From Dictatorship to Democracy

  • Gabriel Tortella
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Economic History book series (PEHS)


The death of Franco in 1975 led to the restoration of democracy in the form of a constitutional Monarchy in Spain and brought about the triumph of the Catalanist–nationalist party of Jordi Pujol in Catalonia, which made incessant propaganda underhandedly favoring and justifying separatism. The decades after the demise of the Franco dictatorship were a period of deep reform in the political and economic fields. A new Constitution (1978) and accession to the European Union are perhaps the most momentous, but there were a myriad of other crucial changes, such as the introduction of the welfare state and a sweeping economic liberalization. After a long crisis (1975–1984), reform brought about steady economic development. Meanwhile Pujol carried out a policy of recurring confrontation with the Spanish state. The 2007 crisis brought matters to a head and the open adoption of separatism as the avowed aim of Pujol’s previously and supposedly moderate nationalist party (Pujol had retired in 2003), now under the leadership of Artur Mas. Meanwhile, the Catalan economy had a lackluster performance and the separatist vote has remained below 50 percent. The strange position of the separatists, whose profligate governments depend decisively on loans by the Spanish governments they claim to abhor, who proclaim themselves deeply ‘European’ but know that separation from Spain would mean leaving the EU, and who speak in the name of the whole of Catalonia but cannot manage to obtain sufficient electoral support and are deeply divided among themselves, has forced them to ally themselves with a fringe party who wants secession but also wants to quit the EU and abolish capitalism. This strange alliance has produced a paralyzed government whose only program is to carry out an illegal referendum in 2017, whose results would not be recognized by Spain or by the EU.


Transition Democracy Monarchy Nationalism Development Crisis 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriel Tortella
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidad de AlcaláMadridSpain

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