Proposals for political reforms in Spain have been watered down by the only political party allowed in the country under the Late General Franco.
MVs: members of Ruling Council of National Movement arrive for meeting addressed by Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez. (3 shots)
MVs: Police look on as more members arrive. (3 shots)
MV: Suarez addressing Council. (3 shots)
GVs: Council members listen to Suarez speaking. (4 shots)
CU: Suarez speaking
GV: Council meeting.
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Background: Proposals for political reforms in Spain have been watered down by the only political party allowed in the country under the Late General Franco. The proposals were presented to the Ruling Council of the National Movement on Friday (8 October) by prime Minister Adolfo Suarez.
SYNOPSIS: Members of the Council...a right wing group...gathered in Madrid to hear Prime Minister Suarez defend the proposals. They reacted coolly, having been angered by the killing of a leading politician in the Basque country five days earlier. The reforms would have allowed direct elections to both houses of Parliament. The Council amended the proposals and voted instead for an indirectly selected Senate so that it would include representatives of trade unions, provinces, municipalities and professional groups. This would be a partial return to the system operated under General Franco.
Decisions by the National Movement Council do not bind the Government, but they can have a great influence on the Cortes -- the Parliament - which must approve Government reforms before they are put to a referendum. Senor Suarez has promised to hold free elections by next June.
But he told the Council on Friday that Spain had to adapt its political institutions to modern society. Terrorism would not impede the march of Spain, nor break its values, he said. This remark was a response to right-wing allegations that he had encouraged left-wing violence by relaxing General Franco's rigid system. He said the Government's reforms were backed by the great majority of Spaniards who wanted moderation and not extremism.
The Council also toned down the broad powers envisaged by the Government for King Juan Carlos to submit any political issue directly to the people through a referendum.