Spain, in the middle 70’s, presents the unique situation of a fortyyear ruler being buried with all the honors and of the authoritarian regime he had created being dismantled by his successors to give room to a new democracy. The process has been called reforma pactada, negotiated reform, from the perspective of those in power and ruptura pactada, negotiated break, from that of the democratic opposition. The figure of Franco divided Spaniards bitterly, and shall continue to do so, although many are ready to consider the man and the regime that he founded history, and to think only of the future. The personalization of power and of the regime and its definition as irreplaceable indirectly has facilitated to many Spaniards to disidentify from the past and initiate the construction of democracy. Adolfo Suárez, who would be the prime minister leading the transformation, formulated it in June 1976 in these terms:

“To think in 1976 that the transforming efficacy of the system would not have been capable of founding solid bases to accede to public freedoms is, your honors, to undervalue the gigantic work of that irreplaceable Spaniard to whom we will always owe homages of gratitude who was Francisco Franco. Our people who at the beginning of his government tasks asked simply for bread today ask for quality in consumption, and in the same manner than then asked for order to reconstruct, today its language is that of freedom.”


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  1. 2.
    Juan J. Linz, “The New Spanish Party System” in Richard Rose (ed.), Electoral Participation. A Comparative Analysis, Sage Publications, London, 1980, pp. 101–189.Google Scholar
  2. Juan J. Linz, Manuel Gomez-Reino, Francisco A. Orizo, Dario Vila, Informe sociologico sobre el cambio politico en España, 1975–1981, IV Informe FOESSA, Euramerica-FOESSA, Madrid, 1981.Google Scholar

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© Westdeutscher Verlag GmbH, Opladen 1981

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  • Juan J. Linz

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