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by Viva Espana!
Monday, Mar. 15, 2004 at 3:22 PM
People react in the street after hearing that Spain's opposition Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) was declared victor in the Spanish general elections in Madrid. The pro-Bush, pro-war Popular Party of Prime Minister Aznar suffered total defeat at the polls. (AFP/Christophe Simon)
In a stunning turn of events, the Spanish people have kicked out the ruling Popular Party of Prime Minister Aznar for his close alignment to the U.S. over the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The great majority of Spain's people were, and are, against the war... to which Aznar committed over 1,000 troops. After the terror bombings in Madrid, large crowds began to gather to protest against Aznar and his Popular Party, blaming them for Spain's subservience to Bush and making the country a target of terrorists. The crowds held signs that read: "The bombs that fell on Baghdad exploded in Madrid." The unpopular Aznar government was defeated at the polls by the Socialist Worker's Party, whose candidate Rodriguez Zapatero now becomes President!
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Spanish conservatives defeated in aftermath of rail bombings
Monday15 March 2004
MADRID : Spain's ruling conservatives were defeated on Sunday in general elections, as a heavy turnout of voters punished the government in the highly emotional aftermath of the Madrid train bombings in which 200 people were killed.
Interior Minister Angel Acebes said the opposition Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) had obtained 43.01 percent of the vote and won 164 seats in the 350-member Chamber of Deputies.
The ruling conservative Popular Party (PP), which was predicted to prevail a week ago, won only 148 seats, with 37.47 percent of the vote.
"I sincerely congratulate the Socialist Party for their win," government spokesman Eduardo Zaplana said, in conceding defeat.
Acebes said more than 77 percent of the electorate turned out to vote, a high response reflecting the emotions caused by the deadly train massacre. "It's a clear victory in terms of votes and seats," PSOE secretary Jose Blanco said, sparking euphoria at the party headquarters in Madrid.
The PP of outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar apparently took a pasting because of its support for the United States in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Only a week ago, four public opinion polls predicted the Popular Party would win with a reduced majority. But the bombings and a claim attributed to Al-Qaeda that they were revenge for Spain's support of American policy in Iraq touched off a wave of anger against the government.
Small groups of detractors booed Aznar and his chosen successor, Mariano Rajoy, when they voted in separate Madrid polling stations, with some yelling "Manipulator" and "You fascists are the terrorists".
Up to 90 percent of the population was against the Iraq war and occupation, to which Aznar has contributed 1,300 troops.
The elections came three days after a series of bomb blasts on four Madrid commuter trains, in which 1,500 people were wounded, provoked high emotions among many voters against the government.
Aznar was stepping down after two terms as prime minister having handed over the PP reins Rajoy, who was up against PSOE rival Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
The outgoing government had laid most suspicion for the attacks on the Basque separatist group ETA, which denied responsibility.
But in the hours before the election attention swung to possible Al-Qaeda involvement after a video was discovered claiming the atrocity in the Islamic group's name.
"We claim responsibility for what happened in Madrid exactly two and a half years after the attacks in New York and Washington," said a man claiming to be an Al-Qaeda spokesman in the video found on Saturday.
"This is an answer to your cooperation with the Bush criminals and their allies. This is an answer to crimes which you committed in the world, notably in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there will be more, so help us God."
Following the threat, Spanish authorities implemented "exceptional" security measures for the elections with 106,000 officers in the streets and additional police forces "ready to be sent anywhere they may be needed," an interior ministry spokesman said.
Aznar, who was stepping down after leading his party to two previous victories, told the crowd: "Whoever they are, wherever they come from, we will not let terrorists and fanatics cow Spanish society, divide it or destroy its freedom."
In a threat which experts said came from Osama bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda leader on October 18 warned his operatives would strike at Spain, Australia, Britain, Italy and other countries which helped the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As the investigation into the Madrid bombings continued, Acebes told a news conference on Sunday that Spanish, British, French and Portuguese authorities had been so far unable to identify the man on the video.
The man had made the claim for the Madrid attacks in the name of "Al-Qaeda's military spokesman in Europe... Abu Dukhan Al Afghani."
Acebes said Spanish authorities were "not discarding any possibility" in the probe.
He added that three Moroccans and two Indians arrested late Saturday in relation to clues found in a bag containing a bomb that failed to go off were being held under an anti-terrorist law permitting extended detention.
"This will be a long and meticulous investigation," he said.
The spectre of Al-Qaeda involvement has prompted the European Union, the United States and allies in the Iraq occupation to boost security measures.
The EU was considering calling an emergency meeting of interior ministers after a warning from Germany that possible Al-Qaeda involvement in the Madrid massacre raised the terrorism stakes in Europe. - AFP
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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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|It's a sad day for Spain
||Monday, Mar. 15, 2004 at 3:27 PM
|Terrorists win the election in Spain
||Monday, Mar. 15, 2004 at 4:31 PM
||Monday, Mar. 15, 2004 at 4:36 PM
|You can call it over-reaction.
||Feet firmly grounded on Earth
||Monday, Mar. 15, 2004 at 5:26 PM
||Monday, Mar. 15, 2004 at 6:35 PM
|Terrorists win in Spain
||Monday, Mar. 15, 2004 at 6:58 PM
|terrorists eat barney for dinner, sanity wins in spain!
||neo-cons chupa la gran verga
||Monday, Mar. 15, 2004 at 8:48 PM
|notes to me
||G W Bush
||Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 12:53 AM
||Terrorism is working
||Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 5:25 AM
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