• Armengol Congress assures that the territorial model of the Constitution "leaves the way open" for citizens to decide
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How much do young Spaniards know about the Constitution? Do you know in whom national sovereignty resides? And that Princess Leonor wouldn't be the heir to the throne if she had a male brother? To try to assess how far their knowledge goes, we asked CEU universities to ask some of their students six questions about the Magna Carta.

We also submitted to the same questionnaire five other university students whom we have summoned to the newsroom in Madrid with the excuse that we are making a portrait of the generation that has already grown up with the norm established to prevent them from being able to prepare for the exam. Lucía Lizarraga, 18 years old, a 2nd year Pharmacy student at the Complutense University; Jorge Lorenzo, 20 years old, 3rd year of Organization Engineering at the Polytechnic; Rafael Mayor, 19 years old, 2nd year of Marketing at CEU; Irene Juárez, 20 years old, 3rd year of Journalism at the Complutense University, and Lucas Alburquerque, 20 years old, 1st year of Industrial Systems Engineering at the Francisco de Vitoria University.

Their answers are in addition to the 126 questionnaires sent to us by the CEU, from students of its Faculties in Madrid -CEU San Pablo, 57 answers-, Barcelona -Universitat Abat Oliba CEU, 26 answers- and Valencia -CEU Cardenal Herrera University, 43 answers-. Among them are 29 students of Journalism, 24 of Law, 11 of Biotechnology, 10 of Audiovisual Communication, 8 of Pharmacy... 64 are in 1st grade; 27 are in 2nd; 14 in 3rd; 16 in 4th; four in 5th grade and one in 6th grade.

1 – In what year was the Constitution promulgated?

Good: 111 (84.7%)

Bad: 12 (9.2%)

Don't know: 8 (6.2%)

Most of our university students know that the Constitution dates back to 1978 and is therefore 45 years old. 84.7% answered correctly. Two students, one from the 5th year of a double degree in Humanities and Digital Communication and the other from the 2nd year of Architecture, respond to 1812, the year of the Constitution of Cadiz, known as the Pepa.

As a curious fact, it should be noted that although there are still more Spaniards born in the pre-constitutional era - 22,003,155 over 45 years of age, data from the INE for 2022 - the number of those who have already grown up with it is close: 19,919,884 under 45.

The five students who answer in person in our newsroom all get this question right.

2. What is the political form of the Spanish state?

Good: 95 (72.5%)

Bad: 34 (25.9%)

Don't know: 2 (1.5%)

Almost three out of four know that our form of government is the "parliamentary monarchy". Among the most repeated rulings is that it is a "democracy" (6 answers), a "parliamentary democracy" (3), "a constitutional monarchy" (7), a "democratic monarchy" (3) or a "monarchy" (two). A 3rd year biotechnology student responds: "Currently false democracy (partitocracy)."

Our five university students have three failures and two successes: "democratic government", "it is defined as a monarchical democratic state", "democracy and monarchy".

3- Who owns national sovereignty?

Good: 101 (77.1%)

Bad: 27 (20.6%)

Don't know: 3 (2.3%)

"National sovereignty resides in the Spanish people, from whom the powers of the State emanate," reads Article 1.2 of the Constitution. Among the failures (one in five) is the number of students (12) who attribute it to the King. Eight answer that it resides in the "President of the Government" or directly mention "Pedro Sánchez". Three answer "in Parliament"; two, "in the voters," and two others "in the state."

"In Spain it resides under a group of deputies who do what they want", they answer in the 2nd year of Architecture. "According to the text, in the Spanish people. The reality: in the structures of political and economic power (political parties and companies)", answers a 3rd year double degree student in Law and International Relations. "As the name itself says, in the nation. But in Spain there is no national sovereignty. In Spain, the State is sovereign," says another 2nd year Biotechnology student.

Among our five students, two correct answers and three failures: "It resides in the President of State, who is King Felipe VI", "in the King", "King".

4. What is the official state religion?

Good: 59 (45%)

Bad: 71 (54.2%)

Don't know: 1 (0.76%)

"No confession shall have a state character. The public authorities shall take into account the religious beliefs of Spanish society and shall maintain the consequent relations of cooperation with the Catholic Church and other confessions," reads Article 16.

The number of students who answer this question incorrectly outnumbers those who get it right. All the rulings (71) point to "Catholicism" or "Christianity" as the official religion.

Our five university students are all wrong: "Catholic, but free worship is allowed, not as in previous constitutions," says one of them.

Irene and Lucia answering the questions.

5- Can foreigners vote in elections in Spain, and, if so, in which ones?

Good: 24 (18.3%)

Bad: 105 (80.15%)

Don't know: 2 (1.5%)

According to Article 13, foreigners will have "the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections" provided that they are from countries with which there is a treaty that allows Spanish citizens to exercise the right to vote there under the same conditions. .

Eight out of ten of the 131 university students questioned failed: 27 (20.61%) believed that foreigners could not vote in any electoral process in Spain and 34 (25.95%) considered that they needed Spanish nationality to do so.

"Yes, they can vote. They have the right to vote in all of them," says a 2nd year double degree student in Humanities and Audiovisual Communication. "Those who have an ID card and a residence in Spain," answers another 3rd year of Information Systems Engineering.

Of the five we surveyed in situ, only one is right, and perhaps because he has an advantage: "Yes, in the municipal elections. I know this one because my mother is Italian."

6- What does the Constitution say about who should inherit the Crown? Do you establish any priority based on the sex of the children of the Kings?

Good: 60 (45.8%)

Bad: 65 (49.6%)

Don't know: 6 (4.5%)

Much of Princess Leonor's generation is unaware that the Constitution gives priority to the male when it comes to succession to the Crown. Half of them do not know that if the King and Queen had had a son, even if he was younger than Eleanor, it would be up to him to reign.

"I don't think there is a preference in sex since King Felipe VI had only two daughters," responds a 2nd year Digital Communication student. "Until the 2th century, only a man could reign, but now that's no longer the case," says another 1nd year journalism student. "The King's eldest son/daughter. The Constitution was changed so that a woman could inherit," says a student who is in the 2005st year of Advertising and International Relations. "Before a reform in 1, there was a preference for men, but that provision was eliminated" (<>st Law).

Our five students are no more correct: two correct answers versus three errors. "It makes no distinction between the sexes", "when Queen Elizabeth inherited the throne, being a woman, she could not reign and the Salic law was proclaimed allowing her to reign. Currently the first child reigns", "the firstborn of the current King, that is, Eleanor", they reply.

7. What would you change about the Constitution?

In addition to the six questions to test their knowledge of the Constitution, we asked the 131 students what reforms they would make to the Magna Carta.

20% (26) would not touch any of the text. "It shouldn't be able to change easily, it's the most valuable thing we have as citizens, it's our freedoms and rights," says a 4th year Advertising and Public Relations student. Three would modify it entirely: "Everything. From territorial division and education, to the Church-State relationship or the right to life," says a student who is in the 3rd year of History and Journalism.

Two call for a modification on which there seems to be consensus but which has never been carried out: the removal of the term "disabled" to refer to people with disabilities. A 1st year law student would legalize weapons "with limits" and two would like the Constitution to protect owners from squatters. This is the opinion of a 1st year law student. "Occupation laws should be stricter, as in France, Germany and the Netherlands, where evictions are carried out 48 hours after the complaint is filed. Here, on the other hand, the procedure is long, so it is an unsolved problem."

A 1st year journalism student would change "the Monarchy for a Republic" and another believes that it should be put to a vote "whether or not the people want a Monarchy". On the other hand, five would reinforce the figure of the King. "Greater power to the King, who is a mere puppet in political conversations. Perhaps to get closer to the British or northern European models, where the King is of great importance," they say in 2nd year of Journalism.

"The King should have more power," replies a 1st year student of Economics and International Relations. "I would not change any law, but I would see the need for the intervention of the head of state when several articles of law are breached by the government; it would be a good example of order" (1st year of Journalism). "That the King has a power beyond that of representation at the international level" (2nd year of Biotechnology). "It would strengthen the figure of the King as Head of State and Spain as a Parliamentary Monarchy" (1st year of Data Science and Engineering).

There are two students who do not believe that suffrage should be universal: "It would change the current partitocracy and implement a voting restriction on capable people," says a 3rd year student of Pharmacy and Human Nutrition and Dietetics. "Not all votes should be worth the same. An informed person is not worth the same as an ignorant person," responds one of the five students who come to our newsroom.

Ten call for a reform of the article that gives priority to the male in the succession to the throne. "The logical thing would be that the person who inherits would be the first born, regardless of their sex," says a 1st year student of Audiovisual Communication and Journalism. Four call for the separation of powers to be strengthened. Among them is this 2nd year Biotechnology student: "A real separation of powers, where the Judiciary is not coerced by the Government of the day".

However, most of the modifications that would be made by the university students questioned focus on several current issues, such as amnesty and independence. "I would explicitly prohibit amnesty, as well as self-determination," reads the questionnaire from a 1st year student of Economics and International Relations. "Laws such as amnesty should be voted on, since it concerns all Spaniards," says another 2nd year Biotechnology student. A colleague from the same course and career is in favor of "tightening the laws that prevent the amnesty of separatists and criminals." "It would be important for the Constitution to make it clear whether there is any type of amnesty that is legal or not, as is the case with pardons and their types," says a student in 1st year of Audiovisual Communication and Journalism.

I would reform the Constitution "so that the President of the Government does not skip it", responds a 5th year Pharmacy student. "Strengthen it so that the Socialist Party does not pass it without any kind of consequence," replies another who is in the 4th year of Biomedical Engineering and Telecommunications Systems Engineering.

Regarding the independence movement, a 4th year Biomedical Engineering student is in favour of a referendum. "To solve the problem of nationalism, I would submit to a referendum (at the level of the whole of Spain) the change of those articles in the Constitution that define Spain as an indivisible State. If the majority of Spanish society agrees with the independence of some Autonomous Communities, let it be allowed. Or the other way around."

Another 2nd year of Journalism would change the Magna Carta "to solve the separatist problem and put an end once and for all to that burden that Spain has that has only generated problem and pain". And he adds: "You can't make an advanced country if every four or eight years everything that the previous government has done is repealed just because it has been done by the party contrary to your ideas."

A 3rd year student of Law and International Relations would add "a specific section in which the creation and participation of political parties whose sole purpose is the separation and division of the Spanish nation is prevented".

And this is the analysis of the Constitution made by another student of the same course and career: "It is a botched job at the legal level and at the level of political science. There are no effective counterweights that can guarantee compliance with the Magna Carta, in addition to the fact that it repeatedly contradicts itself. It is a Constitution that is not complied with and will not be complied with, because it is designed so that if it is not complied with, nothing will happen. Many Spaniards now defend the Constitution as if the PSOE were putting an end to it, but the reality is that it has always been breached, and the PSOE is only doing a breach that is perhaps more striking than the previous parties in power."

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