The Spanish media this morning centers its response to the US election results around the future of Spain’s relations with the United States. Some newspapers, notably La Razon and ABC, even claim that the victory of George Bush is a victory for Aznar and his policies. Aznar has repeatedly spoken openly of his support for Bush during the US election campaign both in Spain and in the US. The Spanish president, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, never expressed his support for Kerry in public, but political commentatos agree that it would have been easier for the Socialist government to rebuild Spain’s relations with the US if the Democrat had won.
After the Spanish withdrawal of troops from Iraq, Zapatero’s comments criticising the “illegal” US invasion of Iraq at the United Nations, and the US Ambassador’s decision not to attend Spain’s national day celebrations last month and to go hunting instead, Spain-US relations are at what many consider to be an all-time low.
Yesterday Spain’s defence minister Jose Bono said that the election results had not changed Spain’s wish to “maintain and even increase” the relationship of “friendship and alliance” with the US. Bono said that it was the “obligation” of any government to reach “a proper understanding” with the United States government, “not by anyone putting their feet on the table” (in allusion to the famous photo taken of Bush and Aznar during a meeting just prior to the invasion of Iraq) “but certainly with respect”.
José Bono stressed his good relationship with the US Ambassador in Spain with whom he watched the elections results coming in from the US Embassy in Madrid. He also criticised the declarations of PP politicians yesterday for stressing the difficult relationship between the Socialist and Bush administrations.