Why is the Spanish Upper Chamber So Difficult to Reform?

Jean Baptiste Harguindéguy*, Xavier Coller, Alistair Cole

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)
    16 Downloads (Pure)


    As in other countries, the Spanish upper chamber is facing harsh criticisms. It has failed to fulfil its constitutional task as a chamber of territorial representation. Notwithstanding a number of proposed reforms, the Senado has remained almost unchanged since its creation in 1978. So why is it so difficult to restructure this chamber? This research aims to explain the impasse of the reform of the Senate through evaluating three approaches. After stressing the qualities and defects of the legal inheritance and party bargaining frameworks, this article argues that the joint-decision trap perspective can help to understand the two-fold dynamic of institutional obstruction and incremental change that has affected the Spanish Senate for the last 20 years.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)530-547
    Number of pages18
    JournalParliamentary Affairs
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Law

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Federalism
    • Reform
    • Senate
    • Spain
    • Upper chamber


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