Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Al Loving Biography - Loved Painting from Early Age to Alice McGill Biography - Personal » Felipe González Márquez: 1942—: Spanish Prime Minister Biography - Found Socialism During College, Garnered Support For The Psoe, Change And Victory For The Psoe

Felipe González Márquez: 1942—: Spanish Prime Minister - Garnered Support For The Psoe

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Spain in the 1960s was far less isolated from the world than it had been during and immediately after World War II. Culturally and economically Spain appeared much more open. Politically, however, the Franco regime was still in total control, and there was still no legal way to oppose or even question the government. The labor situation was not healthy, and employee-labor disputes became increasingly common. Labor slowdowns, lockouts, and strikes took their toll and became more frequent even though such actions were illegal.

The PSOE during these years was virtually powerless to offer any real guidance. The party had been in exile for decades, and its leadership had grown old and inflexible. The bigger problem was that the PSOE leaders had lost touch with the needs of Spain. González and his younger colleagues mobilized beginning in the 1970s to make socialism a viable force in Spanish politics—no small task considering that the PSOE was still illegal. During these years González conducted all of his PSOE business under the assumed name "Isidoro."

González was elected to the PSOE's executive commission in 1970 during the party's 11th congress. In 1974, during its 13th congress, González became PSOE's first secretary-general. As González rose in power, he and his colleagues began moving the party forward to make it more relevant to contemporary issues.

The real test for the PSOE came in November of 1975 when Franco died. With him died at least some of the political repression that had crippled Spain for nearly four decades. González and his colleagues felt that the best way to legitimize the PSOE in Spain would be to gain support from socialists throughout Europe. All during 1976 González worked to build bridges between the PSOE and established socialist political organizations in other countries. One reason for his success was his own personal charm. A charismatic speaker who projected a friendly, open demeanor, González won popular support for his cause almost as much for his personality and message.

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