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Aznar Becomes First Conservative in 13 Years Elected Premier in Spain

May 05, 1996| Associated Press

MADRID — Spain's Congress of Deputies elected Jose Maria Aznar prime minister on Saturday, making him the country's first conservative premier in 13 years. "A new era has begun in the democratic history of Spain," Aznar said after the vote.

Aznar, a 43-year-old former tax inspector, was to be sworn in today by King Juan Carlos I as Spain's fourth prime minister since dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975.

Aznar's Popular Party narrowly defeated former Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez's scandal-plagued Spanish Socialist Workers' Party in March 3 elections but fell short of a majority in Congress. As a result, Aznar formed alliances with several regional parties.

The election marked only the second consecutive time in Spain's modern history that a change in governing parties was brought about through the ballot box.

The Popular Party, founded by former members of Franco's regime, is now considered the party of the center right and business.

No broad changes are expected in foreign policy except for a possible cooling of relations with Cuba's Communist-led government.

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