15 March 2004

Spanish Election Board

The important result is for the Congress of Deputies (Congreso de los Diputados). Aznar's party is the Popular Party, PP. The main opposition is the Spanish Socialist Worker Party, PSOE. 350 deputies and you need 176 to form a government.

As far as the al-Qa'ida/ETA argument goes, I think I'll keep to a string of press extracts that frame the story. Really, no-one outside the Spanish government knows what is happening at the moment.

From the Guardian:

Facing up to terror

It is increasingly clear who Jos� Mar�a Aznar's government wants it to be. Late on Friday night, the Spanish radio network, Cadena Ser, reported that Mr Aznar's foreign minister, Ana Palacio, had sent instructions to all her country's ambassadors instructing them 'to exploit those occasions that arise to confirm ETA's responsibility for these brutal attacks'. Her telegram left the foreign ministry at 5.28 on the afternoon of the bombings.

In Sunday's general election Aznar's centre-right People's Party could capitalise handsomely on its leader's determined repression of ETA and its apologists if Thursday's bombings are shown to be their work. But, if the attacks were to be laid at the door of Islamists, they could have just as powerful an effect in reverse - focussing the attention of the electorate on Aznar's Middle East policy, and in particular his unpopular support for the invasion of Iraq.

From the LA Times:

Al Qaeda Now Focus of Spain's Bombing Probe

Spanish police Saturday arrested three Moroccans with possible ties to Islamic extremism in last week's train bombings here, and hours later the government announced that it had received a videotape in which a man purporting to represent Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Although earlier official statements designated the militant Basque separatist group ETA as the prime suspect in the carnage that left 200 people dead and 1,500 wounded, investigators said they were increasingly convinced that the masterminds were Islamic extremists.

If true, that would mean that Al Qaeda � or its followers � has committed its first successful attack in Western Europe.

"It's looking more like Islamic groups did it," a high-ranking law enforcement official told The Times.

From Reuters:

Spain Votes After Trauma of Train Bombings

Until the tape was found, Spanish authorities had insisted ETA was the prime suspect for the bombings, drawing thousands to protest at Popular Party offices across Spain.

'Your war, our dead!' protesters chanted at the Madrid headquarters, many convinced the bombs were revenge for Spain's support of the war in Iraq even before the purported al Qaeda claim.

In Madrid, demonstrators took their protest to several monuments throughout the night. In their neighborhoods, people banged on pots and pans in a traditional form of protest.

An editorial cartoon in left-leaning El Pais showed a voter at the polls wondering whether to choose between ETA and al Qaeda.


El Mundo is reporting large increases in the number of people voting.

  • Basque Country 11.01%
  • Catalonia 12.61%
  • Madrid 6.11%
  • Spain 8%

In 2000, the Basque Country elected a majority of PSOE or Basque nationalist MPs. Catalonia went heavily to the PSOE. Madrid voted PP. I don't obsess about elections. Really. Truly.

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