In Spain, a president of an Autonomous Community[a][i] serves as the chief executive officer in each of the seventeen Autonomous communities and in the two Autonomous cities, where they receive the name of "Mayor-Presidents". As such, regional presidents are responsible for implementing regional laws and overseeing the operation of the state executive branch. As regional leaders, governors advance and pursue new and revised policies and programs using a variety of tools, among them executive laws, executive budgets, and legislative proposals.
The figure of a vice-president is not regulated, and as such, each regional president can decide whether to appoint them or not.
Autonomous communities in Spain have their own set of devolved powers; typically those communities with stronger local nationalism have more powers, and this type of devolution has been called asymmetrical. Some scholars have referred to the resulting system as a federal system in all but name, or a "federation without federalism". Spain is not a federation, but a decentralized unitary state. While sovereignty is vested in the nation as a whole, represented in the central institutions of government, the nation has, in variable degrees, devolved power to the communities, which, in turn, exercise their right to self-government within the limits set forth in the constitution and their autonomous statutes.
Each Autonomous community has its own Statute of Autonomy, and government, consisting of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
The president heads the government's executive branch in each Autonomous community or city and has control over government budgeting and a role in legislation. Spanish regional presidents do not have term limits and as such, they can serve indefinitely.
All regional presidents are indirectly elected, as it is the role of the regional parliaments to appoint them following regional elections, if they can command a majority.
Presidents of Andalusia, the Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia, whose Statutes of Autonomy and election laws were created by a special fast procedure, can also select the actual election date and trigger snap elections, and have frequently done so, particularly in the Basque Country and Catalonia. The Andalusian elections are usually set to coincide with the Spanish general elections, but again, there is no requisite to that effect in the Andalusian legislation. In the rest of Autonomies, elections are fixed to a certain common date, which is currently "the fourth Sunday of May each four years".
For each term, presidents serve four years in office. All members of regional parliaments are elected for four-year terms, but the president of the community has the faculty to dissolve the legislature and call for early elections. Nonetheless in all communities except for the Basque Country, Catalonia, Galicia, and Andalusia elections are held the last Sunday of May every four years, concurrent with municipal elections in all Spain.
The longest-serving current president is Miguel Ángel Revilla of Cantabria, who served as president from 2003 to 2011 and again since 2015. The longest-serving continuously president is Iñigo Urkullu from the Basque Country, serving since December 2012.
The longest-serving regional president of all time was Juan Carlos Rodríguez Ibarra of Extremadura, who was elected in 1983 and lasted until 2007, when he returned to his position as professor in the University of Extremadura.
The youngest regional president to serve was Joan Lerma of the Valencian Community (born in 1951), who became President of the Valencian government in 1982, at the age of 31.
As of March 2021, there are 15 male regional presidents and 4 female regional presidents: Francina Armengol of the Balearic Islands, Concha Andreu of La Rioja, Isabel Díaz Ayuso of the Community of Madrid and María Chivite of Navarre. Of those, Armengol, Andreu and Chivite belong to the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, while Díaz Ayuso is from the conservative People's Party.
Fifteen women have served or are currently serving as regional presidents, including one in an acting capacity. Asturias, the Basque Country, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castile and León, Catalonia, Ceuta, Extremadura, Galicia, Melilla and the Valencian Community have never had a female regional president.
The Region of Murcia is the only Autonomous community to have had female regional presidents from both major parties, although conservative María Dolores Pagán Arce served only in the acting capacity for a short time. Navarre was the first region where a woman followed another woman as regional president, with Uxue Barkos succeeding Yolanda Barcina (they were from different parties). Uxue Barkos was also succeeded by another woman, current President María Chivite. The Community of Madrid and Navarre have had the most female regional presidents with a total of three, and Navarre is also the first region to have three women in a row serve as president.
The total of four female regional presidents serving since 2019 at the same time is the current record in Spain.
There are currently no regional presidents who identify themselves as LGBT. However, former president of the Canary Islands Jerónimo Saavedra, recognized his homosexuality years after leaving the position. At the moment he is the only president or former regional president to have declared so.
21 of the regional presidents were born outside the Autonomous community where they served: Manuel Chaves, José Antonio Griñán and Juan Manuel Moreno of Andalusia (born in Ceuta, Madrid and Catalonia respectively), Hipólito Gómez de las Roces, Emilio Eiroa and Luisa Fernanda Rudi of Aragon (both born in Asturias and Rudi in Andalusia), Juan Luis Rodríguez-Vigil and Francisco Álvarez-Cascos of Asturias (born in Castile-La Mancha and Madrid), José Ramón Bauzá of the Balearic Islands (Madrid), Lorenzo Olarte of the Canary Islands (born in Galicia), José Joaquín Martínez of Cantabria (born in the Basque Country), José María Aznar of Castile and León (born in Madrid), María Dolores de Cospedal of Castilla-La Mancha (born in Madrid), José Montilla of Catalonia (born in Andalusia), Joaquín Leguina of Madrid (born in Cantabria), Carlos Collado Mena and Pedro Antonio Sánchez of Murcia (born in France and La Rioja, respectively), Yolanda Barcina of Navarre (born in Castile and León), Eduardo Zaplana and Jose Luis Olivas of the Valencian Community (born in Murcia and Castilla-La Mancha respectively). None of the current regional presidents were born outside of their Autonomous communities.
Apart from those, Francesc Antich Oliver, from the Balearic Islands, was born in Caracas, Venezuela, although he holds Spanish nationality.
Although Spain is a still predominantly Catholic country, the latest studies show an increasing decline of religious beliefs in Spanish society, with the latest CIS study conducted in May 2021 indicating that compared to 58.2% of the Spanish population that declare themselves Catholic, 37.5% declare themselves either atheist, agnostic or non-believer. Currently, the presidents of Andalusia, Asturias, the Basque Country, Extremadura, Galicia and Murcia declare themselves as Catholics, while the presidents of Aragon, the Balearic Islands (non-believer), Cantabria, Catalonia and the Community of Madrid declare themselves to be either atheist or non-believers.
The highest salary currently being accepted is that of Catalan President Pere Aragonés at EUR153,235.5 The lowest salary is that of Asturian President Adrián Barbón at EUR69,128.62.
Seven autonomies (Aragon, Basque Country, Catalonia, La Rioja, Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha and the Balearic Islands) currently offer their presidents a higher salary than the EUR85,608.72 paid to the Prime Minister of Spain.
Each tenure is set to last for four years. Presidents of Andalusia, the Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia can trigger snap elections, that would then restart the count until the next one. In the rest of Autonomies, elections are fixed to a certain common date, which is currently "the fourth Sunday of May each four years". If snap elections are triggered in these regions (See 2021 Madrilenian regional elections), the mandate given to the next elected president would last until the calendar date in which elections would have been called again.
The Region of Murcia and Extremadura are the only Autonomous Communities that, since 2014, limit the number of terms of their Presidents. The Region of Murcia stablishes the limit at two, whether consecutive or not, while Extremadura states that "not being able to be elected president of the Junta de Extremadura those who have already held this position for two successive terms, unless four years have passed since the end of their term and, in no case, whoever has held this position for at least eight years can be elected". Two more regions, Catalonia and Castilla-La Mancha, have had their Statutes of Autonomy modified to allow their regional parliaments to stablish a term limit, although mandates have not been regulated.
The existence of the figure of a vice-president varies by Autonomous community. In all communities it is a power of the elected President to appoint a vice-president to replace them if needed, but not all Presidents choose to have an official one, instead appointing a member of their cabinet as their possible replacement.
|Region||Title||Minimum Age||Spanish Citizenship||Member of Parliament||Sole employment||Sole office||Term limit||Notes|
|Andalusia||Presidente de la Junta de Andalucía||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|||
|Aragon||Presidente de la Diputación General de Aragón||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|||
|Asturias||Presidente del Principado de Asturias||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|||
|Balearic Islands||Presidente del Gobierno de las Islas Baleares
(President del Govern de les Illes Balears)
|Basque Country||Presidente del Gobierno Vasco (Lehendakari)||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|||
|Canary Islands||Presidente del Gobierno de Canarias||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|||
|Cantabria||Presidente de Cantabria||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|||
|Castile and Leon||Presidente de la Junta de Castilla y León||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|||
|Castilla-La Mancha||Presidente de la Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (Unregulated, allowed since 2019)|||
|Catalonia||Presidente de la Generalidad de Cataluña (President de la Generalitat de Catalunya)||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (Unregulated, allowed since 2006)|||
|Extremadura||Presidente de la Junta de Extremadura||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes
(Two consecutive terms, or having held the position for at least eight years, since 2014)
|Galicia||Presidente de la Junta de Galicia (Presidente da Xunta de Galicia)||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|||
|La Rioja||Presidente de la Comunidad Autónoma de La Rioja||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|||
|Madrid||Presidente de la Comunidad de Madrid||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|||
|Murcia||Presidente de la Región de Murcia||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes
(Two terms, since 2014)
|Navarre||Presidente de la Comunidad Foral de Navarra
(Nafarroako Gobernuko Lehendakaria)
|Valencian Community||Presidente de la Generalidad Valenciana (President de la Generalitat Valenciana)||18||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|||
Translation of terms