INTRODUCTION: The Spanish Communists began preparing for their first parliamentary election in over 40 years today (10 April) after government bowed to opposition demands and legalised the party.
SVs Posters on walls in Communist headquarters in Madrid
SV Poster of Communist leader Santiago Carrillo
CU Cover-up sign at headquarters
SV PULL BACK Communist flag and members drinking toast
CU Ramon Tamames (wearing glasses, on left) with other members(3 shots)
SVs Other members arriving and greeting others (3 shots)
The decision by the government was not made public at once. The Spanish government officials first notified the party's leaders who called it a positive step towards bringing democracy to Spain. Left-wing and moderate opposition politicians welcomed the decision as another step towards democracy. But the extreme right protested that it violated the Spanish penal code which bans groups that are totalitarian and subject to international discipline. Founded in 1920, the party came to power with the left-wing Popular Front in the 1936 elections. It was decimated by the Civil War but now claims 150,000 members.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The Spanish Communists began preparing for their first parliamentary election in over 40 years today (10 April) after government bowed to opposition demands and legalised the party.
SYNOPSIS: The lights were blazing in the Communists' headquarters in Madrid when the news of the party legalisation was announced on Saturday night. Now the fake plaque on the wall will be changed with one proclaiming the true identity of the Communist party headquarters. Leaders of the party which had been outlawed and persecuted since the late General Franco's victory in the 1936 to 39 civil war, celebrated the decision with Cuban rum. Ramon Tamames, a member of the party's executive committee, said he hoped the decision meant that the government would be neutral in the forth coming elections and that all parties would gave equal access to the state controlled radio and television networks during the election campaign.
The Communist Party is free to contest parliamentary elections in June and other extreme left parties including the Maoists and Trotskyites are also now expected to be given legal status. For the Communists, the long years of proscription virtually ended last December when the leader, Party Secretary-General Santiago Carrillo was released from jail. Senor Carrillo, at the moment visiting his sick brother in Paris where he lived in exile, had been in Spain working underground from the previous February.
Then he and six members of the party executive committee were arrested and charged with illegal association It is expected the charges against them will now be dropped.