In June, 1977, the people of Spain went to vote in the first elections held in their country for 41 years.
CU: King Juan Carlos and GV's parliament addressed by King. (5 SHOTS)
SV: Suarez and wife enter to vote (3 SHOTS)
GV: Massed crowds at Communist meeting. (2 SHOTS)
SV: Carillo and Dolres Ibarruri. (2 SHOTS)
CU: Ibarruri speaking.
SV: Crowds applaud and Ibarruri embraced by Carillo. (2 SHOTS)
SV: Train decked with flags pulls out of station.
SV: Flag waves from window of train and INT CU trade unionists on train. (2 SHOTS)
GV: Station and union leader addresses crowds on platform. (3 SHOTS)
SV: Arms give fascist salute PULL BACK crowds.
CU: Pinar on platform returning salute and chant for Franco. (2 SHOTS)
GV & SV: Crowds of Catalans marching through streets. (4 SHOTS)
CU: Signs, shop windows, crowds. (3 SHOTS)
CU: Petrol filling and pump registers prices and shops with goods displayed. (5 SHOTS)
SV: Jenkins arriving at palace and greeted by Suarez. (2 SHOTS)
SV INT: Jenkins with King Juan Carlos and Suarez. (3 SHOTS)
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Background: In June, 1977, the people of Spain went to vote in the first elections held in their country for 41 years. Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez has governed since then, but shifting political alliances and the every-resent curse of inflation has not made his task an easy one.
SYNOPSIS: Spain's King Juan Carlos opened the new Cortes (parliament) in Madrid a year ago, and there began a new and unfamiliar chapter in his country's history. Elections had returned Adolfo Suarez to power at the head of the right centre coalition. His government had the support of most parties at the outset of the new democratic experiment-but that support is becoming increasingly unreliable.
The spanish Communist party-banned throughout the Franco regime-became legal only two months before the 1977 elections. Even so, it polled nine percent of the vote. Since then, its power has increased. Party leader Santiago Carillo has broken with Moscow to pursue his own line of Eurocommunism. together with the popular appeal of long-time Spanish communist campaigners like Dolores Ibarruri, the communists have picked up sufficient support to begin challenging Suarez' leadership of the coalition .... and to seek a bigger say in government.
The power of Spain's unions-which also emerged from hiding when the Franco regime was toppled-is another factor. One union group hired a train for a whistle-stop tour of Eastern Spain to recruit membership and to gain support for its political programme. Part of this programme is criticism of the government's economic polices and the rate of inflation, coupled with insistent demands for wage increases.
And the extreme right wing is not to be discounted. Despite the dismantling of the political apparatus which supported Franco, there is still considerable support for his ideals-and from this quarter there is bitter opposition to the present Spanish government.
But perhaps the most disruptive force in Spain one years after democracy, is the separatist movement. These Catalans, together with the Basques of the north, want autonomy. Basque extremists are waging a guerrilla war which orchestrates their demands with bombs, bullets and bloodshed.
Political uncertainties are coupled with a painful inflation rate which, this year, has been running at a level of 30 per cent. It began with the rise in raw material prices-particularly oil-in the early seventies, but has been fuelled by large wage increases in almost every sector os Spain's economy.
The Suarez government is pinning its hopes on eventual membership of the European Economic Community. A recent visit to Madrid by Mr. Roy Jenkins, President of the European Commission, was regarded as an important milestone in Spain's progress towards membership. No date has yet been fixed but Spanish officials are pressing for admission between 1981 and 1983. membership may give the new Spain the stability it needs. In the meantime, Europe's newest democracy will have to ride out its own problems.