Although Linz was right in contradicting previous assumptions that the Francoist political community was homogeneous, a truth evidenced in political archival records relating to the 1967 elections of procuradores familiares and reports complied by the Delegación Nacional de Provincias about political hierarchies in preparation for elections in 1975, his concept of limited pluralism is flawed. Traditional historical methods verify the degree of correlation between the analytical description of the Francoist political sphere that Linz’ theory suggests and the actuality represented in the archival sources. The records do not indicate the existence of the politico-ideological or interest groups organized as a semi-opposition to which Linz referred in support of his thesis. Though political leaders were aligned with various ideological affiliations, loyalty to the Caudillo was the basic affinity that united all.

Although authoritarianism has been one of the most successful conceptual categories developed by political science in the twentieth century, it has not been free of criticism, which in many cases has been directed at the definition of “limited pluralism.” These criticisms have largely been built on theoretical or conceptual arguments rather than on an empirical analysis of the society that Linz used to develop his conceptualization of pluralism. Bearing in mind that Linz’ conceptual framework was intertwined with the theoretical paradigms that dominated social science during the Cold War, in this article we gauge the extent to which Linz’ theory responded to the realities of General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship, the Spanish society on which Linz’ research was based.

Between 1967 and 1975, though they always supported both the dictatorship and its founding principles, various political groups at the local and provincial level disagreed about the direction that Franco’s dictatorship should take in order to survive the death of their charismatic leader. An accurate portrayal of this situation can be found in two archival sources. The first comprises the reports written by civil governors—the main executive representatives of the central state administration in the Spanish provinces—regarding the 1967 election of a new group of members of the Cortes Españolas, known as the procuradores familiares. Since this election was the first Francoist election to choose members of an institution at the national level, controlling the voting was considered to be a challenge for the dictatorship. The civil governors’ reports record a local perspective, allowing an exploration of the level of the regime’s limited pluralism throughout the country.1

Before the election of national councilors toward the end of 1975, the Delegación Nacional de Provincias (National Delegation of Provinces, hereinafter dnp) organized a database of local party hierarchies. These data provide an overview of the main characters that composed the Francoist single party (fet-jons, later the Movimiento) in each province at that time. This archival source, which includes names, social relations, secondments, and even some assessments about them from the single-party hierarchs, is our second key source establishing the level of internal pluralism toward the end of the regime.2

Both sources are complementary, given that national councilors were also procuradores, providing significant samples of Cortes members for 1967 and 1975. Additionally, both years are relevant to verifying Linz’ theory because what he described—an authoritarian regime characterized by limited pluralism—was increasingly present throughout the dictatorship. Because Linz began his research during the early 1960s, the hypothetical limited pluralism is easily identifiable by 1967, and even more so by 1975.

This article uses traditional historical methods to verify the degree of correlation between the analytical description of the Francoist political sphere suggested by the concept of limited pluralism and the reality that primary sources reflect. Moreover, it aims to stimulate further research on this period of Franco’s dictatorship, still under-represented in comparison with the earlier, postwar years of the regime.

On September 15, 1950, Juan José Linz landed in New York for the first time. He could not have imagined how important this trip would be to the future interpretation of the political nature of dictatorships and to the field of comparative politics. Aged twenty-four, the young German-Spanish scholar had completed degrees in law and political science from the University of Madrid. Linz enrolled in the Department of Sociology at the University of Columbia, where professors such as Paul Lazarsfeld and the young Seymour Lipset taught classes that allowed him to come into direct contact with the “behaviorist revolution.”3

During the 1940s, behaviorism had emerged as a response to the harsh criticisms that many social scientists in the United States were levelling at the excessive empiricism that had characterized most of their disciplines during the interwar period. Behaviorists did not reject empiricism but thought that it should be articulated around the theoretical frameworks that guided their objectives. Their aspiration was that the combination of theory and empirical research would allow the social sciences to direct their attention toward solving a set of specific problems—established in advance and fundamentally related to political behavior—through the creation of generic models, laws, and predictions.4

Two elements of that “behaviorist revolution” conditioned Linz’ academic career: the renewal of data collection and analytical techniques and the development of an empirical theory on liberal democracy based on American democracy. Regarding the former, Lazarsfeld’s influence was crucial in the methodology Linz used to analyze the Franco regime. Concerning the latter, Gilman has described how the definition of true democracy, in contrast to Soviet models of a “people’s democracy,” became one of the star themes of American social science during the early Cold War. Methodologically speaking, the debate on the nature of democracy was also influenced by behaviorism. In fact, social scientists who participated in the debate stressed that they did not intend to develop a normative definition of democracy, but rather, as Dahl put it, to investigate “the actual facts of political life” through “methods, theories and criteria of proof that are acceptable according to the canons, conventions and assumptions of modern empirical science.” Lipset, who directed Linz’ dissertation and became one of his closest friends, was one of the main protagonists of this debate.5

In that academic context, American social scientists turned their gaze to pluralism, a concept derived from pragmatic philosophy that had been introduced into political science in the early twentieth century. Faced with the monistic interpretations of the nineteenth century that saw in the state both the unitary representation of the community and its source of sovereignty and law, Laski argued that society was made up of individuals with rights inherent to their condition as human beings and independent of the will of the state. In addition, he argued that people tended to gather around shared interests in organizations that competed to condition governments’ public policies. The essence of this kind of federal articulation of society was in the way in which the different units that composed it were related under a consensus on the values of liberalism that allowed anyone to be represented in the political process through an interest group. For this reason, Laski considered it essential to limit the state’s ability to override the autonomy of interest groups through its centralizing capacity, for which he saw the separation of powers and representation as fundamental tools. Pluralism required such conditions.6

Throughout the 1950s, Truman, Latham, and, especially, Dahl, who would later be Linz’ department colleague at Yale, turned this notion of pluralism into the normative basis for an empirical theory of liberal democracy and into the main variable to differentiate liberal democracy from totalitarianism. During that decade, many social scientists and theorists placed the two systems of government at the poles of the same interpretive plane. Dahl himself used the term polyarchy to refer to truly existing—and thus imperfect—approximations of pluralist democracy. He located these regimes near one end of a continuum that had totalitarianism on the other extreme. Along the same lines, the Israeli historian Talmon located the origin of both regimes in the Enlightenment and claimed that the pluralistic and pragmatic character of liberal democracy to differentiate it from totalitarianism, which was in turn imbued with a holistic and messianic character. However, those who were involved in the field of comparative politics found great difficulties in fitting the multitude of regimes that emerged after World War II into two such dichotomous categories—a situation that was further complicated by decolonization processes.7

Linz himself, who became familiar with the literature on pluralism and totalitarianism after his arrival at Columbia, found the two categories ineffective in his analysis of Franco’s regime. Thus, after completing his thesis, he decided to use the case of Spain to determine the distinctive characteristics of intermediate political regimes. In the mid-1950s, several authors had begun to point out the existence of an alternative type of political regime situated somewhere on the spectrum delimited by liberal democracy and totalitarianism, citing Spain of the Caudillo as one of its paradigmatic examples.

In this context, it is not surprising that in 1957 the Committee on Comparative Politics of the Social Sciences Research Council—at that time focused on promoting behaviorist methodology and on the creation of a positivist theoretical framework that could include as many countries as possible within comparative studies—decided to grant a scholarship to Linz to carry out this endeavor.8

While he was a visiting researcher in Spain, Linz attempted to demonstrate the existence within Francoism of the element that, according to his hypothesis, was key to characterizing an authoritarian regime—limited pluralism. To that end, he developed two different projects using public opinion. In the fall of 1960, he participated in the organization of the first in-depth youth opinion survey, which was commissioned by the Delegación Nacional de la Juventud (National Youth Delegation) of fet-jons. The team of young sociologists was coordinated by José Mariano López-Cepero, a friend of Linz’ since their time as students at the Faculty of Political and Economic Sciences in Madrid. Also, between 1959 and 1960, Linz collaborated with the Escuela de Organización Industrial (School of Industrial Organization, eoi) in an ambitious study that, based on the conception of the business community as a de facto group of power, sought to inquire into its members’ views on Spanish politics by conducting 460 interviews.9

Additionally, the period in which these two surveys were carried out was characterized by two phenomena that conditioned the observed reality—the increase in the existing divisions between the groups that made up the coalition that supported the Francoist regime and the social transformations, fueled by economic growth, that were taking place in Spain. Regarding the first phenomenon, the successive government crises of 1956 and 1957 increased the tensions among the coalition, leading to an alignment into two groups that orbited respectively around the general secretariat of the Movimiento and the presidency of the government.

These groups shared their loyalty to Franco and the regime but differed in how to ensure that the latter survived the death of the former. That disagreement influenced the political life of the country until 1973 and, to a large extent, revolved around whether it was necessary to increase mechanisms for popular participation. Underlying that difference was a conflict derived from the interest of each group in ensuring the political framework best suited to maintaining a dominant position over the other.

As for the social changes taking place in Spain, the administrative and economic reforms implemented by the technocratic ministers since becoming part of the government in 1957 accelerated a series of transformations that were already under way in Spanish society. These transformations were a consequence of the appearance of new professional groups, the development of a consumer society, and the coming of age of a generation that not only had not participated in the Civil War, but also had a culture that was substantially different from those of its predecessors.

In the summer of 1963, Linz presented the first version of his theory of authoritarian regimes at a conference of comparative political sociology organized by the Committee on Political Sociology of the International Sociology Association. In his presentation, entitled “An Authoritarian Regime: The Case of Spain,” Linz established four variables that allowed for the classification of a political regime as democratic, totalitarian, or authoritarian based; the level of pluralism tolerated by the authorities; the role played by ideology within it; the degree of mobilization of society promoted by institutions; and, finally, the type of leadership. However, as mentioned above, Linz considered that the main element in determining the authoritarian nature of a regime lay in the existence within it of certain interest groups that coexisted with the dominant power, not competing with it but limiting it. In the case of the Franco regime, Linz considered that political actors that existed prior to the regime such as the Church, the Falange, the Army, the Opus Dei, the supporters of the monarchy, and businessmen were among the groups limiting the dictator’s power.10

Two years after defending his text on authoritarian regimes, Linz presented his work “Opposition and Control” at an International Political Science Association conference to underpin his categorization of Franco’s dictatorship as a regime of limited pluralism. There, Linz argued that Franco’s regime tolerated the existence of an opposition and a semi-opposition given two circumstances that had arisen from the historical evolution of the dictatorship: the widening of the differences between the groups that supported the regime and their greater visibility, especially after the approval of the Press Law in 1966. The concept of semi-opposition referred to groups that contested part of the system but were willing to participate in power without fundamentally confronting the regime. When talking about the opposition, he distinguished between an alegal one, which opposed the regime but was tolerated because it lacked an organizational infrastructure, and an illegal opposition persecuted precisely for having one.11

Linz’ theses aroused controversy in Spain, to the point that the “debate Linz” became a relevant element in historiographical discussions of the political nature of Franco’s dictatorship. The earliest criticisms of his thesis appeared only after the translation of his famous text on authoritarian regimes into Spanish. That happened in 1974, when it was included in a book edited and prefaced by Manuel Fraga, a former minister of Information and Tourism well known for being a supporter of the reformist path within the dictatorship. This first wave of objections was fundamentally focused on censuring the strictly political-formalistic nature of the definition and its lack of attention to the social and class dimensions of political regimes. However, from the 1980s on, some historians attacked Linz’ theories more harshly. In essence, critics accused Linz’ conceptualization of “embellishing” the Franco dictatorship and separating it from the category of right-wing dictatorships to which it belonged.12

Among the many criticisms made of Linz’ thesis, the main one was undoubtedly addressed to his conceptualization of Francoism as a regime of limited pluralism, as Miley has shown. It could be said that all the critiques pivoted around the same issue. The existence of several political currents and diverse groups organized to defend their interests does not necessarily imply the classification of a regime as pluralist—no matter how limited this pluralism—unless there is a compartmentalization of political power and the possibility of questioning the charismatic leader or his regime. The objections raised to the concept of limited pluralism by Ramírez and Tuñón de Lara neatly summarize the critiques. The former pointed out that the concept of pluralism could only be applied to political regimes in which “there really were different sources of power from which such pluralism emanated.” The latter added that even though all state formation processes give rise to a “sociological plurality,” this feature cannot be confused with a “constitutional pluralism.” Santamaría Ossorio and others further emphasized the impossibility of “limiting what does not exist, as was the case of pluralism in Spain.” Nevertheless, these criticisms were carried out from ideological and theoretical bases, but not based on research in primary sources referring to the specific period of Francoism that Linz had analyzed to build his theoretical framework.13

The first election of family representatives in the Francoist Cortes was held in October of 1967. The procedure to organize the vote was established by the Ley Orgánica del Estado (Organic Law of the State, loe), which was passed a year earlier. For the first time, a relevant part of the population—heads of families and married women—were allowed to elect their representatives in a Francoist national institution even though they were just a portion of the members of a legislative chamber without control over the executive. Additionally, the timing of the election was important. On the one hand, it took place in a climate of expectation among the politically savvy, given the possibility that the dictatorship could evolve into something different under the umbrella of reforms adopted during the first half of the 1960s. On the other, the struggle waged by the Vice Presidency of the Government and fet-jons over the control of the state undermined the single party’s capacity to control the election.14

Consequently, civil governors’ reports on the organization of the election process reflected the conflicts that arose among the different ideological and interest groups that supported the regime in order to lead their preferred candidates to victory. Given that political parties were banned and candidates had to run as individuals, those who had the financial and/or logistical support of any of these groups had a differential advantage with their respective constituencies. Many reports reveal that the Francoist authorities did not look favorably on the compartmentalization of society or, above all, the development of emerging strategies and organizational structures aimed at consolidating such divisions and promoting advantages for some groups over the rest.15

For instance, Enrique Oltra Moltó, the civil governor of Álava, pointed out in his report that “separatists, Javierist traditionalists, Estoril traditionalists, Juanista monarchists, falangists, democrats, etc. polarized around certain and specific candidates.” This political diversity was also observed in other parts of the country with nuances necessarily arising from the political, social, economic, and cultural peculiarities of each province.16

The Falangists enjoyed a clear comparative advantage over the rest of groups in Oltra’s description. On the one hand, they controlled the Organización Sindical Española (Spanish Trade Union Organization, ose), the secretariat general of the single party, and important parts of the peripheral administration through both civil governments and the national delegation of provinces. On the other, they had experience in controlling electoral processes; they had overseen monitoring the elections to select representatives of the heads of family in city councils since such elections were first held in 1948 as well as the two referendums organized in 1947 and 1966. By exerting such control, they had developed institutional mechanisms that allowed them to manage candidate selection processes in an orderly and favorable manner. Thus, the provincial headquarters of the Movimiento managed to promote candidacies in all of the Spanish provinces.17

To this end they resorted to militants who held positions in various institutions of both the state and the party. Certain positions stood out above the rest, especially presidents of the provincial associations of householders, provincial delegates of associations, and presidents of provincial federations of family associations. The associations that the single party had begun to create in the late 1950s to channel political participation through its administrative structure played a fundamental role in this strategy.18

For its part, the group, who were supported by Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco and minister Laureano López Rodó, had no further institutional structure other than that provided by that ministry and the Comisaría del Plan de Desarrollo (Development Plan Commission). Despite this, they did not hesitate to promote their own candidates to challenge the Falangists for control of the new group of family procuradores. In fact, during the campaign, López Rodó and José Solís exchanged harsh personal letters, reproaching each other for their attempts to take control of the new group of Cortes members. Since they had neither the experience nor the institutional mechanisms that the Falangists enjoyed, the so-called technocrats turned to handpicked trusted men. Specifically, they promoted people with whom they were friends and/or whom they had co-opted to work with them in organizations linked to the presidency of the government and the Comisaría del Plan de Desarrollo.19

The monarchists also tried to promote their own candidates. Those who defended succession by Prince Juan Carlos de Borbón, but were not linked to Opus Dei or the presidency of the government, supported candidates like Manuel Fanjul Sedeño and Torcuato Luca de Tena. The former was the son of Joaquín Fanjul, who had been a rebel general in 1936. Despite being a Falangist in his youth, Fanjul Sedeño supported Juan de Borbón, Juan Carlos de Borbón’s father and the former pretender to the throne of Spain. In fact, he was one of the signatories of the manifesto that in 1943 asked Franco to restore the monarchy. Fanjul ran in Madrid and his campaign was strongly supported by the pro-monarchy newspaper ABC, at whose helm was Torcuato Luca de Tena, who ran in Seville. Torcuato was a member of the Luca de Tena family of monarchist journalists and had a close relationship with such prominent technocratic politicians as Gonzalo Fernández de la Mora and López Rodó.20

Spanish monarchists had been divided since the nineteenth century. Oltra reported that the traditionalists, that is, the Carlists, intended to develop a coordinated strategy in several provinces to elect the largest possible number of procuradores in the Cortes. The strategy was to use their roles in the chamber to promote granting Spanish nationality to Javier de Borbón y Parma, the Carlist pretender to the throne of Spain. Even though the Carlists promoted candidacies in provinces as diverse as Cádiz, Tarragona, Soria, and Valencia, the civil governors’ reports imply that it was in Álava and Navarre where they had the greatest impact. In fact, in Navarre, they managed to defeat candidates sponsored by fet-jons by mounting an intense campaign for the defense and improvement of the Fueros in the Carlist newspaper El Pensamiento Navarro. In doing so, they earned the support not only of the Carlists but also of progressive Catholic sectors, moderate nationalists, and even members of the Catholic Action Workers’ Brotherhoods in Pamplona and Tudela.21

Aside from these political-ideological factions—the informal organizations that Linz controversially dubbed “families”—different institutional and socio-economic interest groups also tried to promote candidates that could further their aims. In fact, several civil governors explicitly mentioned the intervention of these groups during the 1967 campaign. The civil governor of Valencia blamed the unexpected triumph of Eulogio Gómez-Trénor Fos—a member of the Citrus Group of the Provincial Union of Fruits and Agricultural Products—on the help he received from agricultural organizations and especially from the Chamber, Brotherhoods, and Communities of Irrigation Farmers, who supported his candidacy and extolled his prestige as a farmer. In Badajoz, governor Francisco Santaolalla de la Calle accused Antonio Cuéllar Casalduero, the provincial delegate of labor mutual insurance companies, of receiving the determined and open support of all the agencies dependent on the ministry of labor. Santaolalla did not hesitate to claim that the personnel of the National Social Security Institute and the Labor Delegation had not only prepared envelopes and lists of voters, but that they had also distributed thousands of ballots and propaganda posters favoring Cuéllar.22

For his part, Alberto Leiva Rey, the civil governor of Ávila, reported that the secretary of the capital’s city council, Alberto Zamora Gutiérrez, received the help of his colleagues and even had the unofficial support of the College of Secretaries and Local Administration Auditors. Likewise, the civil governor of Soria denounced that the Carlist Fidel Carazo Hernández was aided by “a pressure group characterized by its ancestral caciquismo in the capital.” Specifically, according to the main provincial authority, the timber industrialists of the province had supported Carazo in the hope that he would help them stop the remunicipalization of public forests undertaken by more than 150 city councils in the province, including that of the capital.23

All of these political factions and interest groups aspired to achieve the highest possible levels of power within the institutional framework of the dictatorship, and they agreed on basic principles. First, they were firmly against any type of participation by “the enemies of Spain”—that is, those who did not support Franco or his regime. Second, they defended the continuity of the regime, were completely loyal to the figure of Franco, and strongly opposed liberalism, communism, and multiparty systems. None of them had the capacity to challenge Franco’s power, or even to limit it. On the contrary, they submitted to him and, in any case, tried to seduce him in order to secure his support, which he would grant or withdraw according to his own strategic interests.

Despite these groups’ submission to the regime, the dictatorship drew lines that could not be crossed. The reports of the ever-vigilant civil governors reflected that the mere possibility that these political factions and interest groups could dispute small spheres of power beyond the discretionary powers of Franco or, failing that, of the main bodies of the regime such as the Ministry of the Interior or the Movimiento, was a matter of the greatest concern even within an electoral mechanism as restricted as the election of family procuradores. The Falangist José Utrera Molina, civil governor of Seville, expressed this annoyance clearly in his report, stating that during the elections of 1967 an absurd situation took place in which “diverse groups and sectors, more or less catalyzed, acted directly and were not criticized” while “the Movimiento—the men of the Movimiento themselves—could not carry out any work related to the electoral process due to their status as militants, as when this happened, it was immediately classified as official attitudes, meddling, etc.”24

Diversity arose from the outset even though the opportunities afforded by the election were of a rather limited nature. There can be no doubt of the reluctance reflected in the civil governors’ reports. In several of them it is easy to glimpse the fear felt by many toward what the civil governor of Ciudad Real described as the breakdown of the “constructive atmosphere of unity that characterizes our political organization after the Crusade [the Spanish Civil War].” In this sense, civil governors feared that “pressure groups and politicians, or their more or less embryonic organizations” could end up acting as “true political forces.”25

If that happened, the main provincial authorities of Franco’s Spain considered that the political horizon of the regime would be jeopardized by two intertwined processes that had begun to emerge in the 1967 election. The political polarization and confrontations between those closest to the regime was perhaps best conveyed by the civil governor of Toledo in describing what happened in his province: “Factions arise; personal differences are exacerbated; restlessness grows; and people’s old resentments are reborn.” Oltra expressed a similar sentiment, pointing out that there had been “in some cases obvious clashes between men and sectors close to the regime, and even though it is to be assumed that the wounds will heal over time, it is no less true that there will be embers that may reignite systematically.”26

The second—and potentially more dangerous—process was the hypothetical emergence of political parties. Oltra argued that the existing political factions and groups might become polarized and give rise to “the more or less camouflaged operation of political parties with leaderships and undercover organizations.” Prudencio Landín Carrasco reported from Córdoba on the existence of “more or less masked political groups.” Such factions were not only “radically contrary to our political system as established by the fundamental laws,” but “concessions alien to the very nature of the system.”27

In preparation for the election of national councilors that was to be held toward the end of 1975, the dnp considered the convenience of having accurate information about the local hierarchies of the Movimiento. What was at stake was the composition of the thirteenth National Council of the Movimiento (1976) as well as a percentage of procuradores. It was not the first time in the dictatorship that information was collected in order to control elections, but this had seldom been done in such a broad and systematic manner for elections within the structures of the fet-jons. Despite the exhaustive database that was compiled, these efforts were ultimately in vain as that election was never held, given the exceptional circumstances brought about by Franco’s death and the forced extension of the twelfth National Council, which had been established in 1972. Nevertheless, that information is deeply relevant today in determining the composition of the Movimiento and the currents that developed within it at the local level. In other words, the data provide answers to the question of whether it is accurate to speak of limited pluralism or semi-opposition among the local hierarchies of the Movimiento toward the end of the regime.28

The dnp commissioned the preparation of one file per province with the names of its key political figures (national councilors, family procuradores, procuradores representing the local administration, mayors, and presidents of the provincial council or Diputación), together with an assessment of and comments on the attitude and electoral potential of each. Moreover, notes were provided regarding other possible unofficial candidates, including those who had not previously held positions in the Movimiento.29

The form and content of these files indicate that the Movimiento and its structures did not show a monolithic or homogeneous internal composition. Formally, each file is divided into two sections. The first provides a tabulated assessment of two crossed variables, “political standpoint” and “degree,” and the other contains freer commentary regarding the people in question. In a way, the first section sought to provide a quantitative snapshot of the ideological composition of the Movimiento, while the second offered a more qualitative, nuanced, and detailed portrayal of specific characters. One of the most striking points is that the “political standpoint” column acknowledged the internal heterogeneity of the organization, contemplating three options: NA (no adicto, not close to the Movimiento), A (adicto, very close to the regime), and AD (very close to the regime and integrated in the Movimiento). Each of these categories was in turn assessed on a scale of three degrees of intensity: 1 (low), 2 (medium), and 3 (high). People could be assigned a grade for each of the three criteria, although it was common for them only to receive grades in two (A and AD), leaving the NA box blank. Thus, a person who was clearly not close to the regime or Movimiento might receive a 3-1-1 respectively in the three categories (NA, A, and AD). The diametrically opposite situation (1-1-3) was impossible, because being identified with the regime (A) and with the regime and the Movimiento (AD) were linked. The range of people analyzed was exhaustive, compiling data from all provinces (except for Valencia, which did not respond) and including information from the so-called plazas de soberanía (“strongholds of sovereignty,” the Spanish towns of Ceuta and Melilla located in North Africa).

The first conclusion about the Movimiento that can be drawn is easily developed through the analysis of these files. Officials assessed as not close (NA) were very few and for most that box was left blank. The exceptions, to which the NA code was applied, included officials in eight provinces: Badajoz, Baleares, Gerona, Guipúzcoa, Murcia, Navarre, Salamanca, and Soria. Almost all members of this small group were awarded a low (1-1-1) or medium (2-1-1) grade—with the sole exception of the family procurador for Gerona (Juan Botanch Dausa), who was deemed “very dangerous” and given a 3-1-1.30

If we assign zeroes to empty squares, what we might expect are scores such as 0-2-2 or 0-3-3, in other words, political positions whose loyalty to the regime and to the party ran parallel. And certainly, this was true in 43 percent of the cases, yet there were striking differences between the assessment of fields A and AD in more than half of the cases. Furthermore, no one received a higher rating in box AD than in A, but the opposite was frequent (0-3-2, 0-3-1, 0-2-1). This means that there were considerably more people who identified with the regime alone than with the regime and the party, reflecting a sizable dissociation between the political regime and the Movimiento. It always ran in the same direction in terms of preference, with the regime clearly more popular than the party. Loyalty to the regime was considered inherent to occupying a position, in a framework of loyalty to the Caudillo. However, being considered a supporter of the regime and integrated in fet-jons was a step further that required being active within the single party and identifying with its official stances, something not so widespread even among local hierarchies. It is significant that 57 percent of positions were held by figures more characterized as “very close to the regime” rather than as “very close to the regime and integrated into the Movimiento.” The averages for each category exhibit the same bias: 1.75 (NA), 2.62 (A) and 1.96 (AD).

Considering this quantitative evidence, it is clear that the Movimiento comprised a noteworthy internal diversity. In addition to the political nuances that could distinguish one official from another, it is worth bearing in mind the origin of each position, which made officials more or less dependent on the government and the Movimiento. On one end of the spectrum, a family procurador relied on a popular vote to win a seat in the Cortes; on the other, a national councilor owed his position to a restricted vote from within the Movimiento. Mayors and presidents of Provincial Councils occupied an intermediate position, owing their appointment to the government, but not directly to the single party. These differences translated quite predictably into varying degrees of loyalty to the regime and to the Movimiento, as the data verify. Family procuradores were awarded the lowest grades (2.44 on average in A and 1.78 in AD) and national councilors the highest, particularly in terms of party loyalty (2.79 in A and 2.28 in AD), with mayors (2.71 in A and 1.98 in AD) and presidents of provincial councils (2.72 in A and 1.93 in AD) lying somewhere in between. Additionally, national councilors’ greater identification with the Movimiento did not preclude them from maintaining higher degrees of loyalty to the regime than to the single party.

Can this diversity be understood in Linz’ terms? Can concepts such as limited pluralism or semi-opposition be applied to the body of officials analyzed here? Within the dnp files—on the reverse of each of these tables—are various comments on the electoral potential of each figure for the two types of provincial positions that were not appointed by the government—national councilors and family procuradores. These positions registered the highest and lowest values respectively for the criterion AD (as the former were elected within the single party and the latter were elected by the citizens).

In order to answer the question of limited pluralism, we will analyze nine provinces (selected based on their average assessments for elected and unelected positions in criteria A and AD): the three with the lowest averages, the three occupying an intermediate position, and the three with the highest averages.

Logroño, Las Palmas, and Guipúzcoa show the lowest average grades, reflecting the lukewarm attitude of officials in these provinces toward the regime and the Movimiento. Logroño was a case in point—there, national councilor José Ramón Herrero Fontana wished to be reelected, although with little hope because “he pays no mind to the Movimiento at all” despite a prior track record as civil governor, a procurador in the Cortes, and a national councilor for Cáceres. His performance left so much to be desired that the dnp endorsed other candidates more closely linked to the party. The family procurador Carlos Bonet Hernando was better regarded, but again other candidates closer to the traditionalists were also considered.

In Las Palmas, the councilor and businessman José Naranjo Hermosilla was seen as a “very reserved” person going through “a bad moment”; his possible replacement as candidate was Manuel de la Cueva Fernández (a former youth delegate who, years later, founded the conservative party Alianza Popular [ap] in the Canary Islands). The procurador Juan Marrero Portugués, director of the Insular Savings Bank, was likewise not held in high regard by the dnp, which considered other names to replace him, such as Antonio Vega (president of the Council of Entrepreneurs) or Manuel Díez (another businessman backed by the vertical union). Marcelino Oreja Aguirre was a national councilor for Guipúzcoa and the dnp resigned itself to his almost certain re-election, despite the unenthusiastic comments recorded in his file. Oreja later became a minister in Adolfo Suárez’ democratic cabinets. Something similar happened to the procurador Manuel María Escudero Rueda (valued as 2-1-1), whose reelection was believed to be inevitable because “he might abandon the Carlist group and seek support with certain socialist nuances.” There was little the Movimiento could do in Guipúzcoa but accept that the possible replacements—Félix Egaña and Joaquín Aperribay, both of whom were relatively far removed from the Falangist paradigm and connected to Basque nationalists—were also dubious.

The provinces of Pontevedra, Burgos, and Huesca were friendlier to the Movimiento, with high averages in criteria A and AD. In Huesca, the national councilor Mercedes Sanz Punyed and the family procuradores (especially Francisco de Asís Gabriel Ponce, secretary of the City Council) had no rivals. Burgos was similarly stable, with Fernando Dancausa in a solid position as national councilor (and a future candidate for ap in 1977) and the family procuradores Belén Landáburu and Félix Pérez (who was supported by the College of Veterinarians). However, this did not mean that the dnp did not expect possible competitors, who in Burgos was the deputy director general of pharmacy, Juan Manuel Reol (a future member of Parliament in 1977), and in Huesca Alberto Ballarín (then president of the Institute of Reform and Agrarian Development and a future senator in 1977). In Pontevedra, the councilor Antonio Puig Gaite (procurador in the Cortes for many years and candidate for ap in 1977) and the family procurador Pío Cabanillas Gayas (minister during the dictatorship and in the democratic era) were well established in their positions; even so, other candidates were expected, including former minister Gonzalo Fernández de la Mora and Ramón Encina (a former civil governor who was supported by the provincial headquarters), among other possible candidates of the Movimiento “of traditionalist origin” or even others “supported by Comisiones Obreras” (a trade union).

In provinces with average values (for example, Albacete, Badajoz, Almería) some of these trends are again confirmed, with three standing out. In the first place, members of the single party did not form a monolithic bloc and indeed exhibited considerable diversity. Second, that the Movimiento structures were important when appointing positions in the province, but their influence was neither exclusive nor unique, especially in the case of family procuradores (for whom it was essential to have social support), in the appointment of mayors or presidents of the provincial council (in which the government also intervened), and even in the selection of national councilors (who could be elected even when not supported by the dnp, a fact that points to the existence of differences within the organization between the central and local levels).

Enrique Sánches de León managed to be reelected in 1971 despite his 1-2-1 rating, which depicted someone close to the regime but not very attached to the Movimiento. A future leader of Acción Regional Extremeña (a regional party from Extremadura) he would go on to join Adolfo Suárez’ Unión de Centro Democrático (Union of Democratic Center, ucd) and become minister of health in one of his cabinets after Franco’s death. In Almería, national councilor Miguel Vizcaíno Márquez (a prestigious jurist, candidate for Alianza Popular in 1977, and later a permanent member of the Council of State) was not to the liking of the provincial headquarters. The family procuradores had competitors such as the president of the Mercantile Circle, a former mayor who was a friend of then-Minister of the Interior José García Hernández, and the president of the Workers’ Council, “a clever and trendy man, originally from the left.” Gonzalo Botija Cabo was the national councilor for the province of Albacete and mayor until January 1974. A number of figures were considered as possible replacements, such as Councilor Abelardo Sánchez Moreno (who would become mayor in the 1978–1979 biennium) and the former president of the provincial council José Fernández Fontecha. Both candidates, according to the dnp, seemed to be willing to be family procuradores to replace Ricardo Fernández Gutiérrez, a procurador who was fairly assured of reelection as president of the Caja Rural bank.

A similar situation can be seen in the remaining provinces. On the one hand, there was considerable internal diversity, although always within the limits of pro-Franco ideological foundations. There was a clear absence of organized groups or formal political organizations capable of competing as such in the electoral arena. There were indeed people affiliated with the various political trends supporting the regime (for example, monarchists, Falangists, members of Opus Dei, and so on). The upshot was the existence of a constellation of sorts made up of individual figures united by only a few common points (mainly their loyalty to the regime), rather than the existence of political parties or associations within the Movimiento. Some actors did promote political groups, as in the case of the Democracia Social group promoted by Alberto Ballarín, who later became vice president of Unión del Pueblo Español (Union of the Spanish People). But this type of organization brought together very diverse personalities (from Adolfo Suárez and Fernando Abril Martorell to Francisco Labadie Otermín and Carlos Pinilla Turiño) who would follow very different paths after 1975.

These associations were neither organized parties nor coherent associations likely to develop a homogeneous program for action. In this regard, this is not an example of pluralism—not even of a limited type—given the absence of coordinated action by the various groups. These groups indeed lacked internal discipline, instead forming circumstantial groupings with a very relative degree of cohesion and revolving around one or several prominent figures. In other words, there was no real competition between various groups in the political arena, nor was there an organized semi-opposition emerging. What the gallery of political personnel described in the dnp files shows is an image of diversity and a certain dislocation beyond what united almost all of them—loyalty to the regime, at least while the dictator was alive. These loyalties would later be transferred to the groups each figure most identified with and felt offered the best electoral potential—ucd for some, Alianza Popular for others, parties to the far right in some cases, and for many, given the difficulties of pursuing a public career, the abandonment of politics entirely.

The internal diversity of the Movimiento, though more clearly noticeable in the last few years of the dictatorship, had always been present. The heterogeneity of the support that the Franco regime garnered can be traced back to the 1930s and the initial conspiracies against the Second Republic. Although cohesive during and immediately after the war, their differences became more salient as time passed and the regime slowly evolved. At the height of 1954, the Count of Vallellano, then minister of public works, did not hesitate to point out the variety of political sectors that supported the regime:

“There are many people full of good faith and enthusiasm who believe … that in the economic and social content, especially of the Movimiento, and even in the political one, lies the solution to all national problems. There are others who believe, however, that Franco’s personality is stronger and more vigorous than the entire program and ideology of the National-Syndicalist regime, which is nourished and protected by his vigor and strength as the greatest of his positive integrations.”

Almost all Spaniards believe in the former, and of course the vast majority; in the latter, only its affiliates, or militants, who, even though they are very numerous, cannot, of course, encompass all Spaniards with political rights.31



It is undeniable that Linz was not only right in highlighting the heterogeneity of the coalition that supported the Franco dictatorship, especially since the late 1950s, but was also able to explain it by developing a conceptualization of the regime perfectly embedded in the main debates affecting the social sciences of the 1960s. That is where the success of his model lay: in its capacity to crystallize around the characterization of the political nature of Francoism a whole set of previous proposals that sought to establish a conceptual category capable of describing and analyzing those political regimes that could not be conceptualized as either totalitarianisms or democracies. In doing so, Linz provided the field of comparative politics with a concept that allowed scholars to broach the study of a large number of political regimes that, like Francoism, did not fit neatly into the categories of totalitarianism or democracy.

However, the primary sources analyzed in this paper reveal the inadequacy of the concept of limited pluralism—a cornerstone of Linz’ theory, despite its vagueness—in accounting for the socio-political reality of the Franco regime. In fact, the provincial reality that we have reconstructed with documentary sources does not point toward the existence of politico-ideological or interest groups organized around administrative structures beyond governmental control and capable of restricting the power of the head of state (limited or otherwise). Our sources do not show the existence of that semi-opposition to which Linz referred in support of his thesis of limited pluralism. There were indeed figures who barely identified with the Movimiento and who were even tenuously Francoist. Nevertheless, it was only after 1975 that they dared to explore paths other than those of the dictatorship. This was the case, for example, of the family procurador for Girona Juan Botanch, who would go on to join ucd and later ap after Franco’s death. Nonetheless, there was a diversity of groups that clearly supported the regime, particularly in terms of their vision for its future evolution.

Indeed, both the reports on the 1967 elections and the internal files of the dnp provide evidence of the existence within the Franco dictatorship of various tendencies and interests competing to increase their spheres of power. The presence of figures who aligned themselves with one or another current during different phases of their political career was not exceptional, nor was the position of others who sympathized with various sectors simultaneously. Ideological affiliations (Catholic, technocrats, Falangists, traditionalists, members of Opus Dei, and so on) were as numerous as they were ductile. Nevertheless, all were united by the fundamentals of absolute loyalty to the regime that emerged from the 1936 coup and, above all, loyalty to the Caudillo. That was the basic identification to which everyone could turn to feel like men of the Movimiento and, at the same time, within a framework that limited their capacity for action. Even Carrero Blanco, Franco’s right-hand man and president of the government in 1973, was never clearly linked to any affiliation, although his Catholicism and his support for the technocrats were beyond doubt. Yet that did not exclude him from the single party, to which he considered himself attached in terms of loyalty to Franco. Indeed, the idea of the Movimiento encompassed several meanings, as laid out by Carrero himself: “I am a man who wholly identifies with the political work of the Caudillo, doctrinally embodied in the principles of the National Movimiento and in the Fundamental Laws of the Kingdom; my loyalty to his person is total, clear, clean and without a shadow of any intimate conditioning or the stain of any mental reservations towards the political work of the Caudillo. On the basis of these loyalties, my political significance, gentlemen, is very clear: I am a man of the Movimiento.”32

Linz identified the existence of several political tendencies within the Franco regime through his inside knowledge of the regime, which he earned through personal experience and close connections with some of its officers, and the use of new data collection and analysis techniques. However, when he inserted those tendencies into the operating logic of his conceptual framework, he overemphasized at least two aspects of their nature. First, he granted them a degree of internal organization that they never had. Second, he bestowed upon them a capacity to limit the power of the head of state that was wholly unrealistic.

The case of Carrero, one of the people closest to Franco and with the most significant capacity to influence him, shows that those who supported the regime could disagree on the direction it should take. Moreover, they consequently could also disagree on the power that those who belonged to the different factions should have within the regime. Nevertheless, no one ever questioned either the ideological foundations that arose from the war’s rebels’ victory (anti-liberalism, anti-communism, and anti-partisanship) or Franco’s absolute power within the regime. It was loyalty to the Caudillo and not belonging to any particular current that guaranteed the ability to participate in the dictatorship’s political life. Therefore, it was structurally impossible for such tendencies to limit the executive’s power or propose alternative political projects that would modify the regime’s founding principles.


Cortes Españolas (Spanish Courts) was the name of the legislative institution promulgated by Franco in 1942. The Cortes sought to present itself as the highest organizational body for the Spanish people and to participate in the work of the state. The main function of this institution was the development and adoption of laws, but subject to their subsequent sanction by Franco himself. It was similar to the corporate system of Italian Fascism. Its members, ex officio members appointed by the head of state or chosen from corporate entities, were known as procuradores (singular procurador), reviving a term used for legislators prior to the Napoleonic era, and they supposedly represented the various elements of Spanish society. The procuradores familiares (representatives of the families) made up one-fifth of the total number of members of the Cortes Españolas. During Franco’s dictatorship, there were two elections (October 10, 1967 and September 29, 1971) to choose these Cortes members. On those elections, see Domper Lasús, Dictatorship and the Electoral Vote: Francoism and the Portuguese New State Regime in Comparative Perspective, 1945–1975 (Liverpool, 2020); idem, “Voting under Franco: The Elections of the Family Procuradores to the Cortes and the Limits of the Opening up of Francoism,” in Miguel Ángel Ruiz Carnicer (ed.), From Franco to Freedom: The Roots of the Transition to Democracy in Spain, 1962–1982 (Eastbourne, UK, 2018), 70–100.


fet-jons (Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista) was also known as Movimiento Nacional (National Movement) or simply Movimiento.


On Linz’ life before arriving in New York, see Thomas Jeffrey Miley and José Ramón Montero, “Un Retrato de Juan José Linz Storch de Gracia,” in idem (eds.), Juan J. Linz. Obras Escogidas. Fascismo: Perspectivas Históricas y Comparadas (Madrid, 2008), xxi–xxx; Juan José Linz, “Between Nations and Disciplines: Personal Experience and Intellectual Understanding of Societies and Political Regimes,” in Hans Daalder (ed.), Comparative European Politics: The Story of a Profession (Washington, D.C., 1997), 101–103.


On behaviorism see James Farr, “Remembering the Revolution: Behavioralism in American Political Science,” in idem, John Dryzek, and Stephen Leonard (eds.), Political Science in History: Research Programs and Political Traditions (Cambridge, 1995), 198–223; Robert Adcock, “Behavioralism,” in Mark Bevir (ed.), Encyclopedia of Political Theory (Los Angeles, 2010), 112–114.


Nils Gilman, Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (Baltimore, 2003), 47. Robert Dahl, quoted in Quentin Skinner, “The Empirical Theorists of Democracy and Their Critics: A Plague on Both Their Houses,” Political Theory, I (1973), 287. Gary Marks and Larry Diamond, “Seymour Martin Lipset and the Study of Democracy,” American Behavioral Scientist, XXXV (1992), 352–362.


Gilman, Mandarins of the Future, 49. For a summary of Harold Laski’s thesis and its insertion into the debate on pluralism that took place in the heart of American political science throughout the 1920s, see John Gunnell, “The Declination of the State and the Origins of American Pluralism,” in Farr, Dryzek, and Leonard (eds.) Political Science in History, 19–40. On the normative mechanics of pluralism, see Farr, “Remembering the Revolution,” 204–205, and Rainer Eisfeld, “Pluralism,” in Bertrand Badie, Dirk Berg-Schlosser, and Leonardo Morlino (eds.), International Encyclopedia of Political Science (Los Angeles, 2011), 1867–1868.


Gunnell, “The Declination of the State,” 19; Gilman, Mandarins of the Future, 49; Enzo Traverso, El Totalitarismo. Historia de Un Debate (Buenos Aires, 2001), 104.


Gabriel Almond, “Comparative Political Systems,” in Heinz Eulau, Samuel Eldersveld, and Morris Janowitz (eds.), Political Behavior: A Reader in Theory and Research (Glencoe, 1956), 40; Herbert Lionel Matthews, The Yoke and the Arrows: A Report on Spain (New York, 1957), 100; Raymond Aron, Sociologie des societés industrielles. Esquisse d’une théorie des regimes politiques (Paris, 1958), 50–51. Bevir and Adcock, “Political Science,” in Roger Backhouse and Philippe Fontaine (eds.), The History of Social Sciences since 1945 (Cambridge, 2010), 87; Gilman, Mandarins of the Future, 113–202.


On the preparation of this survey and Linz’ role in its methodological direction, see Miley and Montero, “Un retrato de Juan José Linz Storch de Gracia,” xli–xlii. On the insertion of this survey in the political dynamics of the Franco regime and its results, see Ponce Alberca, “El régimen al final del régimen. Cambio social y último franquismo desde la Delegación Nacional de Provincias,” Alcores, XIX (2015), 180–185. Miley and Montero, “Un retrato de Juan José Linz Storch de Gracia,” xlii–xliii.


Linz’ text was published a year later with the same title in Erik Allardt and Yrjö Littunen (eds.), Cleavages, Ideologies and Party Systems: Contributions to Comparative Political Sociology (Helsinki, 1964), 291–341. The idea of groups coexisting with the dominant power had already been raised by Adam Bruno Ulam, Robert MacKenzie, and Jerzy Wiatr during the Fifth World Congress of Sociology in 1962 to deny the totalitarian character of the Soviet regime in Poland. Linz, “Report of the Discussion. First Session, Political Sociology,” in Transactions of the Fifth World Congress of Sociology (Washington, D.C., 1964), 389–390.


Linz, “Opposition to and under an Authoritarian Regime: The Case of Spain,” in Robert Dahl (ed.), Regimes and Oppositions (New Haven, 1973), 171–259.


Linz, “Una teoría del régimen autoritario. El caso de España,” in Manuel Fraga Iribarne, Juan Velarde Fuertes, and Salustiano del Campo Urbano (eds.), La España de los Años Setenta: el estado y la política. (Madrid, 1974), III, 1467–1531; Enrique Moradiellos, La España de Franco (1939–1975). Política y sociedad (Madrid, 2003), 216; Ismael Saz, Fascismo y Franquismo (Valencia, 2004), 249.


Miley, “Francoism as Authoritarianism: Juan Linz and His Critics,” Politics, Religion & Ideology, XII (2011), 36; Manuel Ramírez, España 1939–1975: Régimen político e ideología (Barcelona, 1978), 40, n. 15; Manuel Tuñon de Lara, “Algunas propuestas para análisis del franquismo,” in VII Coloquio de Pau: De la crisis del antiguo régimen al franquismo (Madrid, 1977), 100–101, n. 12; Julián Santamaria Ossorio, “Sobre Juan Linz y la monumentalidad de su obra,” Revista de Estudios Políticos, CLXVI (2014), 238.


That law not only put an end to the Francoist institutionalization process but also reflected the rising interest among some of the political factions supporting the regime in implementing channels that would increase the representation of its institutions. This was a legal feature created in the nineteenth century that encompassed the member of a family, of legal age, on whom the other individuals in the household depend. This position was under the control of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, Franco’s right-hand man, and technocrats.


Said reports were sent to the Undersecretariat of the Ministry of the Interior and are kept in the Archive of the Ministry of the Interior (hereinafter ami), reference number 4,613.


Report by the civil governor of Álava, ami, 4.613.


Domper Lasús, Dictatorship and the Electoral Vote: Francoism and the Portuguese New State Regime in Comparative Perspective, 1945–1975 (Liverpool, 2022).


On this issue, see Pedro Cobo Pulido, “Las asociaciones de cabezas de familia como cauce de representación: Un fallido intento de apertura del régimen franquista,” Espacio, Tiempo y Forma. Serie V, Historia Contemporánea, XIV (2001), 437–488, and Domper Lasús, “Un callejón sin salida. La reforma del sistema electoral franquista, 1957–1973,” Historia Contemporánea, LXIX (2022), 635–667.


López Rodó was the leader of the Franco government’s technocratic group and promoter of the administrative reforms undertaken by the regime starting in the late 1950s. Solís was the Minister-Secretary General of fet-jons and leader of the ose. López Rodó, Memorias. Años decisivos (Barcelona, ​​1991), 259; Solis to López Rodó, September 27, 1967, General Administration Archive, General Secretariat of the Movimiento, Box 102.


Both Fanjul Sedeño and Luca de Tena had been part of the pro-monarchy candidacy, led by Joaquín Satrústegui and Joaquín Calvo Sotelo, which tried unsuccessfully to contest the election of councilors representing the heads of family in the Madrid City Council in 1954 against the official candidacy led by fet-jons.


Report by the civil governor of Álava, ami, 4.613. The Carlist candidates were José Ángel Zubiaur Alegre (deputy director of Finance of the Provincial Council, former provincial deputy, and former councilor representative of the heads of family in the Pamplona city council) and Auxilio Goñi Donázar (former deputy mayor of the Pamplona city council). Report by the civil governor of Navarre, ami, 4.613. The Fueros of Navarre (General Charter of Navarre) were the laws of the Kingdom of Navarre until 1841—a sort of constitution that defined the position of the king, the nobility, and the judicial procedures. This meant that royal decisions needed to conform to the provisions set out by the charters. Franco’s regime considered Álava and Navarre pro-Franco provinces and allowed them to maintain a degree of autonomy unknown in the rest of Spain, with local telephone companies, provincial limited-bailiwick police forces, road works, and some taxes to support local government.


Report by the civil governor of Valencia, ami, 4.613; Report by the civil governor of Badajoz, ami, 4.613.


Report by the civil governor of Ávila, ami, 4.613. Caciquismo was one of the words used by Francoist authorities to accuse those they considered their enemies to be doing liberal politics. Report by the civil governor of Soria, ami, 4.613.


Report by the civil governor of Sevilla, ami, 4.613.


Report by the civil governor of Ciudad Real, ami, 4.613. Report by the civil governor of Castellón, ami, 4.613. Report by the civil governor of Alicante, ami, 4.613.


Report by the civil governor of Toledo, ami, 4.613. Report by the civil governor of Álava, ami, 4.613.


Ibid.; Report by the civil governor of Córdoba, ami, 4.613; Report by the civil governor of Cáceres, ami, 4.613; Report by the civil governor of Toledo, ami, 4.613.


The National Council of the Movimiento was a chartered institution of the Franco dictatorship that was subordinate to the head of state. Originally created under the name of National Council of fet-jons amid the Civil War, it continued to exist after Franco’s death and until 1977. Its internal structure was heavily inspired by the Grand Fascist Council and the National Council of the Italian National Fascist Party. Its councilors (limited to 50 members) were appointed for the first time by Franco in 1937. This integrated all the political forces that intervened in the coup of July 1936 that gave rise to the Civil War, and which had been unified by decree in April 1937. The Francoist single party was created by Franco in 1937 as a merger of the Carlist, monarchist, and ultracatholic Traditionalist Communion with the fascist Falange Española de las JONS. In other words, it was a home not only to Spanish fascists but also to all those who supported the regime. Like the Cortes Españolas, the National Council was dissolved shortly before the 1977 elections. A copy of the data compiled by the Delegación Nacional de Provincias was provided by Fernando Azancot (Secretario Nacional de Provincias, 1974–1976). Those interested in these documents can contact Julio Ponce at


Ponce Alberca, “El régimen al final del régimen,” 175–206.


The names of the provinces follow the conventions established by the Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas, see


Fernando Suárez de Tangil y Angulo, Las obras públicas en España y los gobiernos de autoridad (Madrid, 1954), 20.


Manuel Campo Vidal, Información y servicios secretos en el atentado al presidente Carrero Blanco (Barcelona, 1983), 71.

Author notes

An audio version of this article is available at