Skip to content

101 Working Paper

Ministers and Regimes in Spain: From First to Second Restoration, 1874-2001

Apr 13, 2024 – Juan J. Linz, Miguel Jerez and Susana Corzo


This paper studies the composition of the Spanish cabinet elites through different political regimes and transition periods, those regimes including a constitutional monarchy, two democracies, two dictatorships and a people’s Republic. The discontinuity of ministerial elites is the rule, with the relative exception of the two transition periods in the early 1930s and the middle 1970s. The elite in general is fairly heterogeneous, recruited more or less from the whole country and not dominated by a particular age cohort. In terms of occupational background, the important presence of civil servants, professors, military officers and professionals, generally characterized the elite. Many if not most of them would be of middle class milieus, sometimes upper sometimes middle-middle class. Apparently, not many were businessmen, farmers or landowners without ancillary occupation -like the German Junkers - and practically none were from manual workertrade unionist backgrounds, like many of the Labour Party MPs in Britain. The professional backgrounds suggest that ideas, ideologies, mentalities, and legal thinking were as or more important than the representation of economic or class interests. For each period attention has been paid to the most relevant aspects of the institutional framework, party system and cabinet structure, as well as the extent of elite replacement and –when applicable- the nature of regime change.