Spain: 90th anniversary of the Second Republic
Spain has commemorated the 90th anniversary of the Second Spanish Republic, which was proclaimed on 14 April 1931 and introduced democratic rights in the country for the first time, albeit only for a short time before a military coup triggered a civil war which led to decades of dictatorship under General Franco. Commentators take very different views of the significance of the Second Republic for today's Spain.
Stillborn and overrated
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has praised the Second Republic, describing it as one of the three pillars underpinning the country's democracy, along with the 1978 Constitution and EU accession. ABC finds this completely exaggerated:
“This hyperbolic exultation of the Republic is false. Once again, the Socialists are selling a political experience as a success even though it led to a dramatic failure, because both the left and the right broke the laws of the Republic. You cannot build democracy without democrats, and that was the original sin of the system born in April 1931.”
Jointly thank champions of democracy
The current divisions in the country should not tarnish the memory of its first attempts at democracy, sociologist José Juan Toharia writes in El Confidencial:
“Despite disparate political positions, we can (and should) celebrate April 14 as an important shared anniversary. ... Today's democrats have a clear bond with (and also a debt of gratitude to) the democrats of those times. Regardless of the consequences of the Civil War and the ensuing dictatorship, we are united by the will to create a more pluralistic, freer and fairer society in which we can live together in mutual respect and peace with those who think differently. This is true whether we do it in a republic or a monarchy, as long as the form of government is parliamentary, constitutional and democratic.”