On Wednesday 6 December 1978, the people of Spain voted in a referendum to ratify the new Spanish Constitution. The vote marked the culmination of the Spanish transition to democracy after the death of General Francisco Franco.
The new constitution was approved by the Spanish parliament (Cortes Generales) on 31 October 1978, and by nearly 90 per cent of Spanish voters in the referendum on 6 December. It was sanctioned by King Juan Carlos on 27 December and came into effect on 29 December, the day it was published in the Official State Gazette (BOE).
Since then 6 December has been a national holiday in Spain.
The constitution was drafted and approved by the constitutional assembly that was elected after the 1977 general election. It is organised in ten parts, which advocates as the highest values liberty, justice, equality and political pluralism.
A seven-member panel was selected to work on the draft of the constitution and they became known as the 'Fathers of the Constitution'. These seven people were chosen to represent the deeply divided political spectrum within the Spanish Parliament, while the leading role was given to then ruling UCD party.
The assembly nullified the fundamental laws of the regime as well as existing laws that refuted the principles that the new constitution established.
The writing of the preamble was a task that required astute literary ability and was considered to be a great distinction. This honour went to Enrique Tierno Galván, a Spanish politician, lawyer and essayist who went on to become Mayor of Madrid from 1979 to 1986. The preamble states that the Spanish nation - wishing to establish justice, liberty and security - proclaims to guarantee democratic life within the Constitution and the laws according to a just economic and social order. It also promotes the protection of all Spaniards in the exercise of human rights, their cultures and traditions, languages and institutions, in order to ensure a decent quality of life for all.
The constitutional history of Spain dates back to the Constitution of Cadiz (1812), known as La Pepa, one of the first constitutions in world history.