, round and shallow flat shaped with two handles, often in big cast-iron so that it can been used either in the oven or on live charcoal
Churros: In Spain, churros are part of the popular tradition as well as hot chocolate. The dough is generally molded in a cartridge with a tip in star shape to form strips of the length of a hand. Once they are fried, they are piled and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon on top.


Last modified on December 2006

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