Spanish local elections, 2003

Spanish local elections, 2003
25 May 2003

65,510 seats in 8,108 local councils
1,036 seats in 38 provincial deputations
153 seats in 3 Juntas Generales in the Basque Country
149 seats in 7 cabildos in the Canary Islands
Registered 34,386,462 Increase2.4%
Turnout 23,270,072 (67.7%)
Increase3.7 pp
  First party Second party Third party
Leader José María Aznar José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero Artur Mas
Leader since 4 September 1989 22 July 2000 7 January 2002
Last election 24,623 seats, 34.4% 21,917 seats, 34.3% 4,089 seats, 3.6%
Seats won 23,615 23,224 3,687
Seat change Decrease1,008 Increase1,307 Decrease402
Popular vote 7,875,762 7,999,178 789,871
Percentage 34.3% 34.8% 3.4%
Swing Decrease0.1 pp Increase0.5 pp Decrease0.2 pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Leader Gaspar Llamazares Jordi Carbonell José Ángel Biel
Leader since 29 October 2000 1996 2000
Last election 2,295 seats, 6.5% 677 seats, 1.1% 925 seats, 0.4%
Seats won 2,198 1,282 907
Seat change Decrease97 Increase605 Decrease18
Popular vote 1,394,871 419,961 85,857
Percentage 6.1% 1.8% 0.4%
Swing Decrease0.4 pp Increase0.7 pp ±0.0 pp

The 2003 Spanish local elections were held on Sunday, 25 May 2003, throughout all 8,108 Spain municipalities, simultaneously with regional elections in 13 of the 17 autonomous communities—all except for Andalusia, the Basque Country, Catalonia, and Galicia. All 65,510 councillors were up for election, as well as 153 seats of the 3 Basque Juntas Generales, 149 seats of the 7 Canarian cabildos and the indirectly-elected 1,036 seats of the 38 provincial deputations.

Electoral system

Local councils

The number of seats in each city council was determined by the population count. According to the municipal electoral law, the population-seat relationship on each municipality was to be established on the following scale:

Population Seats
<250 5
251–1,000 7
1,001–2,000 9
2,001–5,000 11
5,001–10,000 13
10,001–20,000 17
20,001–50,000 21
50,001–100,000 25

Additionally, for populations greater than 100,000, 1 seat was to be added per each 100,000 inhabitants or fraction, according to the most updated census data, and adding 1 more seat if the resulting seat count gives an even number.

All city council members were elected in single multi-member districts, consisting of the municipality's territory, using the D'Hondt method and a closed-list proportional representation system. Voting was on the basis of universal suffrage in a secret ballot. Only lists polling above 5% of valid votes in all of the municipality (which include blank ballots—for none of the above) were entitled to enter the seat distribution.

The Spanish municipal electoral law established a clause stating that, if no candidate was to gather an absolute majority of votes to be elected as mayor of a municipality, the candidate of the most-voted party would be automatically elected to the post.[1]

Provincial deputations

The provincial deputations were elected indirectly by a council which in turn was elected from the judicial districts. The apportionment of deputies per province depends on population and was given as follows:

Population Seats
<500,000 25
500,001–1,000,000 27
1,000,001–3,500,000 31
>3,500,000 51


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