The Organic law stipulated the government to be ultimately responsible for all legislation of the country, with the re-established Cortes Generales working purely as an advisory body. As head of government, Franco was constitutionally in charge of appointing his own ministers, thus being the one source of legislation. The law of referendums of 1945 approved for all "fundamental law" to be approved by a popular referendum, in which only the family heads could vote. Local municipal councils were appointed similarly by family heads and local corporations through elections, while the government exercised the right to appoint mayors. In 1947, a law passed through a referendum revived the Spanish monarchy with Franco as regent for life, with the right to appoint his successor.
Franco in 1969.The consistent points in Francoism included above all authoritarianism, nationalism and anti-Freemasonry; some authors also quote integralism. All in all, Francoism showed a frontal rejection of Communism, Socialism and Anarchism. Although Franco and Spain under his rule adopted some trappings of fascism, he, and Spain under his rule, are not generally considered to be fascist
; among the distinctions, fascism entails a revolutionary aim to transform society, where Franco and Franco's Spain did not seek to do so, and, to the contrary, although authoritarian, were conservative and traditional.
Franco initially sought support from various groups, such as National syndicalism (nacionalsindicalismo) and the Roman Catholic Church (nacionalcatolicismo).
Unlike other ideological-based regimes' parties, such as the Italian National Fascist Party, German Nazi Party, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the FET-JONS were relatively heterogeneous instead of being an ideological monolith. Because of this, the Spanish State is generally considered to be authoritarian rather than fascist; among the distinctions, fascism entails a revolutionary aim to transform society, where Franco did not seek to do so, and, to the contrary, although authoritarian, were conservative and traditional.
While it included fascist elements, the Spanish State was very authoritarian: non-government trade unions and all political opponents across the political spectrum were either suppressed or tightly controlled by all means, including violent police repression.
Most country towns and rural areas were patrolled by pairs of Guardia Civil, a military police for civilians, which functioned as his chief means of social control. Larger cities, and capitals, were mostly under the heavily-armed Policía Armada, commonly called grises.
Members of the oppressed ranged from trade unions to communist and anarchist organizations to liberal democrats and Catalan or Basque separatists. The Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) and the Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT) trade-unions were outlawed, and replaced in 1940 by the corporatist Sindicato Vertical. The PSOE Socialist party and the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) were banned in 1939, while the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) went underground. University students seeking democracy revolted in the late '60s and early '70s, which was repressed by the grises. The Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) went into exile, and in 1959, the ETA armed group was created to wage a low-intensity war against Franco. Franco, like others at the time[who?], evidenced a concern about a possible Masonic conspiracy against his regime. Some non-Spanish authors[who?] have described it as being an "obsession".
Franco continued to personally sign all death warrants until just months before he died despite international campaigns requesting him to desist.
Franco's Spanish nationalism promoted a unitary national identity by repressing Spain's cultural diversity
. Bullfighting and flamenco were promoted as national traditions while those traditions not considered "Spanish" were suppressed. Franco's view of Spanish tradition was somewhat artificial and arbitrary: ... This cultural policy relaxed with time, most notably in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Franco was reluctant to enact any form of administrative and legislative decentralization and kept a fully centralized form of government ...
Franco dissolved the autonomy granted by the Spanish Republic to these two regions and to Galicia. Franco abolished the centuries-old fiscal privileges and autonomy (the fueros) in two of the three Basque provinces: Guipuzcoa and Biscay, but kept them for Alava. Among Franco's greatest area of support during the civil war was Navarre, also a Basque speaking region in its north half.
Franco also used language politics in an attempt to establish national homogeneity. Despite Franco being Galician, in accordance with his nationalist principles, he abolished the official statute and recognition for the Basque, Galician, and Catalan languages that the Spanish Republic had granted for the first time in the history of Spain. He returned to Spanish as the only official language of the State and education, ...
: all government, notarial, legal and commercial documents were still drawn up exclusively in Spanish and any written in other languages were deemed null and void.
Catholicism in its most conservative variant was made the official religion of the Spanish State
, which enforced Catholic social mores. The remaining nomads of Spain (Gitanos and Mercheros like El Lute) were especially affected. The Spanish State enforced Catholic behavior mainly by using a law (the Ley de Vagos y Maleantes, Vagrancy Act) enacted by Azaña. Civil servants had to be Catholic, and some official jobs even required a "good behavior" statement by a priest
. .... Divorce, contraceptives and abortion were forbidden. From 1954 onwards, homosexuality, pedophilia, and prostitution were criminal offenses, although the enforcement of this was seldom consistent.
Francoism professed a devotion to the traditional role of women in society, that is: loving child to her parents and brothers, faithful to her husband, residing with her family. Official propaganda confined her role to family care and motherhood. Most progressive laws passed by the Republic were made void, correspondingly. Women could not become judges, or testify in trial. They could not become university professors. In the 1960s and 1970s the situation became increasingly liberalized, finally reaching full liberalization after Franco's death.