[MUNUC 36] Las Cortes Constituyentes: The End of Francoism, 1977 SPAIN

GROUP: Hybrid

  • Topic A: The End of Francoism, 1977

TOPIC A The End of Francoism, 1977



  • Julian Tucker (he/him)
  • Jack Foley (he/him)
Email Committee Chair

To say that the past century has been a tumultuous one for Spain would be something of an understatement. After a brief and chaotic twenty-three-month-long period as a Republic in the 1870s, the Bourbon monarchy was restored. The next fifty-six years of constitutional monarchism were something of a mixed bag for Spain. Thanks to extreme, protectionist policies, Spanish industry began to develop. However, Spain also lost its last overseas colonies—Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam, and the Philippines—during a war with the United States. In 1931, King Alfonso XIII was deposed and the Second Spanish Republic was born. The writers of the Second Republic’s constitution set off to modernize Spanish politics and culture by granting women the right to vote, legalizing divorce, stripping the nobility of their titles, and, most significantly, disestablishing the Catholic Church and granting the various regions of Spain the option of increased autonomy. However, the progressive nature of the Second Republic sparked a considerable backlash, particularly amongst the military and the Catholic Church. In 1936, Spain plunged into a three-year civil war between the Republicans and the Nationalists, ending in the surrender of Republican forces and the Nationalist leader Francisco Franco becoming the dictator of a fascist Spain. 

The Civil War left Spain in ruins, and the early policies of Francoist Spain only exacerbated its problems. First and foremost, Spain’s position as a fascist dictatorship meant that it was both diplomatically and economically isolated until the 1950s. Moreover, Franco pursued an economic policy of autarky (economic independence) in an attempt to make Spain economically self-sufficient, ultimately resulting in a stunted Spanish economy. In the 1950s, amid the crystallization of Cold War divisions between the US and USSR, the West started to embrace Franco as an anti-Communist bulwark, and the Spanish economy began to rapidly grow with the abandonment of autarky. Nevertheless, Francoist Spain remained a deeply repressive and ultra-conservative nation up until Franco’s death in 1975. 

In 1969, Franco decided to name Prince Juan Carlos de Borbón as his successor. Following Franco’s death, Juan Carlos I, the now King of Spain, has decided to initiate the process of democratization, with the first democratic elections being held in June of 1977. Now, as members of the Cortes Constituyentes, it is your job to draft the new constitution for Spain. The committee will consist of two GA sessions, where delegates will draft and ratify a constitution, followed by three crisis sessions in which the recently constructed constitution will be critically tested by the political turmoil of a newly democratic nation.