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Spanish-Basque peace process news

by whataboutbob Sat Apr 8th, 2006 at 09:20:24 AM EST

An interesting piece from this morning's European Breakfast: Spain names Socialist heavyweight to ministry

MADRID (Reuters) -- Spain's Prime Minister named a heavyweight Socialist as interior minister in a surprise Cabinet shakeup on Friday, a move likely aimed at providing safe hands for peace talks with Basque guerrillas ETA. Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, amongst the party's most agile negotiators, will take up one of the most prominent posts in a government that has focused primarily on domestic issues.(...)

Rubalcaba will be a central player in any advances towards peace after a ceasefire announced last month by armed Basque separatists ETA. He has already played a key role in negotiating expanded autonomy for Catalonia.

"For the government the (Basque) peace process is a priority and they're putting the ship's captain at the helm," Gaspar Llamazares, the leader of the United Left, told reporters, referring to Rubalcaba.

"He had a role in the initiative to open the Basque peace process," he added.

Comments about this development from our Spanish community members are invited.


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I'm not sure how the ministries work in Spain, but this sounds like Zapatero wants his man in there...someone who will get a peace agreement accomplished and not mess it up.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Apr 8th, 2006 at 11:59:57 AM EST
Yeah, all true.

ZP wants his man on interior now that it would need someone overtly political.

Keeping the distances , this is like placing Karl Rove in the justice department...but in Spain it is for a good reason. He is the mastermind behind the stategy for a liberal and federal Spain against the rigth-wing central visions in Spain (his motto is something like the rich gets rich if the poor gets richer). He is hated by anybody or anything that looks like or talks like neocon....I say it is fair to say that some people in the hard right are even a little bit scared...he has no problem on using...let's call it tough tactics.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Apr 8th, 2006 at 01:05:22 PM EST
kcurie, what were Jose Bono's 'gaffes' which were mentioned by the article?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 8th, 2006 at 02:07:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is nothing in particular. It means that he was opposed to the new catalan statute and make his voice heard. Zapatero actally beat him for the presidency of the PSOE. Bono represents the non-federal branch of PSOE.

Other than that , he normally speaks his mind... even (or just because of) when his statement is completely contradictory with whatever president Zapatero just said.

So, the gaffe means saying something against the president wishes. But it was actually not a gaffe, it was part of the personality he created in his political career (he was president of Castilla-La-Mancha, one of he 17 autonomies in Spain before trying to become president of PSOE). He is supposed to speak his mind and show everybody that he is deely catholic, non-federal and economically on the left.

That said, the reforms (laws) and improvements (salaries) of the spanish soldiers status that he championed were long overdue. And he made the case very convincingly. The spanish army is probably one of the first constant pacification forces in the world. Spanish should be very proud of them... and they should get paid accordingly.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Apr 8th, 2006 at 04:05:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Zapatero has replaced only two ministers, Education and Defence, on the same week that each department got landmark legislation approved by parliament. The argument is "they have carried out their part of our electoral platform, so we're going to start a new stage with new people".

Zapatero has also moved PSOE's parliament faction leader to interior and the former interior minister to defence. In that way he indeed controls everything having to do with the ETA ceasefire. Seriously, Alonso (Defence), Rubalcaba (Interior) and de la Vega (VP) are all heavyweights, very skilled politicians, and loyal to Zapatero.

Zapatero is proving a lot more effective than I gave him credit for. But that also has to do with my being sympathetic to him and not wanting to let that influence my analysis, so my scepticism may have been an overcompensation.

I now firmly believe Zapatero will be in power for 8, maybe 12 years, and will accomplish a lot, but I'll still be a bit cynical in my public assessment.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 8th, 2006 at 04:12:42 PM EST
I said 8 years from the first day and never more than 12 years.

Would he step down at the end of the 8 years? Will he fight for the 12 years and step down?

He will accomplish a lot. I have no doubt. But will he deliver on the two main basic problems for the future spanish economy: ecomomic growth with cheaper prices for flats (end of the real state boom) and energy-transport security? I indeed hope so..and there is a good chance.  Although, as you know, everybody will be more worried about ETA.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Apr 8th, 2006 at 05:15:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would he step down at the end of the 8 years? Will he fight for the 12 years and step down?
It all depends on whether Aznar comes back to replace Rajoy after 2008.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 14th, 2006 at 04:32:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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