Freedom in the World
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Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
In response to declining opinion polls following the introduction of unpopular austerity measures, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in October introduced the most significant changes to his cabinet since taking power in 2004. In September, the Basque separatist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) called another ceasefire, though a bomb was detonated shortly thereafter in the Basque region by ETA sympathizers.
Spain is an electoral democracy. The Congress of Deputies, the lower house of the bicameral Parliament, has 350 members elected in multimember constituencies, except for the North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which are each assigned one single-member constituency. The Senate has 264 members, with 208 elected directly and 56 chosen by regional legislatures.Members of both the Senate and Congress serve four-year terms. Following legislative elections, the prime minister, known as the president of the government, is selected by the monarch and is usually the leader of the majority party or coalition. The candidate must also be elected by the Parliament. The country’s 50 provinces are divided into 17 autonomous regions with varying degrees of power.