Spain. In the EU elections in May, a new EU-critical left party, Podemos, caused a minor shock wave by taking 8% of the vote and becoming the fourth largest party. Podemos, who had roots in a youth movement against the tough cuts of recent years, had formed just four months before the election. Both the dominant parties, the Conservative ruling People’s Party (PP) and the Social Democratic PSOE, backed off considerably. Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba resigned as a result of the great loss; In July, the PSOE appointed economist Pedro Sánchez as new party leader. In a poll in November, Podemos received the strongest voter support of all parties, 27%.
According to Countryaah.com, Spain population in 2020 is estimated at 46,754,789. The 76-year-old King Juan Carlos announced in early June that he would abdicate. The message was expected. Juan Carlos was long respected for his clear stance on democracy after the Franco dictatorship, but the glory had faded after a series of scandals. Crown Prince Felipe took over at a ceremony in Parliament. Felipe’s wife Letizia became the new queen.
Prosecution was brought in June against Princess Cristina, the newly-arrived king’s sister. She was suspected of money laundering and tax evasion in an eco-crime center centered around her husband Iñaki Urdangarin. The suspicions of money laundering were later cleared, but she was still suspected of tax evasion.
The postwar war escalated during the year between Madrid and the regional government of Catalonia, since the latter promised a referendum on independence for the region. The central government opposed all plans for independence and the Constitutional Court explicitly forbade a referendum. Despite this, Catalonia’s regional president Artur Mas announced one, although it was then renamed, first for an advisory referendum and then for an unofficial vote. When it was held on November 9, 80% of those who participated agreed to two questions: whether Catalonia should be its own state and if so, it should be independent. The Prosecutor General reported Mas and Deputy Regional President Joanna Ortega for, among other things, disobedience.
The Madrid government’s inability to impede the Catalans led to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy being heavily employed within his own party. Increasingly voices in the Conservative Party accused him of betrayal of the nation. The economy was still weak. Despite years of austerity, government debt continued to grow and exceeded EUR 1,000 billion for the first time at the end of the first half. It basically corresponded to the country’s GDP. At the end of the year, the Catholic charity Caritas reported that every fourth Spaniard now lived in poverty.
1996 The extreme right wing to power
In the March 1996 parliamentary elections, PP won by 38.9% of the vote against the PSOE’s 37.5% and the left-wing coalition IU by 10.6%. On April 5, PP leader José María Aznar assumed the post of prime minister. Foreign policy, the new extreme right wing government decided to support a more offensive isolation of Cuba. It proposed the EU to impose sanctions on the country, and withdrew pledges on credits given by the outgoing Socialist government to Fidel Castro’s government.
In August 1997, an ETA command abducted Miguel Angel Blanco, a member of the PP and city council member in a small town in Euskal Herria. The organization declared that Blanco would be executed after 48 hours if the government did not immediately take steps to gather the Basque political prisoners in prisons in Euskal Herria. Since the 1980s, the Spanish state had had the policy of spreading the political over prisons throughout Spain – as far away as the Canary Islands. A policy that both Basque legal and illegal organizations had tried in vain to change. The 48 hours went by without the government meeting the requirement and Blanco was executed. It immediately triggered protests throughout Spain, and the government further sought to stir up the mood against the Basque nationalists. While demonstrations against the murder took place in a number of Spanish cities with a total of over 1 million participants,Mr. Batasuna (HB). The demonstrations were estimated to be larger than all other demonstrations over the past 50 years.
On December 1, 1997, the Supreme Court sentenced 23 members of HB’s senior leadership to 7 years in prison for showing during their 1996 election campaign a video spot produced by ETA in support of the Euskal Herria peace process. A judgment first overturned in July 1999. In July 98, the right-wing government further escalated its attacks on the Basque nationalists when the Basque newspaper Egin was closed by the authorities.
In early 1998, lawsuits were opened against former PSOE government ministers – in this case José Barrionuevo and former Secretary of State Rafael Vera – for their supposed links to the state terror group GAL.
In September 1998, ETA declared a ceasefire in Euskal Herria. In the subsequent election, HB adopted the name Euskal Herittarrok, and used new methods to reach out to voters. All the Basque nationalist sectors – including the PNV and former members of HB – signed the Lizarra pact under the slogan “The Basques must be governed by themselves”. This alliance won the 1999 election in Euskal Herria.
Spain’s National Law released in July 1999 the 23 leaders of HB who had been incarcerated since 1997. The move was interpreted as support for consolidating the ceasefire with the Basques, as it was one of ETA’s central requirements for entering into negotiations with the authorities. Still, ETA resumed its armed actions in September, when it fired multiple bombs and killed 3 people. The Lizarra covenant was thus broken.
Over 100,000 police and civilian guards were mobilized up to the March 2000 parliamentary elections to prevent attacks, but the election was peacefully held. Euskal Heritarrok had called for a boycott, but the call was followed by fewer than the 12% who normally support HB / EH.
The decline in unemployment, the improved economy and Spain’s qualification for the introduction of the Euro as currency were some of the factors that explained the support for Aznar’s PP in the period leading up to the election. Still, the result surprised by the fact that PP gained absolute majority in parliament, which made it possible to govern without the support of the regional parties. The center-left opposition dominated by the PSOE had to see its support reduced from 141 to 125 seats – one of the historically lowest. This prompted the PSOE chairman, Joaquín Almunia, to withdraw, thereby opening up a fundamental change to the Socialist Party.
In October and November, ETA reinforced its attacks with bombs and murders of 7 people. In one of these, 66 were wounded. The October offensive brought the number of people killed during 2000 to 20 – the highest since 1992. That caused the Spanish population to walk the streets. There was carried out demonstrations in all major cities – including in Euskal Herria and Catalonia – which ETA was asked to set the unbridled violence.
In August, the government passed a new foreign legislation, which was heavily criticized by the other political parties, by NGOs and by a number of large demonstrations. Although the legislation was to formally regulate the duties and rights of foreigners in Spain, it did, according to it. critics a restriction on the rights of immigrants. In January 2001, somewhere between 30,000 and 100,000 immigrants continued to live in illegality.
Despite continued growth in the economy, inflation began to rise again in late 2000, prompting critics of the government to question the neoliberal policies it had pursued in previous years. With 14%, unemployment in the country remained the highest in the EU.
2001 was marked by a series of political scandals – including government-level corruption, irregularities in the implementation of the new Immigration Act and controversial university reforms that sent students and teachers on the streets in demonstrations at the end of the year.
The terrorist attack in New York on September 11, 2001 led the government to tighten control over Moroccans and intensify control over the Spanish colonies Ceuta and Melilla on the north Moroccan coast. At the same time, the Spanish government suggested that Morocco “do more” to limit the flow of illegal immigrants to Spain. At the same time, the initial agreement between Madrid and London on Gibraltar’s future status led to a further deterioration in relations with Morocco, as this requires Ceuta and Melilla transferred.
Despite widespread protests in various parts of the country, the government continued its plans to use the Ebro River water for golf courses and specialized agriculture. This will have serious consequences in the southern province of Aragon, where the Ebro River is the only major waterway.
Poverty in Spain affects 22.1% of the population (7.5% more than the EU average). 44% of the poor are under 25, which is a relatively new phenomenon. It is estimated that there are 300,000 minors working in the country. In November 2001, the President of the Spanish UNICEF Committee, Joaquín Ruiz-Giménez, declared that there are still 100,000 children in Spain who are forced to work under unworthy conditions.