Spain. In March, the Spanish Supreme Court banned the Basque party Batasuna on the grounds that it was the terrorist-stamped separatist group ETA’s political branch. According to Countryaah.com, Spain Independence Day is October 12. The party had already been banned for a three-year term in 2002, but now it was ordered to cease all political activities for good. The party ban was the first since the fall of the Franco dictatorship in 1975. Later, both the United States and the EU placed Batasuna on their respective lists of terrorist organizations. Before the municipal elections in May, 241 party lists were also banned and over 1,000 candidates were suspended in the Basque provinces because they were considered to represent Batasuna under a new name. The election concerned municipalities throughout the country and regional assemblies in 13 of the 17 regions.
For the first time since 1996, the socialists got the most votes, but the Conservative government party Partido Popular (PP) still retained a majority of the seats. Many had predicted a major setback for PP. One reason was criticism of the government because of the handling of the oil disaster outside northwestern Spain at the end of 2002. Several legal processes were initiated during the year as a result of the accident, among other things. the Spanish state sued the classification society ABS in New York for the oil tanker Prestige to be declared seaworthy.
Another reason for the declining popularity of the ruling party was the widespread dissatisfaction with Prime Minister José Maria Aznar’s support for the US-led attack on Iraq. About 90% of Spaniards opposed the war, and up to 3 million people participated in a demonstration in March. Nevertheless, Aznar decided to assist with troops, and in August 1,300 Spaniards were sent to Iraq. The opposition protested, and when seven intelligence agents were killed in an ambush outside Baghdad in November, the demands for a withdrawal were tightened.
In September, the ruling party elected Deputy Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as new party leader; he also became the party’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2004 parliamentary elections. Aznar had already said earlier that he was not running for a new term.
In the autumn, Spain tightened the demands on Morocco to do more to stop the current flow of people illegally entering the country from Africa. In a single day in October, over 550 refugees were stopped in twelve boats at Gibraltar Sound and the Canary Islands. Many people undergo attempts to get to Spain without being discovered.
In October, the royal couple inaugurated a new Picasso museum in the artist’s birthplace of Malaga.
In February 2014, a Spanish court issued an arrest warrant against China’s former president Jiang Zemin and former prime minister Li Peng for genocide and torture of Tibetans. China reacted sharply to the arrest warrant, and in May, the government repealed the Universal Jurisdiction Act, which had otherwise been in effect for 30 years and had been used for, among other things. to try to bring Chile’s dictator Augusto Pinochet to justice. In June, the court lifted the arrest warrant by 9 votes to 7, citing the amendment to the law. Attorney Baltasar Garzón, who had played a prominent role in many of these cases, criticized the government’s change of law.
King Juan Carlos abdicated in June 2014. He son Felipe VI took over the throne. In previous years, the royal house had been characterized by a large number of economic scandals. In June 2015, the king deprived her sister, Christina de Borbon of her duchy as a result of the tax evasion and money laundering cases she had been involved with since 2013. The royal house’s reputation in Spain was freely falling to 3.68 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Extensive protests in September prevented the government from changing the country’s abortion laws. The government wanted to restrict access to abortion. After the proposal fell, the government declared that it would still seek to implement changes so that at least 16-17 year olds should have their parents’ consent to abortion.
In September 2014, Scotland conducted a referendum on secession from the UK. Scotland remained, but the situation nevertheless had great parallels to the situation in Spain, where Catalonia in particular worked similarly on independence. In November, the Spanish Constitutional Court banned Catalonia from conducting a referendum on independence. Otherwise, 80.8% of Catalans would have voted for independence. In the same month, Rajoy declared that if Scotland had disbanded, it would have to apply for membership in the EU again. Rajoy did not know that Scotland was sitting on large deposits of gas and oil in the North Sea, and like Norway may not have much need for EU membership.
Podemos celebrated his sister party Syriza’s electoral victory in Greece in January 2015 at a giant event with 9,000 participants in Valencia. On January 31, it held a giant demonstration in Madrid for change. It had already decided in October 2014 not to stand in the municipal elections in May 2015.
In July, a new “public safety” law and a revised Criminal Code came into force. They included restrictions on both freedom of assembly and expression. The Public Safety Act imposed restrictions on where and when demonstrations could be conducted in front of public buildings as well as high fines for those who conducted spontaneous demonstrations in front of certain public buildings. Policemen next got the unlimited right to issue fines to people who expressed “disrespect” to them. At the same time, in certain cases, the distribution of photos of identified police officers was prohibited. The Penal Code was equipped with a very far-reaching interpretation of the concept of terrorism that would allow far-reaching restrictions on freedom of expression.
As part of the EU’s distribution of refugees, Spain pledged in October to accept 14,931 refugees in 2016. There were 750,000 undocumented refugees living in the country, and several UN agencies called on the government to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights and provide undocumented access to health care.
The PP government continued to suffer corruption scandals throughout 2015. Still, the criminal party again became the country’s largest in the December 2015 parliamentary elections. However, it lost 64 seats to 123 and thus no longer had an absolute majority in the 350-seat Cortes. Podemos had hoped to become the second largest party but had to settle for 69th place with 69 seats. The Social Democratic PSOE retained second place with 90 seats but had to note a decline of 20 seats. In fourth place came the civic protest party Ciudadanos with 40 seats. The left wing in Izquerda Unida (IU) had to note a decline of 8 to 2 seats. The election result created a parliamentary crisis in the country, since the two major parties did not want to form government and it was not possible to gather a majority between one of the major and minor parties. At the same time, the situation triggered intense internal tensions in the PSOE regarding government formation with Podemos. The criminal PP therefore retained government power as a minority government. Meanwhile, the criminal scandals continued around PP, which in 2016 became the country’s first party to formally raise a case against corruption. When the Global Panama Papers case broke in April 2016, it cost another two PP ministers who had been involved in criminal activities.
The chaotic parliamentary situation was not in favor of the opposition. The PSOE was weakened and Podemos was also weakened by internal disagreements over government formation in the spring of 2016. In June 2016, parliamentary elections were again held to resolve the parliamentary Gordian knot. The month before, Podemos and IU had joined electoral unions and had formed Unidos Podemos, but only just managed to maintain its overall mandate of 71. the voices separated it from Unidos Podemos. Ciudadanos resigned 8 mandates (it was penalized for having been in government negotiations with the PSOE in the spring), while the criminal PP advanced 14 mandates. Thus, the election did not resolve the crisis. No one wanted to form government with the criminal PP, however, the only thing that came out of the election was strengthened. And the other parties were unable to find a common platform. In an attempt to avoid a third parliamentary election within a year, both the PSOE and Ciudadanos considered abstaining from the formation of a PP minority government. The issue was against Ciudadanos’ election promise not to accept a new PP government and created further internal tensions in the PSOE. Former Prime Minister Felipe Gonzales supported the proposal. election promise not to accept a new PP government and created further internal tensions in the PSOE. Former Prime Minister Felipe Gonzales supported the proposal.
PP continued its criminal activities. A few days before the election, it was revealed that Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz had abused his position to gather information and blackmailed his political opponents.
Economic growth in 2015 was 3.2%. The highest since the financial crash in 2008-09. But unemployment remained above 22% and the government deficit more than 5% – well above the EU accepted. At the same time, public debt reached 99.2% of GDP.
The PSOE was further weakened by the local elections in Euskal Herria and Galicia in September. In Euskal Herria the party was almost halved and in Galicia it lost 25% of its mandates. It sparked a riot against party chairman Pedro Sánchez. In late September, 17 members of the party’s main board resigned from their posts. It should automatically trigger the resignation of the chairman, but he clung to the stool, refusing to acknowledge the defeat. Three days later, however, he lost the presidential election to Susana Diáz by 132 votes to 107. The internal dispute reflected dissatisfaction with the PSOE being unable to take advantage of the PP’s weakening and forming government.
The Madrid regime continued its suppression of freedom of speech in 2016. In February, two puppeteers Alfonso Lázaro de la Fuente and Raúl García Pérez were arrested and imprisoned for 5 days after performing a puppet show where a nun was stabbed, a judge hanged and a pregnant woman beaten. During the play, a sign with the words “Gora ALKA-ETA” was displayed. The puppeteers were charged with glorifying terror and inciting hatred. In September, the charge of glorifying terror was dropped, but the second charge was upheld. During the year, the national court found 22 people guilty of “glorification of terror”.
The regime also continued its use of torture in prisons and in police stations. In May, the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling in a specific case, convicting Spain of the use of torture and degrading treatment. It was the 7th verdict on torture in which the court sentenced Spain.
The regime continued its mistreatment of refugees and asylum seekers. In May, at least 60 African asylum seekers were collectively expelled from the Spanish colony of Ceuta to Morocco. Before then, Moroccan border police had been invited into Spanish territory, where they were enforcing asylum seekers. During the period January-October 2016, 12,525 asylum seekers entered Spain.
The regime continued its opposition to cooperation with the Argentine judiciary to investigate the crimes committed during the Spanish Civil War and during the Franco dictatorship. In September, the Spanish Prosecutor’s Office instructed the country’s prosecutors that under no circumstances should they work with the Argentines. Spain has never had a court case after Franco’s death, and therefore tens of thousands of crimes have never been investigated or the culprits charged.