Democratic Spain (since 1976) Part I

By | September 1, 2021

After Franco’s death (November 20, 1975), Juan Carlos was proclaimed King Juan Carlos I on November 22, 1975 and enthroned on November 27, 1975.

Together with the Prime Minister A. Suárez González, who he appointed in July 1976, he initiated the establishment of a parliamentary democracy (reform law of 1976). After re-admission of the parties, parliamentary elections took place on June 15, 1977, from which the Unión de Centro Democrático (UCD) emerged as the strongest force, its leader Suárez González was confirmed as prime minister. On December 6th, 1978 the population adopted a new constitution in a referendum (entry into force on December 29th, 1978). gives the regions of Spain the right to autonomy. Catalonia and the Basque Country were the first to regain a statute of autonomy in 1979; the other regions followed until 1983.

After the resignation of Suárez González in January 1981, members of the military and the Guardia Civil attempted a coup (occupation of the Cortes on February 23, 1981). Thanks to the initiative of the king, who called for loyalty to the constitution via radio and television, the coup collapsed on February 24th. On February 25, the UCD candidate L. Calvo Sotelo was elected Prime Minister. As a measure against the terrorist activities of extremist groups, v. a. the ETA, and to ward off unconstitutional coup attempts, the Cortes passed a law to combat rebellion and terrorism in 1981. According to programingplease, when Spain joined NATO (1982), the Spanish armed forces were politically integrated into an alliance of democratic states. British-Spanish talks led to the full opening of the Spanish border with Gibraltar in the years that followed.

With the disintegration of the politically heterogeneous UCD (1981/82), the field of parties, which was already characterized by a large number of regionalist parties, expanded further. In the 1982 elections, the Partido Socialista Obrero Español(PSOE) won an absolute majority and appointed F. González Márquez as prime minister (re-election in 1986, 1989 and 1993; 1986 with an absolute majority). González sought through social policy measures (e.g. the introduction of the 40-hour week)To secure the democratic system of government socio-politically, however, in the following years, with its education and school policy, it met with growing opposition from liberal-conservative circles and with its economic and social policy with increasing rejection among the workers (general strike 1988 and 1994). In foreign policy, the PSOE changed its orientation and respected the support for remaining in NATO by referendum (1986). The González government granted the 17 autonomous communities more competencies (especially in the field of education) in an »Autonomy Pact« (March 3, 1992). Since the end of 1994, the domestic political climate in Spain has been determined by press reports that the González government’s corruption and support for state terrorism (in its fight against ETA) accused. The manipulated campaign against the prime minister (revealed as such in early 1998) caused difficulties for the minority government: after the Catalan party alliance Convergència i Unió (CiU) withdrew its support, González dissolved parliament in January 1996. During the long period of the PSOE government, Spain was modernized and became part of the EU (joining the EC in 1986); In 1989 the peseta was incorporated into the European Monetary System (EMS). The conservative Partido Popular (PP) had developed into the most important opposition party in the early 1990s. It emerged from the early parliamentary elections in March 1996 as the strongest party, its chairman J. M. Aznar López became prime ministerchosen. His minority government was supported by the Catalan CiU, and until autumn 1997 also by the bourgeois Basque party Euzko Alderdi Jetzalea-Partido Nacionalista Vasco (EAJ-PNV). The successful economic policy of the PP (including fulfillment of the euro criteria) and the struggles for direction within the PSOE brought Aznar López to re-election in March 2000 with an absolute majority. Despite good prognoses, the PP surprisingly had to surrender power to the PSOE after the elections in March 2004, after a few days before the parliamentary elections several Islamist bomb attacks with 191 dead had shaken Madrid. On April 18, 2004, the new cabinet was sworn in under Prime Minister J. L. Rodríguez Zapatero.

The Zapatero government’s domestic policy was characterized by numerous reforms. In particular, the passing of the law on the approval of gay marriage met with great opposition from church representatives and the conservative Partido Popular. The number of foreigners living in the country reached the 4 million mark for the first time in 2005, around 50% of them were staying illegally in Spain and had neither a residence nor a work permit. In February 2005, the government started a three-month program that allowed around 800,000 immigrants with employment contracts to legalize their residence. In this way, the cabinet also hoped to solve the problem of the high level of undeclared work. In the following years, too, the government endeavored to pursue a policy of social equality. On January 1st In 2007, the “Law for the Promotion of Personal Autonomy” and for the care of people in need of care came into force, which regulated the establishment of a three-tier care system. This was followed in spring 2007 by the National Integration Plan, the v. a. Provided for educational measures in regions with a high density of foreigners. As part of an improved family policy, Parliament decided on October 18, 2007 to pay a birth premium (€ 2,500 per child). In the dispute over the rehabilitation of the victims of the Franco regime, an agreement was reached in autumn 2007 and a law was passed that overrides court judgments from the time of the dictatorship and regulates the removal of symbols of the Franco regime from public life. At about the same time, on October 28, 2007, the Catholic Church spoke to 498 Catholic clergymen, Blessed are religious and laypeople who were murdered by Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. The trial of the terrorist attacks in Madrid ended in October 2007 with a conviction of 20 (three of them maximum sentences) of the total of 28 survivors. The injured and the relatives of the 191 fatalities were awarded damages of € 1.5 million each. The judges excluded the Basque underground organization ETA from being involved in the Madrid attacks (this suspicion had been expressed by the government at the time).

Democratic Spain (since 1976) 1