History of General Assemblies
The Juntas Generales (General Assemblies) are the maximum body of representation and popular participation of the biscayans: the Parliament of Bizkaia. As a parliamentary institution, it carries out its normative capacity in its fields of competence for the advancement of Bizkaia. It also carries out the control and follow-up of the activity of the Regional Government of Bizkaia.
Their headquarters are in the Casa de Juntas (Assembly Hall) in Gernika, beside the legendary oak tree, where the Plenary Sessions are held. The Institution has its administrative headquarters in Bilbao, and its institutional headquarters at the Assembly Hall in Abellaneda and at the Hermitage of San Salvador and San Clemente in Gerediaga (Abadiño), seat of the Assemblies of the Durango District.
The Biscayan parliament has a long-standing historical tradition, whose origins date back to the Middle Ages, which makes it one of the first democratic political systems in Europe. The General Assemblies developed democratic instruments such as the Habeas Corpus, the prohibition of torture and Hidalguía Universal (universal freedom, abolition of vassalage), a long time before other institutions in Europe.
Recovered in 1979 after a break of more than one hundred years caused by the abolition of The Fueros (territorial laws) in 1876, the General Assemblies of Bizkaia have played a prominent role in the institutionalisation process which has been taking place in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country and in the recovery of the historical rights of the Basque Territories.
The recognition of the historical rights of the Basque Territories took shape in article 3 of the Gernika Statute of Autonomy, in which it is stated that the said territories may retain, or if necessary, re-establish and update their particular organisation and self-government institutions.
The particular self-government institutions of our Historical Territory are the General Assemblies as the parliamentary chamber, and the Regional Government as the executive body.