Spain never ceases to surprise. Not only has the country managed to build a healthy democracy, achieve an original form of federalism, and earn admission to the Euro zone, but - under the leadership of the young Zapatero - is now experiencing a new phase of dynamic growth, especially in terms of civil rights, and intends to enact institutional and constitutional reforms. After changing its foreign policy in order to foster a closer relationship with Europe, Spain became the first country to ratify the constitutional treaty with a referendum. How was this possible? Why does the Spanish political system work so well? This book provides a brief description of a country that in many ways is more admired than actually known. In particular, the text focuses on the country's efficient form of government, its modern party system, the generational renewal of its political class, the centripetal tendencies of its electorate, the advanced powers conferred to local government, the monarchy's status as guarantor, as well as the persistent challenges relating to the Basque Countries and the Eta. The final part of the book addresses Zapatero's rise to power and analyses his government's policies.
Anna Bosco teaches European Union Government and Policy and Political Parties and Pressure Groups at the University of Trieste.