Spain has made an unexpected turn in its history. Days before the last elections, various surveys announced that the executive power was not going to change and that Mariano Rajoy, right wing candidate promoted by the president of the Spanish government, José MarÃa Aznar, was going to be victorious.
It was clear that a third consecutive period for the rightist Partido Popular (Popular Party) was on its way. But then, Aznar and Rajoy recognized the bitter taste of defeat in front of the cameras around the world on Sunday March 14th in the late hours of the night.
José Luis RodrÃguez Zapatero, leader of the Partido Socialista Obrero EspaÃ±ol (PSOE), (Spanish Socialist Worker Party) turned into the new hero of a highly concurred electoral process. He now takes power to promote, according to his statements, a program that will change Spain: Zapatero will, like some say, touch solid ground.
One of the changes Zapatero will make is to withdraw the Spanish troops from Iraq (1,300 soldiers approximately). No doubt about it, Zapatero has answered to the different popular protests that repudiated the war against Iraq, in which Aznar involved Spain. The new leadership will break up with the United States-Spain-England Alliance.
The Spanish electoral process received a hard strike. The campaign finished steeply with the March 11 terrorist attacks, which killed 191 people and injured more than 1,900. That horrendous act that stupefied the world was used politically by Aznar, and his government blamed ETA with no proof. At all.
The Spanish government believed that in doing so the population was going to be distracted by the big mess created when their country became part of the coalition in Iraq. They believed people would just ignore the enormous repercussions for backing the US: Al Qaida and the fundamentalist islamic networks are now aiming at countries that help the United States.
But in the end, the Spanish people decided to punish the PP, whose principal leaders wanted to take electoral advantage by way of deceit. On the other hand, when the electorate realized that the responsability pointed to radical islamists, they could not do less than to blame Aznar for what he had gotten them into.
The Spain and El Salvador connection.
What are the consequences of the left winning in Spain here in El Salvador, where the right radical government of Francisco Flores has lost a ‘friend’ (Aznar), to whom he was as loyal as he was to George W. Bush? We will have to see. We do not have, as in Spain, the experience of interchanging governments and we do not posses a critical and analytical population, nor do we have a media capable of making things clear to the public even if it means hurting the government image.
In Spain, on the other hand, the return of the troops from Iraq will be a result of the popular demonstrations. Something that did not happen in El Salvador, and now is less likely to occur with the right in power for 5 more years.
Washington intruding in the Salvadorean affairs, trying to always benefit the right wing party, has not been a matter of popular protests either. Even the responses from Farabundo MartÃ Front for National Liberation (FMLN, the biggest opposition party) have been warm.
* Juan Jose Dalton is the correspondent for Dutch Press Agency (DPA) in El Salvador, He is a frequent writer to Latin American publications, both printed and electronical.
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