A Tale of Two Countries (Spain, 1976-1982)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Kurt_Steiner, Apr 30, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: 1. Reunification

    Kurt_Steiner That's a years supply!

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    1. Reunification


    The political and economical stagnation that the Francoist Spain was enduring since the 1960s, specially from 1965 onwards, led to an increase of the "Free World" democracies upon the totalitarian regime. In 1972, Robert Nixon send his Secretary of State, William P. Rodgers, to Barcelona to meet the President of the Spanish Republic, José Maldonado, with a clear message: to tear down the "Iron Curtain" that divided the two Spains. Maldonado, of course, pointed out that Franco refused point blank to have any diplomatic deals with them, and the stalemate ensued.

    This would change in April 1974, when Franco died. The hopes for a change in the country resufarced until the were dashed with the rigged elections of October of that year, when Arias Navarro was confirmed as the prime minister while a "regency council" would study who would succeed Franco as the new head of state. This farce had an inmediate effect: the number of Spaniards leaving from the Francoist Spain to France went from some dozens at month to several hundreds and then thousands.

    The protests and strikes against the regime reached a climax in March 1975, when 500,000 Spaniards demonstrated in Madrid and 200,000 in Burgos, with smaller demonstrations took place in Badajoz, Bilbao, La Coruña, Oviedo, Pamplona and Sevilla. In spite of the situation, Arias Navarro clinged to his power until November 20, 1975, when the turmoil and the worsening econominal situation forced his resignation. Four days later, a few border posts between the two Spains were opened, resulting in thousands of citizens of the Francoist Spain crossing freely into the Spanish Republic for the first time since the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1940.

    The elections of March 1976 opened the way for a reformist goverment under Adolfo Suárez and his Unión de Centro Democrático (UCD - Union of the Democratic Centre), one of the few political parties that were created under the clauses of the Ley de la Reforma Política (Political Reform Bill) aproved by the Spanish Cortes (Parliament) in January 1976. This bill had excluded the Partido Comunista de España (PCE - Communist Party of Spain) but not the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE- Spanish Socialist Worker's Party) led by Felipe González, which had become the second main party of the country, to the discomfort of many diehard Francoist.

    One of the first actions of the new prime minister was to open negotiations with the Republic and, in June 1976, the Cortes voted in favour of a reunification with his former enemies. In Barcelona, Maldonado called for a referendum, but it backfired: the "yes" option won in most of the country - Andalucia (77% of "yes" votes in the Republican section of that region), Aragon (72%), the Ballearic Islands (75%), Castilla la Mancha (71%), Murcia (75%) and Valencia (69%)- Catalonia voted "no" by a narrow margin (52% vs 48%).

    This opened the carn of worns within the Republic and, as the government pressed for the reunification, the Generalitat, the Catalan local government, using the powers given by the Spanish Constitution of 1968, called for a referendum to decide wether Catalonia had to become independent or to follow the rest of the country in the reunification process. On September 2, 1976, Catalonia voted for independence (69% yes, 31% no).

    Thus, when the reunification process brought together the two halves of Spain in January 1977, Catalonia walked away from the new nation.
     
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  2. Threadmarks: 2. Reunified but...

    Kurt_Steiner That's a years supply!

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    2. Reunified but...

    Amazingly, in the nine months that went from his victory in the General Elections to the Unification Day, Adolfo Suárez managed to do his best to move Francoist Spain from his Francoism towards a more democratic regime. In that, he had the help of the new king, Juan Carlos I, named by Franco as his heir. The political amnesty (April 1976) was too modest, but it was considered a step in the right way; the Ley de Relaciones Laborales (Labour & Industrial Relations Bill, passed on May), strenghtened the rights of the workers; and the Ley de Asociaciones Políticas (LAP - Political Reform Bill, passed on July) opened the way for the Elections of March 1977 and supressed the Francoist Cortes for a true bicameral system. However, the Francoist remnat was not rooted and it was to have, eventually, a permanent effect upon Spanish politics, as we will see.

    The political parties were even more pragmatic than Suárez. The reunited PSOE had a new leadership when the General Secretary, Rodolfo Llopis, the leader of the PSOE of the Spanish Republic, resigned from his post to be replaced by Felipe González, who, since 1971, had been the de facto General Secretary of the then ilegal PSOE of the Francoist Spain. The Partido Comunista de España (PCE - Communist Party of Spain) was in a peculiar situation. It was legal in the Republic but not in the Francoist Spain, so Suárez struggled during many weeks to include the PCE in the LAP, until he found a "peculiar" solution: the existing PCE would remain legal on the "Republican" half of Spain, but the two Communist parties that existed in the political underground of the Francoist Spain, the Partido Comunista Obrero Español (PCOE - Spanish Communist Workers' Party) and the Partido Comunista de los Trabajadores (PCT - Communist Workers' Party) were only to be legalized in the whole country after the first General Elections of March 1977.

    The Unión Demócrata-Cristiana (UDC- Christian-Democratic Union) of Vicente Ruiz Monrabal, the main Centrist party in the Republic, however, did not join Suarez's UCD, as it was too tainted for his connections with the Francoist regime. Of course, to join Alianza Nacional (AN - National Union), led by Manuel Fraga, a Coalition of several Conservative parties and associations, it was out of the question, as AN included even more Francoist figures that UCD. Thus, for the time being, UDC went on its own. Also, in the Basque Country, an old party returned to life: the Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV - Nationalist Vasque Party). Forbidden since 1939 and weakeaned by the long dictatorship, it returned with a new and younger president, Carlos Garaikoetxea.

    That was the political scene that the reunified country offered to its citizens.
     
  3. Electric Monk Does Your Believing For You

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    An interesting premise narrowly focused with an implicit promise of an ending? Ah that’s right Kurt’s been here forever, makes sense :)

    I know very little about Spanish politics but that’s half the fun!
     
  4. Kurt_Steiner That's a years supply!

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    Lately I tried two attempts for a different retold of Spanish history, one of which is still pending out there... This is born with a question in my mind.

    How would Spanish politics be without Catalonia? How would their General Elections turn out?
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  5. Threadmarks: 3. The General Elections of 1977.

    Kurt_Steiner That's a years supply!

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    3. The General Elections of 1977.

    The first multi-party all-Spanish elections since 1936 were marked by the euphoria following the unification and proved to be a slight surprise to all involved in them. Fraga, the main leader of the Right, was unable to persuade Federico Silva Muñoz to join his Alianza Nacional. Thus, Silva, who had been Minister of Public Works from 1965 to 1970, went on with his Acción Democrática Española (ADE - Spanish Democratic Action), and this cause a slight division among the voters. On their part, those who were close to the PCE in the Francoist Spain and were unable to vote their party as it was still ilegal, were unable to decide wether to vote for the PSOE or to remain at home, and, in most cases, this doubt was only solved in the last moment when half of them supported González with their votes.

    With a high turnout, the winner was Suárez, who was 4 seats short of the ones needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies. The PSOE fared better than expected while for Fraga it was, plainly speaking, an absolute disaster. The PCE, reduced to the Republican provincese, fared even worse, reduce to a minimal expression in the new Congreso de los Diputados. Ruiz Morabal was shocked, as he expected a bigger support in the Eastern provinces. On his part, Enrique Tierno Galván, who had not joined the PSOE and weant ahead with his Partido Socialista Popular (PSP - Socialist Popular Party), was sorely disappointed when the polls were proved wrong and hardly a quarter of his supposed voters went to the polling stations.

    A few days later, with the support of Garaikoetxea and a reluctant Ruiz Morabal, Suárez was elected as the first Prime Minister of the reunified Spain. It was the first government that were to include Basque politicians since 1936.

    UCD (Suárez) - 4 515 361 votes - 24.94%, 147 seats
    PSOE (González) - 4 307 798 votes - 22.3%, 106 seats
    AN (Fraga) - 533 857 votes - 3,05%, 14 seats
    UDC (Ruiz Morabal) - 620 679 votes - 3,42, 11 seats
    PSP (Tierno Galván) - 250 794 votes - 1,38%, 4 seats
    PNV (Garaikoetxea) - 120 097 votes - 0,73% - 4 seats
    PCE (Carrillo) - 156 397 votes - 0,75 %, 2 seats
    ADE (Silva) - 130 656 votes - 0,74%, 1 seat

    Meanwhile, in Catalonia, General Elections to elect the first government of the new indepedent country were held three weeks later. The traditional parties (PSC - Partit Socialista de Catalunya / Catalan Socialist Party; PSUC - Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya - Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia; ERC - Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya / Republican Left of Catalonia; and UDC (Unió Democràtica de Catalunya - Democratic Union for Catalonia) were joined by new ones created in the weeks that followed the declaration of independence: PDPC (Pacte Democràtic per Catalunya - Democratic Pact for Catalonia), a Coalition of Right-winged Nationalist parties led by Jordi Pujol; CPC (Centristes per Catalunya - Centrists for Catalonia), led by Vicente Capdevila and not only inspired by UCD, but also with close ties to that political formation.

    The independence process had reinforced the Nationalist feelings of a great part of the Catalans, but the Leftish trend that the country had lived since the end of the Spanish Civil War was still strong, so there were no great surprises in the end. Joan Reventòs, the moderate Socialist leader, would become the first President of the Independent Generalitat with the suport of the main Nationalist formation, ERC, and the Communist PSC. Thus, as old alliances seemed to be again at work in the new country, Catalan bussines seemed to be as usual.

    PSC (Joan Reventòs) - 946 880 votes - 34,80%, 45 seats
    ERC (Heribert Barrera) - 490 428 votes - 18,02%, 24 seats
    PSUC (Gregorio López Raimundo) - 509 361 votes - 18,72%, 25 seats
    CPC (Capdevila) - 390 639 votes - 17,9%, 22 seats
    UDC (Antón Canellas) - 367 679 votes - 13,50%, 18 seats
    PDPC (Pujol) - 112 794 votes - 4,12%, 2 seats
     
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  6. Threadmarks: 4. Slowly moving forwards.

    Kurt_Steiner That's a years supply!

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    4. Slowly moving forwards.

    In the months that followed the Elections, Suárez rushed through a program of reforms. Due to the poor results of the PCE, it was quite easy for the prime minister to go ahead with the matter of legalising not only the Communist Party but also two Leftish Trade Unions, the Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT - General Union of Workers) and the Comisiones Obreras (CCOO - Workers' Commissions). Of course, he had to endure a strong opposition from the army and the postfrancoists, but he went ahead in spite of that. He had the support and help of King Juan Carlos I, who used his position and his influence among the Armed Forces to persuade the generals to accept the legalization of the PCE. However, some Generals (Armada, Milans del Bosch) were very unhappy about the current situation.

    A side-effect of the reforms was two terrorist groups stopped the actions against the government. The first was the FRAP (Frente Revolucionario Antifascista y Patriota - Anti-Fascist and Patriotic Revolutionary front), a extreme-left terrorist group which had been heavily hit by the police between 1975 and 1976. With the legalisation of the PCE (even if the FRAP was linked to the Stalinist PCE (m-l) -Partido Comunista de España (marxista-leninista) - Communist Party of Spain (marxilist leninist)-, a extremist part of the PCE that left the party in 1964) and the reforms of Suárez, the FRAP declared a "cessation of military operations" in April 1977. One year later, the FRAP was to disolve itself.

    A few weeks, in early May 1977, the two main terrorist groups, the Maoist GRAPO (Grupos de Resistencia Antifascista Primero de Octubre - First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Groups) and ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna - Basque Country and Freedom), offered a limited truce. Sadly, GRAPO resumed their actions in August 1978 with a series of ambushes to the security forces and bank robberies. ETA followed in October that year.

    And, while this was going on, the drafting of the Spanish Constitution also took place. It was written by a "thinkers team" made up by three members of the UCD, two from the PSOE and two more from AP. As the PCE was excluded (it was still a ilegal formation) and the PNV too, this first Constitution was to come, later on, under heavy fire as it "hardly represented the will of all the Spaniards". In the end, when it was approved in September 1978, the Constitution established the structure of the state, and offered an advanced (for the time) view of the question of social rights, the educational system and the role of religion on it, removed the death penalty, but ignored the existence of nationalities and regions and was quite conservative upon the role of the Armed Forces.

    Then, troubles began in earnest by October 1978...
     
  7. Threadmarks: 5. The price of peace

    Kurt_Steiner That's a years supply!

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    5. The price of peace

    Once the Constitution was approved (first by the Cortes in September and then by the Spaniards in a referendum held in October), Suárez called for a new elections, to be held in February 1979. However, hardly a week after the referendum was held, ETA resumed his terrorist actions: ten members of the Security Forces were killed during that month. Then, on October 28th, a demonstration against ETA's action took place in Bilbao (1). Called by PNV and supported by UCD (2), PSOE, PCE and CCOO, it gathered 75,000 people (3) that angered claimed against violence and demanded ‘Una Euzkadi libre y en paz’ (A freed and peaceful Basque Country).

    A week later, Suárez called for a meeting of all the political forces to find a solution for the Basque problem. He also demanded ETA to stop their terrorist campaing but ETA, in exchange, demanded that the abertzale political program, called Alternativa KAS (KAS Alternative), which were the origins of Herri Batasuna ("Basque Unity") political party) was recognized as a starting point for any peace talks. All in all, it all came to naught but for the formation of a short-lived alliance, the so-called Pacto de Vitoria (Vitoria Pact), which included UCD, PSOE, AN, and PNV. Their intention was to find a solution to the violence of ETA but the political differences between its members made it to end in disaster. ETA went on with their terror, meanwhile.

    The elections changed little. Ruiz Morabal finally joined forces with Suárez, just as Tierno Galván did with González, and the PCE took part in a General Election in the whole country for the first time since 1936. Even Fraga's party was reinforced by the voters. Suárez had not need for alliances now, but, again, joined hands with Garaikoetxea, in an effort to prove that the Pacto de Victoria was not just a dead issue.

    UCD (Suárez) - 5 647 645 - 34,84% - 156 seats (+1,132,284 votes, + 9 seats)
    PSOE (González) - 4 582 223 votes - 30,40 %, 111 seats (+544,426 votes, + 5 seats)
    AN (Fraga) - 1 088 578 votes - 6,05%, 18 seats (+554,721 votes, + 4 seats)
    PNV (Garaikoetxea) - 296.597 votes - 1,65%, 8 seats (+140,500 votes, +3 seats)
    PCE (Carrillo) - 1 507 890 votes - 9,33 %, 7 seats (+1,351,200 votes, +5 seats)
    ADE (Silva) - 60 399 votes - 0,35%, 0 seat (-69 657 votes, -1 seat)

    Suárez's charisma had made him to win again, but the first cracks in his government were to appear soon along with the worsening of the economy that Spain suffered in 1979. González, on his part, was quietly bidding his time to rise to ultimate power, even if he was a bit dissapointed by the rise in votes of UCD. Finally, he couldn't help but to feel a bit of envy when looking at the good times that his Catalan counterpart, Joan Reventòs, was having in Catalonia


    (1) IOTL, this took place in 1978, not in 1979, but I've butterflied things a bit.
    (2) IOTL, the PNV asked Suárez not to join the demonstation, as the Basque politicians blamed UCD for not applying "political solutions" to the problem. This time, this is a bit different.
    (3) IOTL, 50,000
     
  8. Threadmarks: 6. The pains of a new country

    Kurt_Steiner That's a years supply!

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    6. The pains of a new country

    In Catalonia, meanwhile, Raventòs kept his leftist and reformist profile. First he pressed for a change in the local administrations, when the number of veguerias (1) was reduced from the nine created in 1939 to 7 (Barcelona, Girona, High Pyrenees and Aran, Lleida and Central Regions, Tarragona, Ebre and Penedés). Then, a new Constitution was drafted and approved and, of course, new elections were called. The Election day chosen was May 6, 1978. The Socialist leader repeated victory again, even if suffering a loss of votes. However, to the surprise of many, UDC suffered a catastrophic fall.

    PSC (Joan Reventòs) - 815 667 votes - 30,28%, 42 seats (-130 213 votes, -3 seats)
    ERC (Heribert Barrera) 516 588 votes - 19,04%, 26 seats (+173 840 votes, +2 seats)
    PSUC (Gregorio López Raimundo) - 459 220 votes - 16,89%, 24 seats (-50 141 votes, -1 seats)
    CPC (Capdevila) - 429 548 - 15,8%, 26 seats (+161 091 votes, -4 seats)
    UDC (Antón Canellas) - 105 220 - 3,87%, 14 seats (-262 459 votes, -4 seats)
    PDPC (Pujol) - 85 460 votes -3,18%, 2 seats (-27 334 votes, 0 seats)

    The pact PSC-ERC-PSUC returned, albeit if López Raimundo was critical with the "low" leftish profile of Reventòs. He also distrusted the next move of the president of the Generalitat, when he gave the first steps to demand the integration into the European Economic Comunity (EEC), but he wholeheartedly agreed with the nationalization of several companies the Reventòs carried on. However, the new independent country was hit hard by the crisis and had to follow several monitored stabilization programs from the International Monetary Fund from 1978 to 1980. This would led to a several crisis among the members of the government coalition that damaged their national standing. Meanwhile, Vicente Capdevilla offered to Antón Canellas and Jordi Pujol to form an united front against the government and to join hands in the next General Elections, that were to be held in 1982. While Canellas refused the offer, Pujol jumped into it. This union, along with the ongoing crisis, was to be quite damaging to the desunited government, specially for ERC.

    López Raimundo, on his part, would be forced to resign by his own party in July 1979 when his criticism of Reventòs policies threatened to break the already weak goverment. He was replaced by Josep Benet as leader of the PSUC, which moved the party to more nationalist positions and closer thus to ERC. However, by late 1979, the government was in deep troubles as the Partit de Centre de Catalunya (PCC - Center Party of Catalonia), the "new" party resulting from the union of CDC and PDPC, managed to win several important cities in the local elections and began to appear as a real threat to the government coalition. Meanwhile, from within, Pujol was beginning to erode the primacy of Capdevilla, who was loosing the control of the party, which began to gravitate around Pujol. Nevertheless, Pujol remained in a second place, stating his complete loyalty to the president of the PCC.

    Then, a new crisis in the government erupted when ERC refused to support another reorganization of the economy. Thus General Elections were called for March, 20, 1980.






    (1) The veguerias were medieval administrative areas that existed from the XIII to the XVIII century and were to be resurrected by the Second Republic in 1933.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
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  9. Threadmarks: 7. The storm gathers

    Kurt_Steiner That's a years supply!

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    7. The storm gathers

    The first sign that a storm was gathering in Spain was seen during the inauguration session of Suárez (March, 30, 1979). González simply dropped his mask and began an open all-out assault against the president with the support of Santiago Carrillo, who made use of his most vulgar language and attitude to refer to the president. However, both failed. When González played his "triumph card" and tried to ashame Suárez by mentioning his Francoist past, Suárez simply stated that he was proud of his deeds. He had fought his way to his present position from the bottom by working hard, and had nothing to regret. Furthermore, he, Suárez, had helped to reunify the country and to move it from a dictatorship to a democracy. Even Carlos Garaikoetxea censored González's speech (1) and ashamed the whole Parliament by stating that "this is not a inaguration, but a bombardment".

    To make it worse, as the inauguration session was seen in the television by all the Spaniards, the perfomance of González did not came to pass unoticed. Those still loyal to Franco felt angered by González's words blasting the dictator, of course. In addition, the Socialist leader was seen, clearly, behaving like a spoiled child that could not take that he had lost the elections. Furthermore, as his party still kept his marxists ways, many thought that the bad days of the Second Republic were back. That Santiago Carillo had also played a disgusting role during the session did not improve the situation. On the other had, the attitude of Suárez, his calm and reasonable words, enhaced the standing of the president. As González had joined hands with the PCE in his attack against Suárez, González had managed to fuel the fears of the right-minded Spaniards, even of those who disliked Suárez that, suddenly, had become the last defence against a Communist Spain. All in all, if González had decided to propel himself as a statesman, he could not have missed more his target.

    Even King Juan Carlos was horrified with González's attitude.

    Four days later, the local elections gave another victory to Suárez. The UCD's candidates were supported by 30,6% of the voters and obtained 28.931 councilpersons, while the PSOE was voted by 28,2% of the voters and got 12.033 councilpersons. González could boast, nevertheless, he had won Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Zaragoza and Málaga, but by joining hands with the PCE. The dislike of the more moderate voters towards González rose a bit. Even if Carillo stated that with the Constitution in working order, there was no danger for the monarchy, this pact PSOE-PCE brought back memories of April 1931.

    Then González came under fire within his own party. It took place during the 18th Federal Congress (May 19-21, 1979), when González and his followers tried to take out Marxism from the party and move it, followng the example of the German SPD and the advice of Willy Brant. It was the time for the PSOE to do his "Godesberg" (2) if they ever wanted to win a General Election in Spain. Another reason for this move came also from Germany: if the PSOE wanted to still have SPD funding, they had to change. Thus, there was no other option for González.

    Then, the party rose against him. Luis Gómez Llorente, Enrique Tierno-Galván, Francisco Bustelo, Pablo Castellano. González, defeated, decided to resign and he went to La Zarzuela to inform the king of his actions. He was to keep away for a while and let the party "enjoy the fun". Juan Carlos I rose in anger and berated the Socialist leader. The King began by calling him a "stupid boy" for his perfomance during the inauguration session. First that, and now, because of his complete idiocy, he was allowing the PSOE to go down the toilette by allowing them to go the "Red Road". He had to take the PSOE into the ways of the social-democracy and he was failling at achieving that. He, Juan Carlos, wanted Spain working like the German system, a democracy without storms or upheavals, not full with Red flags and raised fists. All in all, González was given Treatment Number 1 in the Borbonic book of politics.

    After a short spell of calm in Panama, González returned to Spain to be chosen again as General Secretary of the non-Marxist PSOE. With his plans in disarray and the Zarzuela berating was still fresh in his mind. the Socialist leader had to swallow the bitter pill of this "triumph" over a divided party. Just in case, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung would add insult to injury to González's wounded pride hardly a month later.


    (1) IOTL, this barrage did took place during the inaguration of Suárez, and was, indeed, the first salvo of the war González-Suárez. However, it was not Garaikoetxea who said those words, but Xabier Arzalluz, the then leader of the PNV.
    (2) The Godesberg program represented a fundamental change in the orientation and goals of the SPD. It rejected Marxist theories and moved towards socialdemocratic positions.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
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  10. ramones1986 Grumpy and Lazy

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    Already hooked with such development, so I watched.
    By the way, would la Movida still develop in this scenario?
     
  11. Kurt_Steiner That's a years supply!

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    Sure, la Movida is going to develop, even more with the fresh air that comes through the eastern province of the old Republic...
     
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  12. Threadmarks: 8. Cabinet reshuffle

    Kurt_Steiner That's a years supply!

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    8. Cabinet reshuffle

    During the time that the crisis of the PSOE went on, Suárez was quite free to govern. He began by changing his ministers. Landelino Lavilla, who had been voted to become the speaker of the Parliament and was replaced by Íñigo Cavero, from the Christian Democratic faction of UCD; Rodolfo Martín Villa, the Home Secretary, asked to be replaced because he found the job too demanding and exhausting and wanted to devote his energies to the consolidation of the party, so he was replaced by a man of his trust, Juan José Rosón; Joaquín Garrigues Walker, who had been rumored to be seriously ill (1), remained as minister of Public Works, just as Pio Cabanillas as minister of Education, even if there had been an attempt to replace him with Manuel Clavero. In fact, Clavero, along with Miguel Herrero de Miñón and Alfonso Osorio, were "purged" by Suárez, who distrusted their loyalties. Clavero ended up leading the Andalusian branch of UCD while Herrero de Miñón and Osorio were to leave UCD in September 1979 to join Fraga's AN (2), a move that Fraga regretted later on. Francisco Fernández Ordoñez lost also the trust of Suárez, who, neverthelss, kept it secret while removing him from the Treasury to Justice, where he was to prove a valuable asset for the party, even if his loyalty was still to be quite dubious for a long time.

    Then, on June 14, 1979, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published an article that further hurted the pride of Felipe González. The German newspaper, known for being a trusted source of information with a liberal conservative line if thought and very well informed about the events in spain, claimed that, according not only to "important figures of the Spanish politics" but also to sources close to Juan Carlos I and his father, don Juan, earl of Barcelona, the stability of Spain depended on the good relations of the two main parties of Spain, UCD and PSOE, and its two leaders, Suárez and González. Furthermore, the German newspaper also claimed that the king was worried because of the ongoing crisis of the PSOE. All in all, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung concluded, it was the patriotic duty of the PSOE to support the government of Spain.

    This was a clear breach of the "protocol" as there was a direct proof of Juan Carlos I intentions and political simpathies. Furthermore, it was another example of the old tactic of the Spanish Kings, the so called borboneo, that was still fresh in many minds for his dreadful results (among it, the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera that, eventually, led to the abdication of Alfonso XIII and the arrival of the Second Republic). For González, it was painful to be lectured about his duties as politician, even more if his ambitions to run for the Prime Minister office were, for the moment, ruled out by the king himself. At least, for a while. At least, Gonzalez reflected later, once he was voted again as General Secretary of the PSOE, the newspaper gave him more reasons and arguments to expel Pablo Castellanos, Francisco Bustelo and Luis Gómez Llorente, behading in this way the opposition against him within the PSOE.

    Meanwhile, the negotiations between the government and the PNV that were to lead to the final writting of the Basque Statute of Autonomy went on at a good even if slow pace, while Garaikoetxea became the first lehendakari (3) of the Basque Country since 1939 while Xabier Arzalluz rose to the presidency of the PNV. In spite of the good news that the negotiations were, ETA kept with its terrorist spree, as the terrorist group targeted airports and train stations during that summer of 1979, threatening not only the lives of thousands of Spaniards but also of the millions of tourists that visited Spain during those months. Eventually, this actions would force Suárez's hand.


    (1) IOTL, Garrigues Walker suffered from a heavy cancer illness, so he was removed from his post to become a minister without portafolio in the third Suarez cabinet. Here I've decided to spare him from this fate.
    (2) In fact, he did that in 1982, after leading the internal opposition against Suárez. Here I've decided to get rid of him sooner. He's going to have some role in this TL, don't worry.
    (3) The leader of the Basque autonomous government.
     
  13. Threadmarks: 9. Old parties and new times in Catalonia.

    Kurt_Steiner That's a years supply!

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Location:
    Barcelona, Catalunya
    [​IMG]

    9. Old parties and new times in Catalonia.

    The traditional parties in Catalonia were in crisis. Once the independence had been achieved, it seemed as if neither Joan Reventòs nor Heribert Barrera nor Gregorio López Raimundo had a clear idea about what to do next with the country. Sure, they had been able to keep control of the process of independence and the writting of the new Constitution, but beyond that, their political differences where too bigger then to be able to work together.The reform of the education system caused hard clashes between ERC, in one side, and PSC and PSUC in the other, as, apparently, ERC wanted to press too hard for a public education system all in Catalan while PSC and PSUC were in favour of the first but with Spanish being part of the educational system. Thus, as ERC was unable to persuade its allies, the whole building was blown up when they voted against the next reform of the economy and General Elections were called when the government collapsed.

    The electoral campaign was an eerie one, a mixture of old and new times. PSC and PSUC kept their usual styles and slogans, showing clearly that they were unable to cope with the moment. ERC asked for a change, for a new country with a new mindset, away from the old images of the now extinct Republic and acussed its former allies of thinking in a "too Spanish" way. Capdevila and Pujol raced Catalonia with their new ideas and new style. Their meetings were more appealing than the old fashioned ones that PSC and PSUC carried out and their style less aggressive and angered than the ones of ERC. Meanwhile, on his part, Canellas had a hard time as his rivals kept pointing at him and his party and claiming that it was a "Trojan Horse" for its close links with Suárez and UCD. Thus, as the election day came closer, the polls kept pointing towards a possible loss in votes of PSC and PSUC that, nevertheless, would still win, and a hard loss for Canellas.

    The great surprise came on March 6th, 1980, just fourteen days before the election day. La Vanguardia published that Vicente Capdevilla had been meeting Suárez in regular basis. Apparently, it was him and not Canellas who was the "Trojan Horse". It seemed as if the PCC had met its end. However, in just four days, Pujol made a complete volte-de-face. An special Congress was called for March 15th. Canellas explained himself. It was true, he said, that he had met Suárez several times between March 1978 and January 1980, but he was just meeting another fellow centrist leader to discuss common topics of the two parties. Of course, he was not believed and, on March 16th, he was expelled from the party in disgrace. Jordi Pujol was voted in mass as his replacement and releashed an energetic and exhausting final campaign that, to the surprise of many, made the PCC to recover most of the ground lost in the polls.

    In the end, it was even more surprising. With 61.44% of the Catalan voters going to the polling stations (less than expected), Pujol won, almost doubling the votes received by CPC and PDPC in the last elections. The PSC lost almost a third of its seats and they lost their primacy as the main party. ERC, on its part, suffered no change, loosing less than 9,000 votes, but showing clearly that their attempts to advance their positions had failed. A change in style seemed to be on the order. Amazingly, Canellas managed to avoid the "Spanish" stygma and doubled the votes recived in the last elections. The PSUC, to many surprised, suffered a terrible defeat, that, eventually, would open a deep crisis in the party that would spread to the Socialist Catalan party, too.

    PCC (Pujol) - 757,038 votes - 27,83% - 43 seats (new party)
    PSC (Reventòs) - 676 717 votes - 22,33 % - 35 seats (-38 950 votes, -7 seats)
    ERC (Barrera) - 507.753 votes - 18,68 % - 26 seats (-8 835 votes, no seat change)
    PSUC (Gregorio López Raimundo) 290 871 votes - 9,65% - 13 seats (-169 349 votes, -11 seats)
    UDC (Canellas) - 286.922 votes - 10,55 % - 18 seats (+181 702 votes, +4 seats)

    Supported by ERC, Pujol would become the second conseller en cap (1) of the Generalitat after the independence. Of course, Reventòs and López Raimund were horrifired by this "betrayal" of their former ally.

    Catalonia, indeed, had changed even if a Civil War legend as Josep Tarradellas was the president of the Catalan Republic.

    (1) The Primer minister.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019 at 3:39 PM
  14. Bob Gump Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2015
    Great to see you again with the mood to write a good TL, Kurt!!. Keep going on!!
     
    Kurt_Steiner likes this.
  15. Kurt_Steiner That's a years supply!

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Location:
    Barcelona, Catalunya
    Thank you, Bob! I finally found some kind of an idea... let's see where it takes us!
     
    Bob Gump likes this.
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