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Spanish practices

Behind a shiny modernising façade, Spain's socialists have abused power on an heroic scale. Victor de la Serna, of El Mundo, regrets the immaturity of southern European democracies

It seems as if a sudden avalanche of scandal and suspicion is engulfing the regime of Felipe González in the run-up to Spain’s March election. But the avalanche has been rolling for several years. In fact, it began not long after González’s Socialist party swept to power 14 years ago.

Domestic acclaim was soon followed by international admiration of this civilised, worldly new type of Latin socialist. When domestic opinion began to turn sceptical-partly as a result of scandals-the outside world did not like it, fearing an unstable era in Spanish history if the socialists were toppled. Foreign loyalty to…

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