Country Listing

Spain Table of Contents




Figure 13. Distribution of Seats in the Congress of Deputies Following Selected Elections

Felipe González Márquez, prime minister, 1982-
Courtesy National Tourist Office of Spain

The Benedictine Monastery of Montserrat, located to the northwest of Barcelona, is a bastion of Catalan culture. Courtesy James Scofield
Courtesy James Scofield


King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia
Courtesy National Tourist Office of Spain

The politicians who had played key roles in Spain's transition to democracy found that consolidating and administering this democracy was more difficult and less exhilarating than bringing it into being. Suarez, who had been pivotal in the reform process, found his leadership undermined by internal factionalism within his party coalition, the Union of the Democratic Center (Union de Centro Democratico--UCD), as well as by his ineffectiveness in dealing with the country's growing economic difficulties and regional tensions.

The Socialists had not been part of the government during the transition process, although they participated through pacts and agreements, and thus they did not share responsibility for the inevitable mistakes made in the early period. When they came to power in 1982, however, they too were faced with the age-old problem of center-periphery tension (see fig. 13; table 2, Appendix). In dealing with the regional issue as well as with the economic crisis, the Socialists found it necessary to moderate their ideological principles. Although compromise was essential, it resulted in the contradiction of earlier pronouncements and in the alienation of some elements of the political elites. Nevertheless, such pragmatism and moderation remained crucial to consolidating the rule of democracy in Spain.

Data as of December 1988