The Spanish Transition essay

TheSpanish Transition


Duringthe 1970s, Spain made a crucial transition from corporatism todemocracy. The transition from the corporatist leader, GeneralFrancisco Franco, was rather a slow process. The mentioned rulergained power after winning the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, toestablish an authoritarian, centralized, and corporatist nation ruledby National Movement, a neo-one party forum. However, in 1947, thenation passed the Law of Succession, and the law gave anestablishment that Spain was a traditional Catholic monarchy andnamed Franco the regent of the nation and with him were the rights toname the next ruler. In the 1960s, the nation had great economicstrides, and with it came a new urban working class and a largereducated middle class. The result of the rise of such groups sawattacks on the then existing regent and ruling that his style ofleadership characterized non-democracy and as one against civilliberties. Adding to the non-democratic leadership and leadingagainst civil liberties, the regional oppression of the Catalan andBasque groups formed an organized movement rose to oppose Franco’srule.

Amidthe opposition to his rule, Franco went ahead to name his successor,Prince Juan Carlos. The father of the prince was rebellious toFranc’s rule hence Franco omitted to mention him as the nextregent of Spain. Furthermore, the young prince swore loyalty to theNational Movement and nonetheless, the ruler supervised hiseducation. In 1969, the nation leader of the nation deteriorationwith health and the masses anticipated his death in the same year. Itraised tension in the nation (Muro,2010).General strikes, curtailing of freedom of speech, and the return ofthe nation to the oppression era similar to the 1940s motivated theassassination of the Prime Minister of the nation Luis Carrero Blanco(Muro,2010).The Basque separatist group owned up the assassination plans andexecution (Muro,2010).The emergence of a new prime minister with prospects to give thenation better reforms gave the nation a chance to indulge in a ruledepicting democracy. Unfortunately, the new Prime Minister, CarlosArais Navarro faced attacks from die-hard followers of the Franco’sregime. It is until the death of Franco in 1975 that the nation wasready for a political and leadership change.

JuanCarlos inherited the power and as the new regent, he gave the nationhope of changing to a democratic nation, placing the rights of thecitizens above personal affiliations. The changes, however, took aslow turn because, after a period of six months, the new rulerdismissed Prime Minister Navarro in July 1976. He replaced theposition with yet another follower of Franco, Adolfo Suarez. Muroexplains that Suarezhadlinks to the National movement and the military aided with slowpolitical reforms in the nations (2010). Such reforms includedreleasing some of the political prisoners in the nation imprisoned bythe previous regime. Later in the year, Suarez aided to convincecorporatist Cortes to pass a political reform bill. The bill wouldintroduce to the nation a bicameral and democratically electednation. Before passing the bill, the Franco’s 1945 Law on Referendaallowed the bill to pass through the nation seeking the approval fromthe citizens. Ninety-eight percent of the voters gave the bill anapproval, allowing Suarez and Juan Carlos to carry out a reformationmandate. However, the approval discouraged highly any incident of arevolution. February 1977 saw the legalization of political parties,and the Communist Party remained operational in April after JuanCarlos gained military support for the action to retain the party inoperation.

Inthe same year, in June, the nation held democratic elections for theCortes and a centrist collation under the leadership of Suarez. Aftersuccessful completion of the elections, there was the successfulformation of a government (Muro,2010).The successful running of the elections and the winnings providedvictory for the desired change from the citizens of the nation and acall for the moderation of Spain. It showed a chance for thedevelopment of democracy in the nation. Suarez hugely contributed tothe end of the polarization regime from his set of political skills.Additionally, the determination and courage from Juan Carlos pushedheavily to the attainment of the long sought democracy. Moreover,most importantly was the willingness of the opposition leaders of thenation at the time to sacrifice and give up on their hopes ofcontinuing with the style of Franco and promote the efforts for aradical social change to secure the goal of developing the youngdemocracy in the nation (Muro,2010).Further efforts to grow the democracy of the nation included tasks ofdeveloping a new constitution to overturn the rules of rulingestablished by Franco and return of the autonomy to the Catalonia andthe Basque regions.

In conclusion, the journey from a non-democratic to the fulldemocracy in Spain widely enjoyed even today show a fierce battlefrom the regime controlled by Franco. The nation’s people had theundying spirit to set their nation at a better place, and in the endwith the help from more visional leaders, democracy prevailed. Spainand its people live in harmony among themselves from the provisionsoffered in the democratic form of government.


Muro,D., &amp Alonso, G. (Eds.). (2010). Thepolitics and memory of democratic transition: the Spanish model.Routledge.