Spain Celebrates 30 Years of Democracy

Today is the 30th anniversary of democracy in Spain. To mark the occasion the King, Don Juan Carlos I, spoke yesterday in parliament where he asked for ‘unity and understanding based on sincere dialogue in order to confront the important issues facing the country’. He said that the future depended on the citizens of Spain who in his words had the ‘capacity to lead the way to a better future’.

The king also spoke about terrorism saying that Spaniards had suffered the brutal consequences of terrorism over decades and that the country needed to support and remember the victims and families affected.

The first elections following the death of Franco were held on 15th June 1977. In July 1976 Adolfo Suarez was appointed by the king as president of the provisional government. He was given the task of overseeing Spain’s transition to democracy. His objective was achieved with the elections held in June 1977 less than a year later.

Political reform began in October 1976 and political parties, including the Communist party which had led the struggle against the dictatorship, were legalized in April 1977.

See this video of the electoral promises of the newly legalised political parties.

The June elections in the same year were won by the centre UCD (Union de Centro Democratica) led by Suarez with 166 seats followed by PSOE (the Spanish Socialist party) with 118 seats. The Communist party won 19 seats and the Alianza Popular (now the PP), which included former ministers from the Franco dictatorship, won just 16 seats.

Last week Aldolfo Suarez was honoured with the Toison de Oro the highest honour for his part in the transition. However, he was unable to attend the award ceremony due to ill health.