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Aznar says 11 March ‘only reason Socialists won’

30 March 2004

MADRID – Outgoing prime minister José Maria Aznar insisted Tuesday if it were not for the 11 March massacre his successor Mariano Rajoy would be Spain’s next premier.

In an interview with Spain’s Cadena COPE radio station, Aznar warned those that lied after the bombings they ‘would not get their own way’’.

Many commentators have claimed the Socialists’ shock victory in the 14 March general election was only due to the public’s reaction to the way the government was seen to manipulate the terrorist attacks.

The government repeatedly claimed ETA were behind the massacre in which 191 people died.

But many saw this as a way to deflect criticism of their support for the US invasion of Iraq, as it seemed increasingly likely Islamic terrorists were behind the attacks.

Aznar said he also regretted the events which occurred on the day before the elections, when crowds staged protests outside the ruling conservative Partido Popular offices in Madrid.

The demonstrations, against the government’s handling of the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, broke electoral law which forbids political demonstrations the day before the general election.

Aznar wondered what would have happened if his own conservative Partido Popular  had staged demonstrations in front of the other parties’ head offices.

Answering charges of manipulating the truth after the terrorist attack, Aznar said he was well aware there were people who were not going to forgive him for his decision to step-down as prime minister

That is why he said he was not surprised about the slanders, but refuses to let them go by without defending his honour.

Aznar insisted he told the truth after the bombings and was convinced his opponents would not get their own way in the long run.

Stressing the positive upward trend in the economy in recent yeas, Aznar appealed to the new government to steer it in the same direction and warned against abandoning budgetary stability.

He also said he believed the PP would put forward a “brilliant” candidacy for the forthcoming European elections.

Aznar promised he would continue carrying out the functions his party asked of him, although he denied taking part in any decision making.

The outgoing PM said he has a lot to be grateful for and nothing to resent, and that he has never sought recognition.

On a lighter note, Aznar said he is personally arranging the move to his new home, and is still deciding how to arrange the more than 5,000 volumes of his book collection.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news