Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law

Terrorism and Constitutional Change: Lessons from Spain

Issue 2, pp 174-199
Abstract: This article investigates recent developments in Spain’s anti-terrorism regime, in particular the 2002 Law on Political Parties which introduced a non-criminal procedure to outlaw political parties. The 2002 Law was adopted as a response to the continuing existence of political violence associated with terrorist group ETA. It therefore constitutes part of the national counterterrorism regime. This article argues that the 2002 Law was a legislative novelty and that its immediate application to ban the political party Batasuna brought about substantial changes to the existing system of constitutional protection of political freedoms, as well as modifying the established standards of constitutional review of anti-terrorism legislation. Furthermore, the result of the November 2011 Spanish parliamentary elections has brought questions on the effectiveness of the 2002 Law and its possible future application to the fore of political and legal discourse. The article concludes that the outcome of the 2002 Law on Political Parties is rather disappointing and suggests that there are lessons other democracies can learn both for their counterterrorism policies and treatment of political parties.
prohibition of political parties
constitutional change

ICL 2013, 174