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In less than two decades Spain has rushed from dictatorship to democracy and from virtual world isolation to membership in the European Union The actual transition 1973-1982 took place from the assasination of Carrero Blanco heir to the regime to the 1982 democratic elections 3rd after Francos death when the Socialists won by a wide margin The transition may have been relatively peaceful but was not without its formidable challenges Spain existed under the authoritarian rule of Francisco Franco for thirty-nine years Throughout this period the Francoist ideology was based on the three pillars of the regime the Nationalist Army the Falange the single party government and the Church In addition the mass media also played an important role in the dictatorship and the transition to democracy The Spanish regime under the directive of General Franco operated under a fascist doctrine adamantly rejecting the principles of democracy Upon Francos death he was no longer able to protect and promote the values of national unity anti-communism and Catholicism He could no longer stand in the way of a nation ready to turn to a democratic government society and culture Although Francos death on November 20th 1975 precipitated a nominal shift to democracy the transition shaped by the institutional legacy left behind by the Franco regime actually began much earlier Franco was the Caudillo of Spain for nearly forty years From the close of the Civil War in 1939 Franco was Chief of the Government of the Spanish State since September 1936 up until his death in 1975 General Franco was the authoritarian ruler in Spain Franco was the last of the European dictators still alive from the inter-war period The Francoist constitution the Leyes Fundamentales was supposed to make possible the institutionalization of the regime and ensure its continuity after Francos death Franco counted on the army to guarantee the established legality and constitutionality of the regime Over time it appeared as
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