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Since the demise of the Franco dictatorship in 1977 Spain has emerged as one of the worlds most successful new democracies.
But what accounts for the remarkable process of democratization in Spain, a country infamous for its long history of civil wars, military coups and ethnic conflicts? In this book, Omar Encarnacion shows how a post-transition settlement, anchored on intra-party consensus and collaboration, made possible Spain's smooth transition from authoritarian to democratic rule, a string of stable governments from the Center, Left and Right, a modern and competitive economy, and a new national multi-cultural identity. Each chapter in the book is devoted to a different aspect of the post-transition settlement, from its origins in the political traumas of Spanish history, to its implications for the evolution of the party system, the state, civil society and the economy, and finally, the consequences of its deterioration under the socialist administration of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Controversial policies such as same-sex marriages, negotiations with the Basque terrorist organization ETA, expanded powers to regional governments, and accountability for human rights abuses committed during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime, explain the widespread claim that Zapatero has shattered the political status quo of the post-Franco era. This book will be essential reading for students and scholars of contemporary Spanish politics and comparative democratization.
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