SPAIN: Su

Premier Adolfo Suárez Gonz›lez once described himself as "a tightrope walker." And with some reason. Since his appointment by King Juan Carlos nearly four months ago, Suárez, 44, has had to balance pressures from rightists, leftists and regional separatists while trying to guide Spain from Franco-era authoritarianism to a new age of democracy. He has also had to cope with a deteriorating economy and a rash of demonstrations, strikes and violence.

Last week Suárez began his riskiest high-wire venture yet by submitting a long-awaited political reform bill to the 561-member Cortes (parliament),...