Spain's two socialist parties formally merged on Sunday (30 April) at a rally in Madrid.?
GV EXT Madrid Congress Hall
GV Officials walking onto platform, including French socialist leader Francois Mitterrand
GV Crowd clapping
SCU Portuguese Prime Minister Mario Soares speaking in Spanish
GV Audience applauds
SV Prof. Enrique Tierno Galvan, PSP leader, speaking in Spanish
GV Crowd cheering and chanting
GV Mitterrand watches as PSOE secretary-general, Felipe Gonzales embraces Galvan
GV Crowd applauds
SCU Gonzales speaking in Spanish
CU "United de los Socialists' sign, ZOOM OUT
The Spanish Socialist Worker' Party, (PSOE), founded in 1888, is Spain's oldest socialist party, but it was decimated after the 1936-1939 civil war, which brought the late General Franco to power. Professor Enrique Tierno Galvan, who founded the smaller Popular Socialist Party (PSP), was disappointed by his party's comparative failure in last June's general elections, the first held freely since the civil war. He decided to join the younger leadership and wider power base of the PSOE. The PSOE, recognised by the Socialist International, claims more than 200,000 members. The PSP has about 30,000.
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Background: Spain's two socialist parties formally merged on Sunday (30 April) at a rally in Madrid. The move is seen as an attempt to strengthen opposition to the centre-right government of Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez.
SYNOPSIS: About three thousand people attended the meeting in Madrid's Congress Hall to formalise the union between the Spanish Socialist Worker' Party, the main opposition group, and the smaller Popular Socialist Party. French socialist leader Francois Mitterrand was at the meeting to lend his blessing to the union. The new party will retain the name of its major partner, the Socialist Workers' Party.
Portuguese Prime Minister Mario Soares, also attended and spoke in support of the merger. He said the union had made the socialists a real and viable alternative to the present government in Spain. He said: "We are going to work together to give new impulse to the construction of a socialist society in Europe."
Professor Enrique Tierno Galvan, who founded the Popular Socialist Party in 1954, was named president of the new party. He said the socialist would achieve their aims within Spain's d democratic institutions. Professor Tierno was installed as president amid chants of "Unity, Unity" from the assembled supporters. Professor Tierno, protect ed by his immense reputation, was one of the most outspoken critics of the Franco regime.
The Socialist Workers Party's secretary-general, Felipe Gonzales, remain the party leader. In a bitter attack on the government, which he accused of lacking policies, ideology and organisation, Senor Gonzales said the overwhelming majority of Spaniards would soon put the socialists in power. This would happen, he said, long before the right wing expected it. Previously, the two socialist parties had claimed a total of more than 230,000 members between them.