In Spain, the ruling Democratic Centre Union (UCD) party has launched a campaign to improve its image before a constitutional referendum and municipal elections, due to be held later this year.
GV AND SVs: walled city of Avila.
SV: people walking in streets.
SV: UCD posters outside hall.
SV: officials on rostrum (2 shots)
CU: Spanish Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez seated
CUs: People in audience PULL OUT TO GV audience (5 shots)
CU: Saurez speaking in Spanish CUT AWAY TO other officials PAN BACK TO Saurez speaking.
SV: audience applauding.
A hastily formed coalition of Christian Democrats, Liberals and Social Democrats, the UCD won Spain's first free parliamentary elections in 41 years last June. It gained 34 per cent of the votes, followed by the Socialists with 29 per cent, the Communists with nine per cent and the Right-Wing Popular Alliance with eight. The constitutional referendum is expected to be held in June, followed by the municipal elections which observers say could transform the grassroots of Spanish politics. Ultra-conservative supporters of Spain's late dictator General Francisco Franco still hold sway in thousands of Spanish towns and provincial councils.
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Background: In Spain, the ruling Democratic Centre Union (UCD) party has launched a campaign to improve its image before a constitutional referendum and municipal elections, due to be held later this year.
SYNOPSIS: On Saturday (4 February) Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez made his first contribution to the nation-wide campaign at a rally in the town of Avila, about 60 miles (100 kilometres) from Madrid. Recently the UCD has been ruffled by internal dissent and worried by Senor Suarez' waning popularity among voters. A recent opinion poll showed his support to have dropped to below 50 per cent for the first time. The government campaign comes after recent gains by the socialists and communists in trade union elections.
The UCD campaign coincides with the disclosure of a proposal to extend the term of the present parliament until 1981. Speaking at the rally in Avila, Senor Suarez told the audience that the government's achievements could be summed up in a single phrase -- it had fulfilled its election promises.
The Prime Minister went on to outline the successes of Spain's first democratic government for 41 years, saying that it had drafted a new constitution in consultation with other political groups, had taken measures to overcome the economic crisis, had initiated social and legal reforms and was dealing with demands for regional autonomy from several areas.
Senor Suarez also said his government was concerned about the deterioration of public order in Spain and would take steps to deal with the situation. "Problems of public order are a reality" he said, "but the situation is not catastrophic and does not justify interference with the normal democratic process". Senor Suarez and his ministers will continue their campaign for a week -- speaking in towns and cities throughout the country.