Self-Regulation of Ethical Behavior: The Case of Political Parties and Parliament in Spain Articles uri icon



publication date

  • June 2022

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 13

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1099-9922

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1558-0989


  • Spanish politicians have attempted to respond to the growing concern about declining trust in representative institutions through ethical self-regulation and meta-regulation instruments. This article focuses on a study of Parliament and the six major political parties with parliamentary representation. It attempts to explain the reasons for adopting these new regulations and proceeds with an in-depth analysis of the existing rules, oversight, and enforcement methods in Parliament and within party organizations. As a result of European pressure, Spanish Parliament has developed a new code of ethics, but it has not strengthened internal procedures and mechanisms to bring them into compliance with the standing rules. Furthermore, political parties have developed an entire set of basic compliance measures influenced by the law on the criminal liability of legal persons. In both cases, oversight and enforcement are exceedingly weak. None of these measures has improved confidence in politicians in Spain. Two lessons can be learned. First is that without politicians" commitment, ethical reforms do not work. Secondly, today"s new technologies, linked to a social network society, make window-dressing deception more difficult.


  • Politics


  • political ethics; self-regulation; meta-regulation; trust; spain