Democratic Spain (since 1976) Part IV

By | September 4, 2021

A terrorist attack with a delivery van on the “Las Ramblas” promenade in Barcelona killed 14 people on August 17, 2017, and more than 100 injuries. On the night of August 18, 2017, a vehicle also drove into a group of people in the seaside resort of Cambrils, southwest of Barcelona. One woman was killed and seven other people injured.

After the national criminal court had imposed fines and sometimes long prison sentences against former PP party members for the corruption affair at the end of May 2018, M. Rajoy was voted out of office on June 1, 2018 by a constructive vote of no confidence. His successor in the office of prime minister was PSOE chairman P. Sánchez, who had tabled the motion of no confidence. His swearing-in took place a day later. He formed a minority government to which a number of non-party members belong and in which the majority of the ministerial posts were held by women, according to the economics and finance ministries. After parliament had submitted the draft budget of the socialist minority government, P. Sánchez resigned in February 2019 Just eight months after he came to power, early parliamentary elections were held on April 28, 2019, which normally would not have been due until June 2020. The PSOE was the strongest force with 28.7% of the vote, followed by the PP with 16.7% of the vote. However, neither the left nor the right parties were able to achieve an absolute parliamentary majority. The right-wing populist Vox party moved into the House of Representatives for the first time (10.3%). The election result for new elections on November 10, 2019 was similar. The PSOE achieved 120 of 350 seats with 28% of the vote, the PP was the second strongest with 20.8% (88 seats), Vox won 15.1% of the votes (52 seats) and Unidas Pademos came with 9.8% (26 seats). The socialist PSOE formed a coalition government for the first time in the history of Spanish democracy. P. Sánchez was elected Prime Minister in the second ballot in January 2020 with a narrow simple majority (167 votes to 165 with 18 abstentions). The minority government made up of the socialist PSOE and left-wing populist Unidas Podemos was initially the solution to a political blockade.

ETA terrorism and aspirations for autonomy

According to thesciencetutor, public life in Spain was repeatedly shaken by the ETA terrorist attacks. A new party law passed by parliament in June 2002 made it possible to ban political parties that support terrorist organizations. A subsequent ban on the Basque party Batasuna, which was accused of having ties to the ETA at the end of August 2002, led to riots and protest demonstrations in several Basque cities when its party offices were closed, and ETA announced new v. a. attacks directed against PP and PSOE. In March 2003, the Batasuna was banned by the Supreme Court. An offer to talk to the new Prime Minister Zapatero (2005) initially countered the ETA with further acts of terrorism, but declared a permanent ceasefire at the end of March 2006. After the bomb attack on the car park at Madrid airport on December 30, 2006, which ETA claimed, Zapatero said the peace process for finished. In June 2007, the ETA officially terminated the ceasefire; In autumn 2007, police arrested several high-ranking ETA and Batasuna activists in what these organizations called a “declaration of war” by the Spanish government. Despite successful police searches, two police officers were killed in December 2007 and a former local council in the Basque Country ahead of the elections in March 2008. Before the 2008 elections, the Basque parties were PCTV (Communist Party of the Basque Country) and ANV (Basque Nationalist Action) have been banned because of their proximity to the terrorist organization ETA. Terror reached a new dimension by expanding beyond mainland Spain. Bomb attacks were carried out for the first time on the island of Mallorca in July and August 2009, for which ETA took responsibility. Tourism was hardly affected by this, however. On October 20, 2011, ETA announced that it had finally renounced armed struggle. In February 2014 she announced a partial disarmament for the first time. Several weapon stashes were sealed under the supervision of international observers and explosives were defused. On May 2, 2018, ETA announced its self-dissolution.

In addition to Basque separatism, the Aznar government saw itself after a change of power in Catalonia (Replacement of the moderate nationalists by a left-wing coalition) in December 2003 also in this region, the economically most important Spain, confronted with increased demands for independence. In 2006 the Catalan population voted in a referendum in favor of a new statute of autonomy that further strengthened the rights of the region (partly declared unconstitutional in 2010). On September 11, 2012, around 1.5 million Catalans took part in a demonstration in Barcelona to demonstrate for the independence of their region. The Rajoy government rejected the required tax sovereignty and rejected the aspirations for independence. Thereupon the government of the Catalan Prime Minister Artur Mas i Gavarró resigned (* 1956) early elections for November 25, 2012.

Democratic Spain (since 1976) 4