Spain. According to countryaah, the current population of Spain is 46,754,789. Government formation after the elections held in December 2015 dragged on, when what was, in practice, a two-party system was dissolved in the election success of the left-wing Podemos (“We Can”) and the liberal Ciudadanos (“Citizens”). Conservative People’s Party (PP) with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy remained as Minister of Expedition while attempts were made to stitch together a coalition.
The Socialist Party PSOE soon emerged as the King after the party leader Pedro Sánchez announced that the Socialists would not even passively – through abstentions – support a minority government on the right. But the PSOE had no chance of forming government with the two party parties, as Podemos demanded a referendum in Catalonia on leaving Spain while Ciudadanos was originally formed to prevent just that. Sánchez likewise made fruitless attempts to form a coalition with one of the two and the support of small regional parties.
Finally, in May, the new parliament dissolved and King Felipe announced new elections. In the June elections, PP remained the biggest and strengthened its position slightly while the PSOE backed for the third consecutive election. However, the elections did not bring about any major changes and did not resolve the government issue.
Gradually, Sánchez’s line against the PP faced increasing criticism within his own party, with many fearing that the result would be yet another election and that the party would then lose even more seats. In the end, the contradictions in the PSOE became so great that the party leadership deposed Sánchez and agreed to allow the PP to form a minority government. Thus, over ten months of political stalemate was over.
The economy continued with a cautious recovery. Growth was one of the highest in the euro zone and unemployment fell to below 20% for the first time in six years. At the same time, government debt increased over 100% of gross domestic product for the first time in over 100 years.
In October 2004, the government passed a bill on gay marriage. The proposal would give gay couples the same rights as heterosexuals. 68% of Spaniards stated that homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals and 66% supported the proposal for gay marriage. The proposal was strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and by the fascist opposition.
In April 2005, the Madrid court sentenced former Argentine officer Adolfo Scilingo to 640 years in prison for murder, illegal detention and torture during the dictatorship in Argentina. The court summed up the penalties for the individual crimes Scilingo was found guilty of, even though Spanish criminal law has an upper limit of 40 years in prison, and the inmates never stay in prison longer than 25 years, after which they are released for good behavior. However, the punishment was far below the 9,138 years in prison required by prosecutor Dolores Delgado. The officer was convicted of 30 murders of 21 years, 5 years for illegal detention and 5 years for torture. In 1997, Scilingo voluntarily surrendered to the Spanish authorities to confess his crimes in a case led by Judge Baltasar Garzón, shortly after the information was released to the public through talks with Argentine author and journalist Horacio Verbitsky and to a variety of media. At trial, Scilingo withdrew his confessions and argued, that the purpose was to convict the dictatorship. He himself had been sure not to be convicted. Still, the court accepted his original confessions, supplemented by numerous testimony from victims, victims’ family members, as well as Argentine and international human rights experts. A number of these witness statements were made via video conferencing. A number of human rights organizations are opening the door to prosecution of guilty of crimes against humanity.
In May 2005, Zapatero announced that negotiations were under way with ETA to advance the disarmament of the organization. At the same time, he admitted that there were serious disagreements with the US about the situation in Iraq. About ETA, he declared: “ETA has only one future: to dissolve and abandon the armed struggle.” Regarding the withdrawal of Spanish soldiers from Iraq – which was carried out immediately following his accession as prime minister – he said: “Our soldiers are where the Spanish people want them to be”.
In spite of fierce opposition from the Catholic Church, in June 2005, Cortes passed a law that allows gay marriage and allows gay couples to adopt. In 2004, the Spanish Institute of Sociological Studies carried out a survey of the Spanish population’s position on this particular issue. It showed that 68% of the population wanted homosexuals to have the same rights as heterosexuals. 66% of Spaniards supported the new legislation. The church replied that the law: «contradicts the content of marriage. Therefore, it is not fair ”.
In March 2006, ETA declared a ceasefire. In a recording, 3 spokesmen for the organization stated that: “it is possible to end the conflict. ETA has decided to support this objective ». Nevertheless, the negotiations did not proceed, and in December ETA carried out a bombing attack on Barajas airport outside Madrid. The attack cost 2 Ecuatorians life and several injured. The ceasefire had thus definitely ceased.
According to thereligionfaqs, Spain is one of the European countries with the lowest fertility rate. Each Spanish woman has only 1.37 children. Zapatero therefore in July 2007 that each family with legal residence in Spain receives 2,500 Euro for each child they give birth. The initiative aims to promote fertility in the country.
In late 2007, the Spanish central government began banning 2 Basque nationalist parties, the Basque National Alliance (ANV) and the Basque Communist Party (PCTV). In the 2007 elections, ANV got 6.77% of the votes in «Pais Vasco» and 3.29% in Navarra. The party won the elections in 32 municipalities and got 337 municipal councilors. The large bourgeois Basque nationalist party, the PNV, which has the government power in the country is against the Spanish state’s attempt to ban. In 2002, the Spanish state banned the great nationalist party Herri Batasuna. Its case is being heard in the European Court of Human Rights in 2008.
The ruling Social Democracy went ahead with 5 seats and gained 43.9% of the vote in the March 2008 parliamentary elections. The Facist Party PP also went ahead, but had to settle for 39.9% of the vote. The left wing overall in IU had been divided in the previous period and returned 3 seats to 2. It had to settle for 3.77% of the votes. Zapatero had banned the Basque left-wing parties in advance.
While the fascist party PP until 2004 had concentrated its foreign policy on a good relationship with the US, after 2004 the social democracy concentrated on a good relationship with the other EU member states and Latin America. On the other hand, it was no secret that Zapatero’s relationship with the Bush administration was extremely strained. This was the case from the start when Spain already withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2004. Zapatero went so far as to declare in 2008 that he might not have been elected had it not been for Bush in Washington, with whom the PP had allied, and the United States was immensely unpopular at the time. However, the relationship with the subsequent Obama administration wasn’t always easy either. In March 2009, Spain withdrew its peacekeeping troops from Kosova, after declaring independence 2 months earlier. It happened during major protests from Washington.
In 2008-09, Spain strengthened its cooperation with France on hunting ETA members. 4 members were arrested during the period May 2008-09. Still, the separatist organization continued its actions against the Spanish state. Over the summer of 2009, ETA dropped 3 car bombs that killed 1 policeman, 2 civilian guards and destroyed
Internationally known investigating judge Baltasar Garzón declared in October 2008 that he would begin investigating the 114,000 disappearances that occurred in the first part of the 1936-51 Franco dictatorship. The initiative led Garzón to stand before the Supreme Court in May 2010, accused of violating the 1977 amnesty law, which granted the country’s police and military amnesty for crimes committed during the dictatorship. International human rights organizations objected to the attack on Garzón, arguing that crimes against humanity cannot be granted amnesty.