Spain: Bold Departure

Suárez quits over party sniping

Cautious, guarded, deliberate — with those sober qualities, Adolfo Suárez became Spain's first democratically elected Prime Minister in two generations.

Even many leftist politicians admired the personable, reformist technocrat for the way he presided successfully over the risky transition from the 40-year dictatorship of Francisco Franco to a democracy under his friend King Juan Carlos.

For all his accomplishments, though, Suárez failed in one democratic essential: he was unable to mold a coherent political party out of the disparate centrist and conservative groupings that made up his...

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