José María Aznar’s victory in 1996 was both the successful result of a process that commenced within the opposition a decade before and an inevitable effect of evolving difficulties for the Socialist Party in government. Given that the latter would not always be the case, Aznar supported Fraga’s view that the party needed a more populist orientation to capture the ‘natural majority’ (Balfour 2005a). The party had to escape its Francoist past and project a more moderate image, something Aznar planned from the party’s 1990 Seville Congress (Aznar 2004: 68). That this was clearly an electoral strategy rather than a genuine ideological shift can be judged from the contrasting patterns of the two legislatures between 1996 and 2004. Aznar’s first period in office was characterized by the need to establish pacts with Basque and Catalan regionalist parties that, while not dissimilar in terms of economic principles and conservative values, were diametrically opposed to the PP when it came to constitutional matters and their vision of a future Spanish state. However, after the 2000 general elections when the PP won an overall majority, such a need for conciliatory politics became unnecessary.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- The Return of the Right, 1996–2004
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number