Ramón Álvarez, Barcelona, 2/4/2021
Image: Santiago Carrillo exhibits his PCE card after the party’s legalization
A Saturday of Glory for democracy
Santiago Carrillo confirmed the PCE’s commitment to the transition state model in the congressional commission that ratified the Constitution.
“We are republicans, but we will accept the monarchy as long as it is committed to democracy. The important thing now is not the debate between Monarchy or Republic, but the choice between dictatorship or democracy, and we are clearly with the latter. If the King assumes the parliamentary and constitutional monarchy, we will support him. “
The surprising intervention of Santiago Carrillo and a good part of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Spain together with a large red-and-yellow flag on April 16, 1977 is one of the decisive moments of the transition. The secretary general of the PCE accepted a state model based on the parliamentary monarchy and the symbols inherited from the Franco regime, renouncing the republican restoration. In addition, he made the Communist Party, the great force in the opposition to the Franco regime, join the transition pact.
Both Carrillo himself and the official organ of the party, the newspaper Mundo Obrero, had harshly criticized the figure of Juan Carlos I as the puppet of Francisco Franco who was already dead. And already in 1976, through the contacts that the monarch had made with the leader of the PCE with the mediation of Nicolae Ceausescu, the main supporter in the East of the Eurocommunism towards which the party was derived, Carrillo had refused to be part of the transition by renouncing the historical acronyms.
The legalization, to which the United States Embassy was opposed by the military leadership – the Ford Administration was fearful that the Communists would seize power at the polls following the model of Salvador Allende in southern Europe – took place on Saturday Saint of that year, which fell on April 9.
Despite the moderation that Carrillo showed throughout the process, the legalization claimed two political victims: that of the former president of the Government Torcuato Fernández-Miranda, author of the Law for Political Reform that served to legally dismantle the dictatorship, who decided to voluntarily withdraw for his opposition to this move by Suárez, and that of Admiral Gabriel Pita Da Veiga, Minister of the Navy and military of the side that rebelled in 1936.
It remained to be seen what the position of the PCE would end up being beyond the political statements. And that declared spirit of reconciliation was definitely evident in the first intervention of Santiago Carrillo in the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and Public Liberties of the Congress of Deputies, which had to approve the text that came out of the Constitutional Report after the first democratic elections in which the PCE became the third force in Congress, with 20 deputies and 9.33% of the votes. It is the text that we offer extracted.
The session was held on May 5, 1978. And in it, the spokesman of the already Communist Parliamentary Group not only ratified the support of its formation for the Monarchy as guarantor of the new system of freedoms, but also endorsed the fundamental aspects of the Constitution . Carrillo pointed to amendments on aspects that over time have been legislated along the lines pointed out then, such as the abolition of the death penalty, divorce, abortion or judicial independence.
Carrillo’s intervention also has a clear internal reading, since the secretary general reveals the victory in the PCE of the moderate theses of resignation to the Leninist Revolution, which would end up causing the first of its splits and reformulations during democracy.