INTRODUCTION Spanish opposition leaders, who have been negotiating with the government for the first time since the civil war forty years ago, have included the Communist Party leader on their talks team.
SV Members of opposition seated at meeting in Madrid ZOOM INTO CU Santiago Carrillo, Communist Party leader
SAME SHOT - PAN TO CU Felipe Gonzales, leader of Spanish Workers Socialist Party
SAME SHOT - PULL BACK TO SV Members seated
SV Gonzales PAN TO Carrillo
SV Delegates seated and door closes
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Background: INTRODUCTION Spanish opposition leaders, who have been negotiating with the government for the first time since the civil war forty years ago, have included the Communist Party leader on their talks team. The Communist Party is still illegal in Spain -- and the move comes after a week of savage violence which has brought about a right-wing backlash to reform moves among the police and army.
SYNOPSIS: The left-wing opposition parties made their decision at a meeting in Communist Party offices in Madrid, the Spanish capital, on Thursday (3 February). They appointed Communist leader Santiago Carrillo to their six-man negotiating team, which is due to meet Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez for another round of talks.
The opposition leaders were discreetly guarded by armed police outside the office, following guerrilla raids last week in which four communist lawyers, a party worker and three policemen were shot dead. The talks with the government are in preparation for general elections in May or June -- the first since the civil war. The next round will concentrate on the problems of the regional minorities -- such as the Basques and the Catalans. Political violence has been rife in both regions.
As the opposition leaders met, Spain's Roman Catholic Bishops called for a government amnesty for an estimated 200 political prisoners. At the same time they condemned the recent wave of condemned the recent wave of violence, and the kidnapping by guerrillas of a top official and a senior army officer to enforce left-wing demands. A shadowy group called Grapo, purporting to be left-wing, has claimed responsibility for much of the violence. But it's widely believed Grapo is a right-wing organisation in disguise -- hoping to provoke a return to authoritarianism.