Expatica news

New political party launched in Spain

27 September 2007

MADRID – A new political party backing a strong central state in the face of rising regional movements has been launched in Spain ahead of a general election set for March 2008.

The Union, Progress and Democracy (UPD) party grew out of the anti-ETA citizens’ movement “Basta Ya”, or “That’s Enough”, which has vocally opposed attacks carried out by the armed Basque separatist movement.

Organisers described the party as “progressive” and “neither from the left nor the right, with support from both sides.”

“We want to be the key piece in the formation of the next government in Spain,” which comprises 17 autonomous regions, Spanish philosopher Fernando Savater — one of the founders of the party — told a news conference on Wednesday.

UPD hopes to attract left-wing voters who are disenchanted with Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rogriguez Zapatero’s policy of granting greater powers to the regions, he said.

The UPD “aims to prevent the nationalist parties from ending up being those who have the power in Spain,” added former Socialist member of the European Parliament Rosa Diez, another founder.

Nationalist parties based in Catalonia and the Basque country from both the centre-right and the left frequently hold the balance of power in Spain’s parliament.

Zapatero’s Socialists have a relative majority in parliament and count lawmakers from the left wing Catalan Nationalist Party (ERC) as among their allies in the assembly.

Public opinion surveys put support for the Socialists ahead of the main opposition conservative Popular Party.
(Copyright AFP with Expatica)

Subject: Spanish news