Spain. Already in January, the Basque separatist movement ETA set out its threat from autumn 1999 to resume its terrorist activities after a 14-month ceasefire. In January, an army officer was killed and several were injured. The Spaniards were furious that the violence had begun again, and at the end of January, a million people marched through Madrid’s streets in a huge protest demonstration against the terror. At the head of the train were Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar and the opposition leader, former Prime Minister Felipe González. ETA continued its terror with eerie consequence throughout the year with deaths, car bombs and explosive charges. The victims were politicians, police, military and ETA-critical journalists.
In the March parliamentary elections, Prime Minister José María Aznar and his conservative Partido Popular, PP, won a landslide victory and gained their own majority in parliament. It was the first time since the dictator Francisco Franco died and Spain became a democracy that the Conservatives came in that position. The grand victory can be explained by the fact that during his four years in power PP had pursued a successful economic policy and the socialists had no powerful alternative.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Offers three letter and two letter abbreviations for the country of Spain. Also covers country profile such as geography, society and economy.
The economy continued its favorable development during the year, and the Spaniards approached an increasingly common European standard of living.
ETA had called on the Basques to boycott the election, but the turnout among them was proportionally higher than in the rest of Spain.
At its congress in July, the Socialists elected a new leader, 39-year-old MEP José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero from the northern province of León.
Boliden decided in the autumn to sell its zinc mine in Los Frailes outside Seville. The reason was said to be that it was not profitable enough.
1982 Social democracy to power
In the October 1982 elections, the Spanish Social Democracy, the PSOE won the majority of seats in Cortes, and its leader, Felipe González, became “government president” – similar to the prime minister. The Social Democratic government was subsequently re-elected in 1988 and 1993.
The majority in parliament enabled the PSOE government to implement a plan for alignment and growth. Consumption increased, but unemployment remained high and the tension between the government and the UGT similarly high. In foreign policy, the Spanish government was very active as a member of the OECD and the Council of Europe. In 1986, Spain also joined NATO. While the PSOE had been in opposition, the party had opposed such an admission, but when it first gained power, it was necessary to carry out a swift admission confirmed by a referendum. NATO’s current Secretary General, Javier Solana, comes from the PSOE and has a past as a sharp opponent of the military alliance.
Despite NATO membership, Spain has an unresolved conflict with Britain over Gibraltar occupied by the English in 1704. At the same time, however, Spain has colonies in Ceuta and Melilla on the Moroccan north coast, which Morocco claims.
Despite agreements with the United States to reduce the superpower’s troop presence in Spain, it was from North American bases in Spain that the B-52 bombers relieved attacking Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War.
In 1992, the Spanish state spent $ 10 billion to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the conquest of America, while launching a political approach to Europe. The European political demands stand in a wide range of areas in sharp contrast to the country’s traditional relations with Latin America.
After a period of intense activity, the Basque Liberation Movement, ETA, suffered a series of setbacks in 1993. Cooperation between French and Spanish security forces led to the arrest of a number of the movement’s leaders and the discovery of its main weapons stockpile in Bayonne, France.
The same year, the Spanish government implemented cuts in defense, public spending and support for the industrial sector. In November, Parliament ratified the Maasstricht Treaty. A bill that made it easier to fire workers or transfer them to other work triggered a general strike in January 1994, but the proposal was nevertheless adopted on the grounds that it was necessary for the sake of competitiveness. Unemployment reached 22%. The highest in the EU.
A number of PSOE leaders were investigated because of links with economic crime. Among the imprisoned socialists were the former directors of Banco de España and Reserva Cambiaria de Madrid, as well as the financier Mario Conde who had been responsible for the sale of Banco Español de Crédito.
After many similar scandals, the Socialist government lost important parliamentary support in 1995, when the Catalan bourgeois nationalist party, Convergencia y Unión (CiU) withdrew its support and, together with Partido Popular (PP), voted against the Finance Act. While defending his own and his government’s behavior, Gonzales accelerated the elections by a year.
The impending right-wing electoral victory caused ETA to change strategy. In January 1995, the movement killed the PP’s leader in Guipúzcoa province and in April it attempted to carry out an attack against the PP’s leader and candidate of the prime minister, José María Aznar. In the May regional elections, PP won power in 10 of the 13 local governments.
According to COUNTRYAAH, the population of Spain in 2000 was 40,824,643, ranking number 28 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.520% yearly, and the population density was 81.8459 people per km2.