Can the last Franco-era politician cling to power?

20th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 June 2005, MADRID — The hopes of Franco's former propaganda minister, Manuel Fraga, to head Galicia's regional government are hanging on the result of a single but crucial seat.

21 June 2005

MADRID — The hopes of  Franco's former propaganda minister, Manuel Fraga, to head Galicia's regional government are hanging on the result of a single but crucial seat.

The region's ruling Popular Party (PP), built by Fraga from the ruins of Francoism 25 years ago, and the two opposition socialist parties have each claimed victory in Sunday's Galician elections.

The conservative PP won the biggest vote, securing 37 seats, but the Socialist Party and the Galego Nationalist Bloc - who pledge to unite to form a left-wing alternative for the first time in the region - have 38.

Everything now depends on fewer than 80,000 votes from Galician residents abroad, mainly in Latin America, who are allowed to vote in recognition of the enormous emigration from this traditionally impoverished region.

That result will not be known until next week, but a radiant Emilio Perez Tourino, leader of the region's Socialists, announced on Sunday night that Galicians had made a clear choice for change. "Today a new stage opens," he said.

The PP, meanwhile, remained equally confident of victory, Fraga, 82, looking frail but smiling for the first time in weeks, and raising a glass of champagne.

Fraga is the only senior Spanish politician remaining from the Franco era, when he was minister for information.

His re-election had appeared uncertain last week when opinion polls suggested he would not win an absolute majority.

If he had lost, it would have ended the career of a man who has dominated not only Galician politics for nearly 20 years, but national politics as he helped to set up the present Popular Party at the advent of democracy.

His authoritarian style - he is known as Don Manuel - is famous in Spain, causing division between conservatives who admire his old-style leadership and hostility from liberals.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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