Monday, March 10, 2008

Zapatero wins re-election in Spanish election

As an American who studied abroad in Spain in 2003, I remain keenly interested in Peninsular politics and the events that so often shape them. The re-election of Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero yesterday is certainly among them.

Spanish voters first elected Zapatero on March 14, 2004 -- three days after terrorists detonated a series of bombs on Madrid-bound commuter trains that killed 191 people. Many expressed outrage over former Prime Minister José María Aznar's initial assertion the Basque separatist group ETA was behind the attacks, while others blasted him for his support of the war in Iraq. These two factors were key in Zapatero's victory.

Fast forward to 2008: the Socialists have spearheaded a very progressive agenda that includes the legalization of marriage and adoption for same-sex couples in 2005. Immigration and economic stagnation are among the issues that continue to concern many Spanish voters, but Zapatero and his party have arguably transformed Spain into one of the world's most progressive countries -- at least in terms of LGBT rights. This record stands for itself.

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