Paul Kennedy
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The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party
continuity, innovation and renewal

This chapter considers the evolution of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español - PSOE) from its re-emergence as a significant political force during the 1970s until the present day under Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. It also considers the party's transformation from near irrelevance into a party of government under Felipe González, whereby the leadership's uncompromising control over the party was used to moderate the PSOE's ideological positions within the context of a party discourse which emphasised internal discipline and unity. The chapter then covers the party's main achievements in office under González, together with an analysis of the factors which led to the party's defeat in 1996. It examines the party's troubled period in opposition between 1996 and 2004, including an analysis of the party's recovery under Rodríguez Zapatero from 2000. Finally, the chapter discusses the PSOE's period in office since 2004.

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In search of social democracy

Responses to crisis and modernisation

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