The Spanish EP elections on 13 June confirmed the position of the ruling Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE – Workers’ Socialist Party of Spain) at the March 2004 parliamentary polls. The 45 per cent turnout was the lowest of any election in the history of Spanish democracy and compared badly with turnout at the 1999 EP election. In March the centre-left PSOE got back into government after eight years in opposition, outrunning the centre-right Partido Popular (PP) in elections heavily marked by the terrorist attacks that hit Madrid just three days before the poll, as well as by the PP administration’s reaction to that tragedy. Prime Minister José María Aznar’s government blamed the attacks on the Basque terrorist organisation ETA and denied evidence linking the Madrid massacre to Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. That led to street protests and boosted turnout by three million, more than eight per cent compared to elections in 2000. Coupled with the unpopularity of Aznar’s decision to send Spanish troops to Iraq, it led to the PP defeat.
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