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Spain’s early parliamentary elections on 20 November 2011 were democratic and conducted transparently but some recent amendments to the electoral legal framework appear to be at odds with OSCE Commitments, concluded the final report released by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights on 17 February 2012.

The report says that voters had the opportunity to make an informed choice in a pluralistic electoral environment, while the legal framework provides an overall sound basis for the conduct of democratic elections.

However, the report adds that some recent amendments to the electoral law appear to be at odds with the 1990 OSCE Copenhagen Document. These amendments included the possibility to remove the mandate of elected officials before the expiry of their tenure.

According to the report, the legal requirement for a degree of equal territorial representation of the provinces means that less populated provinces are over-represented in parliament. As a result, the allocation of seats to constituencies does not fully ensure the equality of the vote.

Furthermore, the legal framework does not provide for non-party domestic and international observation, although electoral bodies did ensure that the OSCE/ODIHR election assessment mission had full access to all stages of the electoral process.

The report concludes that the media landscape is pluralistic while the complaints and appeals process provided for effective remedy of election related issues. However, the potential for delays in the publication of reports on the campaign expenditures of parties is noted as a concern.