The Spanish Communist Party is campaigning hard for the country's forthcoming general elections, due to held on June 15.
GV Woman speaker addressing Communist rally in stadium
SV Santiago Carrillo (Communist Party Secretary General listens as speech continues
SV Woman continues speech PAN TO Carrillo and officials applauding (2 shots)
GV PAN Crowd applauding and beginning to chant
GV (NIGHT SHOT) Carrillo on rostrum with crowds chanting and Carillo speaking
SV Carrillo speaking PULL OUT TO GV stage and crowd applauding
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Background: The Spanish Communist Party is campaigning hard for the country's forthcoming general elections, due to held on June 15. But it's not so long ago that Party was outlawed.
The party had been banned for nearly 40 years after the victory of General Franco in the Spanish Civil War, and it was only on April 9 that the government announced the party was again a legal body. The legalisation brought strong reaction from several top military officers who had fought against the Communists in the Civil War.
A crowd estimated at 35,000-strong attended this Communist rally in a football stadium in the working-class Madrid suburb of Vallecas on Friday (27 May). Although the party has strong support in such areas, opinion polls say it has only six to seven per cent of the electorate's support. With a large percentage of the nation's voters still undecided the party is hoping to increase its share of the vote, but they still trail well behind the main left-wing party, the Socialist Working Party (PSOE).
The party leader, Senor Santiago Carrillo, has maintained a mild Euro-Communist line which is opposed by some sections of the Party who remain loyal to the more hardline attitudes of the Soviet Union.
He has even offered to join a coalition government and has persuade the party to abandon the revolutionary tricolour and accept the monarchy and the red-and-yellow national flag.
Senor Carrillo himself had been detained by the government last December on charges of illicit association. He had been living in exile, but returned to Spain in secret in February, 1976, against the orders of the government. During their campaign the Communists have been notably cordial in their references to Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez, who authorized their legalisation.