"We do not believe in government through the voting booth. The Spanish national will was never freely expressed through the ballot box. Spain has no foolish dreams."

—Generalissimo Francisco Franco, 1938

But Spain does have dreams, and they are not foolish. After four decades of repressive dictatorship, more than 20 million Spaniards went to the polls last week—massively, eagerly and peacefully—to reject the legacy of Francisco Franco's authoritarian rule and vote yes to democracy.

It was Spain's first free election in 41 years, and the results were...

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