Threatened Spanish Succession

May 24, 1974

Report Outline
Tensions in Twilight of Franco Era
Franco's Efforts to Assure Continuity
Perspectives for Transfer of Power
Special Focus

Tensions in Twilight of Franco Era

Effect in Spain of New Portuguese Liberalization

The recent overthrow of a 40-year dictatorship in Portugal has once again focused attention in neighboring Spain on how long the repressive regime maintained by Gen. Francisco Franco will survive his passing. Spain today is a society obsessed with what may happen when Franco, 81, dies. In a sense, history has already bypassed him. It is now 35 years since the end of the Civil War and to the younger generation Franco has become almost irrelevant to their political and economic hopes.

The Spanish have been looking enviously at the new political freedom enjoyed by their Iberian cousins. The liberalization of Portugal since the April 25 military coup has been reported in great detail by the Spanish press. By comparison, moves toward reform in Spain appear painfully slow. Carlos Arias Navarro, the new prime minister appointed Jan. 2 by Franco after the assassination of Luis Carrero Blanco, has made four firm promises regarding Spain's evolution toward a more democratic system.

In a 75-minute televised speech to the Cortes (National Assembly) on Feb. 12, Arias pledged that: (1) All mayors and senior local officials will be elected instead of appointed as at present; (2) A new decree, to be invoked before June 30, will reform the Cortes and make it more representative; (3) The state-controlled trade union organization, the Sindicatos, will be reformed to give the workers more bargaining power and acknowledge the right to strike; (4) A measure will be introduced to permit “political associations” which would encourage the development of democratic debate in Spain.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
May 24, 1974  Threatened Spanish Succession
Sep. 18, 1968  Spain and the West
Aug. 12, 1959  Spain and the Free World
Dec. 22, 1951  Franco Spain and European Defense
Oct. 03, 1949  Relations with Spain
Apr. 20, 1945  Spain in Transition
Jan. 26, 1939  Spain's Civil War and the Great Powers
Regional Political Affairs: Europe