Aznar declares before Spanish parliamentary commission

Aznar appears today before the parliamentary investigation commission set up to investigate events prior to and immediately after the terrorist attacks carried out in Madrid in March. The commission’s objective is to find out exactly what can be done in the future to avoid or better manage terrorist attacks, rather than to signal political responsability but, perhaps inevitably, it is being used by all sides as a political football, and the appearance of Aznar is expected to further heighten the existing tension between Spain’s two main political parties.

The Popular Party has always blamed their electoral defeat either on the terrorist attack itself or on what their members see as “manipulation” of events by their opponents after the attacks. Only last week their party spokesman told a rally that the March elections outcome was the result of a “remote-control attack” against his party. The former Interior Minister, Angel Acebes, has always denied any mismanagement of the event, and Aznar has repeatedly said that the 14th March election results were a victory for the terrorists.

During Aznar’s appearance before the Commission this morning, members will try to discern whether or not Spain was ill-prepared for a possible terrorist attack because the PP government had failed to take seriously several warnings about the possibility of extremist Islamic terrorist attacks in this country. They will also ask why the Government insisted for so long that ETA was behind the attacks, despite apparantly receiving evidence to the contrary.

In what is the first ever appearance of an ex-president before a parliamentary commission in Spain, Aznar is expected to be defiant in his defence of his government’s role in the management of the March terrorist attacks. He is also expected to accuse certain quarters of Spanish media and society of using the whole tragedy to their electoral advantage.

It will be surprising if the Comission learns anything new from Aznar’s declarations today.

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