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Presidential Race

From Mexico, David Crow reports:

"On March 19. TV Azteca broadcast an interview with José Borrell, Spanish Socialist Worker Party (PSOE) presidential aspirant in 2000 and former cabinet minister in the government of Felipe González. He impressed me as a very articulate representative of the New European Left, whose vocabulary seems to have left behind phrases such as "public ownership of the means of production" and "class struggle" for more moderate formulations like "distributive justice" and "progressive taxes".

He came down strongly on the side of selective state intervention in the economy, favoring not willy-nilly expropriation of business concerns but pumping funds into infrastructure projects. He also rejected privatizing social security pension funds, as in Chile, but asserted that private savings should "complement" them.

Interestingly, Mr. Borrell is a Catalonian nationalist who learned Castillian Spanish in the public schools. He simultaneously identifies himself as Catalonian, Spanish and European with no conflict of identity.

In my opinion, definitely a politician to keep an eye on."

My comment: I see Borell frequently on television, and am less impressed.

Jose María Aznar has a much higher popular rating. A rather prosaic individual, Borrell must have solid qualities to be elected presidential candidate of his party. I am surprised by what David says about his Catalan nationalism. He is most critical of the Basque terrorists who commit acts of violence against his Socialist Party. Perhaps Joan Ubeda can enlighten us.

Ronald Hilton - 03/21/99