Approved in plenary sessions of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate held on October 31, 1978.
Ratified by the Spanish people in a referendum of December 6, 1978.
Sanctioned by His Majesty the King before the Cortes on December 27, 1978.
The Spanish Nation, desiring to establish justice, liberty, and security, and to promote the well-being of all its members, in the exercise of its sovereignty, proclaims its will to:
Guarantee democratic coexistence within the Constitution and the laws, in accordance with a fair economic and social order.
Consolidate the State of Law which ensures the rule of law as the expression of the popular will.
Protect all Spaniards and peoples of Spain in the exercise of human rights, of their culture and traditions, languages and institutions.
Promote the progress of culture and of the economy to ensure a dignified quality of life for all.
Establish an advanced democratic society, and Cooperate in the strengthening of peaceful relations and effective cooperation among all the peoples of the earth.
Therefore, the Cortes pass and the Spanish people ratify the following Constitution.
It was sanctioned by King Juan Carlos I on 27 December and published in the Boletín Oficial del Estado (the government gazette of Spain) on 29 December, the date on which it became effective. The promulgation of the constitution marked the culmination of the Spanish transition to democracy after the death of General Francisco Franco, on 20 November 1975, who ruled over Spain as a military dictator for nearly 40 years. This led to the country undergoing a series of political, social and historical changes that transformed the Francoist regime into a democratic state. Copy of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 in the Congress of Deputies.
The Spanish transition to democracy was a complex process that gradually transformed the legal framework of the Francoist regime into a democratic state. The Spanish state did not abolish the Francoist regime, but rather slowly transformed the institutions and approved and/or derogated laws so as to establish a democratic nation and approve the Constitution, all under the guidance of King Juan Carlos I of Spain. The Constitution was redacted, debated and approved by the constituent assembly that emerged from the 1977 general election. The Constitution then repealed all the Fundamental Laws of the Realm (the pseudo-constitution of the Francoist regime), as well as other major historical laws and every pre-existing law that contradicted what the Constitution establishes. The constitution takes cues both from older Spanish constitutions as well as from other then-current European constitutions including the provision for a constructive vote of no confidence taken from the German Basic Law.