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Spain wants to be a Republic, again

01.12.2003
 

Around 1,000 social organizations across the Spanish Kingdom will demonstrate on December 6 for the Third Republic. The next marriage of the crown prince and a peculiar mistake in Australia sparked the debate about the legitimacy of the Monarchy.

Recently, the Prince of Asturias and Crown Prince of the Spanish Kingdom, Felipe de Bourbon, announced his marriage to a TV reporter with no blood connections to the Royal Family. Last weekend, at the opening ceremony of the Davis Cup finals in Melbourne, Australia, a musician played the Republican National Anthem of Spain (1931 - 1939) instead of the Royal March and sparked the protests of the center-right government.

In principle, these two acts may have no connections with each other. However, as national elections come, they have sparked the long-running debate over the reason of supporting a royal family in a modern society.

Spanish republican spirit has a long tradition, as has it source in the three years of liberalism that prevailed in the country between 1820 and 1823, when, after Napoleon's invasion, the Bourbons were forced to concede a constitution. Then, the counter-revolution overwhelmed any attempt to turn the medieval regime into a modern republic inspired in the French Revolution, until 1931.

At that time, a municipal election gave the triumph to the republicans and the monarchy melted. The King Alfonso XIII escaped and the Second Republic born. In February 1936, a leftist coalition inspired in the Moscow fueled "Popular Fronts" won the elections. Five months later, the military rose, supported by the fascist forces of Europe: Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy. The fascists headed by general Francisco Franco needed three years of civil war, the aid of the Nazi air force and the Italian Army and the cowardice of the "Western Powers" to defeat the resistance of the Spanish people and the foreign brigades that fought for their freedom.

Between 1939 and 1975, Spain was covered by the darkest night of a traditional regime that sent back its society to the Middle Age. When Franco died in 1975, the monarchy was reinstalled and played a great role in recovering country's democracy. However, despite the massacres and the forced exile, the spirit of the Republic has not faded.

Around 1,000 social organizations and political parties have called for a demonstration in Madrid, to overthrow the monarchy and claim for a Republic, illegally abolished by the fascists in 1939. It has been convoked under the slogan "Spanish for a Third Republic" and it is expected to gather thousands before Capital's public buildings.

Last weekend, in Australia, welcomed the mistake of the local musicians when played the Republican Riego's anthem, instead of the Royal March, at the inaugural ceremony of the Davis Cup finals. Spanish authorities protested, but many people celebrated the music of the anticlerical popular melody, probing that the republican spirit is still alive.

As in the old times, on December 6th the Spanish people will fill Madrid's streets waving the republican tricolor flag and chanting the traditional "Salud y Republica"  (Cheers and Republic!)

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