What role do minority nationalist parties play in contemporary Spanish Politics?
The events of March 11th 2004, where 191 people died in terrorist attacks in Madrid, were blamed by many, including the ruling centre-right government of José María Aznar, on separatist nationalist groupings. Although subsequently exonerated from involvement, the reaction was testimony to the feeling of many Spaniards, regardless of political affiliation, who are in little doubt of the murderous commitment of nationalist parties. In the election of March 14th, three days after the events, the ruling Popular Party was ejected from office and replaced by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s Socialist PSOE government, a result which many political commentators attributed to the false accusations made by the PP after the attacks, and Mr Aznar was succeeded by Mariano Rajoy as leader of the PP. The PP was accused of manipulating public opinion by pinning the blame for the attacks on the Basque nationalist group ETA. The true attackers actually talked of revenge for Mr Aznar’s backing of Mr Bush i