Spain. Before the March parliamentary elections, immigration and the economic downturn with increasing unemployment were the focus. In the election, as expected, the ruling Socialist Party PSOE won with 44 percent of the vote. The Conservative PP got 40 percent. Both increased their mandate slightly; losers became regional small parties. In April, Parliament approved a new socialist minority government. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero remained as prime minister and of the other 17 members of government for the first time a majority of women.
In May, the Basque separatist movement arrested ETA political leader Javier López Peña, along with three other high-ranking ETA members in southern France. In November, the man designated as ETA’s military leader, Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, was also arrested in southern France. Both were believed to have been part of ETA canceling its ceasefire in June 2007 and to have been behind several fatalities with subsequent deaths. The arrests were a result of cooperation between Spanish and French police and were seen as important successes in the fight against the terrorist group. In September, the Supreme Court banned two Basque parties, PCTV and ANV, who were accused of links to ETA.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Click to see the meanings of 2-letter acronym and abbreviation of ES in general and in geography as Spain in particular.
In August, one of the SAS-owned airline Spanair crashed its plane at takeoff from Madrid airport Barajas. Of the 172 people on board, only 18. survived a technical error, according to an investigation.
1975 Transition towards democracy
In 1975, Franco died. He had crowned himself in 1947 and the power now passed on to the heir to the Spanish crown, Juan Carlos I de Borbón. It quickly became clear that it was not possible to continue the Franco regime as Prime Minister Arias Navarro tried otherwise. The king therefore appointed one of his young confidants as new head of government. The new Prime Minister, Adolfo Suarez, had his career linked to the fascist state apparatus, but at the same time gained confidence among the modern part of the bourgeoisie. Because of his friendship with the king, he secured himself against the conservative army leadership, and he met far and wide during the winter and spring of 1977 the opposition’s demand for the release of the political prisoners (especially the Basques) and the legalization of the political parties.
The parliament elected in 1977, after pressure from the left, became a constitutional assembly in practice. The new constitution, which replaced the Franco-era laws, defined Spain as a kingdom with parliamentary democracy, legal certainty, freedom of speech and organization, the right to strike, separation of church and state, and expanded self-government for the regions. The Constitution was passed by a referendum in 1978. Thus, the road was opened for a large number of politicians, intellectuals and artists to return home – in some cases after 40 years of exile.
The victor of the 1977 elections and again in 1979 was Prime Minister Suarez’s Center Democratic Union (UCD). This alliance of various liberal, conservative, Christian democratic and right-wing social democratic groups became the dominant party on the right. The conservative New Franciscans (Alianza Popular – Coalicion Democratica) were almost swallowed up by the UCD, while the aggressive Union Nacional gathered the small but active minority of fascist-inspired Franconostalgic groups.
The largest on the left was the Socialist Labor Party, the PSOE, which was the dominant party during the republic in the 1930s. From the end of the civil war, its influence had declined, and the leadership in exile gradually lost all contact with what was happening within Spain’s borders. From 1960, a new generation grew, taking over the leadership of the party in 1974, when the young Seville lawyer Felipe Gonzalez was elected secretary general. A number of smaller socialist parties and movements later joined the PSOE, among others. Socialist People’s Party (PSP), led by Enrique Tierno Galvan, who became the PSOE’s Honorary President.
The PSOE doubled its membership numbers in a short time. It was very ideologically composed, ranging from radical Marxists to moderate social democrats, and the conflicts concerned relations with Marxism, the view of regional self-government and the influence of the social democratic international of which the PSOE was a member. It had not had a particularly cordial relationship with the Communists, but after the municipal elections in 1979, the two parties entered into an agreement on mutual support in the election of mayors.
The Communist Party, the PCE, was formed by a scaling off of the PSOE in 1921, but was a small sectarian party until a new policy was launched in the 1930s. During the Civil War, the PCE was in favor of order, moderation, and cooperation with the middle class to win the war. They felt that the struggle for socialism could only begin after Franco was defeated. This led to several settlements with the revolutionary Trotskyists and anarchists, who were harshly treated or directly annihilated by the Communists, who strengthened their power through Soviet assistance.
After the defeat of the republic, the communists were the group most persecuted by Franco. When the World War and the guerrilla epoch were over in the late 1940s, a group of younger leaders advocated a reconciliation policy that would bring together all democratic forces to fight the Franco dictatorship. A line that gradually gained support and continued after Franco’s death and into the constitutional period after the election. In the mid-1970s, the PCE removed itself from Moscow’s hegemony and became one of the main representatives of ” Euro Communism “. In 1978, the PCE abandoned ” Leninism ” and defined itself as a “Marxist, democratic and revolutionary party”.
On the far left were a large number of small Maoist, Trotskyist and anarchist parties, the most important being the Marxist-Leninist Workers Revolutionary Organization (ORT) and the Labor Party (PT). The GRAPO movement called itself antifascist but was often accused of being infiltrated by provocateurs. It assumed responsibility for several assaults on police and military personnel. Several fascist terror groups also carried out attacks.
In February 81, a group of officers from the Guardia Civil Parliament captured Cortes and tried to bring down the government. But the coup failed and the democratic process consolidated, as all political parties and especially King Juan Carlos withdrew from it. It turned out that the king had the support of the military.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of Spain in 2008 was 46,930,904, ranking number 27 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.290% yearly, and the population density was 94.0878 people per km2.