Spain marks 30th anniversary of return of democracy
15 June 2007, MADRID - Spain marked the 30th anniversary of the first democratic elections after the Franco dictatorship with a ceremony in Parliament that included King Juan Carlos and other key figures of the transition.
15 June 2007
MADRID - Spain marked the 30th anniversary of the first democratic elections after the Franco dictatorship with a ceremony in Parliament that included King Juan Carlos and other key figures of the transition.
The monarch gave a speech before the lower house in which he stressed the need "to search for unity and understanding, based on sincere dialogue" and asserted that Spain's 30 years of democracy provide ample evidence "that terrorist violence will never achieve its aims."
Saying he will never tire of insisting that "the future depends on us ... that we have the ability to steer and lead the way to a progressively better future," the king specifically called on Spaniards "to defeat the abominable scourge of cruel and inhuman terrorism that has resulted in so many victims and so much pain."
The head of state was alluding to the more than 800 people killed since 1968 by the terrorist group ETA - which is seeking independence for the Basque region of northern Spain - and to the nearly 200 who died in March 2004 when Muslim militants detonated bombs on Madrid commuter trains.
Addressing the more than 600 invitees at the ceremony, Juan Carlos expressed his "calm conviction" that Spaniards "will always back their institutions and security forces in that fight, using all the instruments of the rule of law.'
To progress day by day, he said, Spaniards must be unified and work "in the service of progress and the general interest."
"Let's work to reinforce all the things that unite us and tear down what separates us, respectful of the plurality and diversity that defines us, but without ever losing the unity that gives us the necessary size and strength to continue progressing," he said.
Juan Carlos, a leading figure in the transition to a democratic constitutional monarchy following Gen. Francisco Franco's death in 1975, said that "30 years on I continue to believe with all my strength in Spain and in Spaniards, in the present and future value of the precious framework of coexistence that upholds our constitution."
After praising the key players in Spain's democratic transition following Franco's 1939-1975 dictatorship, he said the legacy they left us "has allowed us to avoid harsh and sterile confrontations in the normal development of our political life."
The king paid special homage to the man who headed the first democratically elected post-Franco government, Adolfo Suarez, who last week was awarded the Spanish monarchy's highest honor, the Order of the Golden Fleece.
In closing - as he did 30 years ago, accompanied then as now by Queen Sofia - Juan Carlos expressed his "desire for the most harmonious democratic coexistence among all Spaniards, within the context of Spanish unity and our model of territorial cohesion ... (in order to) promote greater levels of wellbeing for all."
That "is the lodestar that guides me as king for my love of Spain and commitment to freedom," he said.
His speech was preceded by an address given by the speaker of the lower house, Manuel Marin, who hailed the role played by the king in the transition, as well as that of the politicians of that era in making change possible.
"Congratulations, Juan Carlos," he said, hailing the monarchy for understanding the desire of the majority of Spaniards for freedom and democracy and taking the lead in that process.
In addition to the speeches, a video was also shown during the ceremony that summarized key events in the nation's life from the transition to democracy to the present day.
The film included images of TV campaign spots for the first elections, as well as important milestones such as the holding of the referendum on the 1978 constitution and the attempted coup of Feb. 23, 1981, which was thwarted by the intervention of King Juan Carlos. EFE
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news