Zapatero steers Spain firmly to the left

March 31, 2004 at 7:39 AM
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MADRID, March 31 (UPI) -- Spain's newly elected Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero thinks his country is ready for a sexual and social revolution, the New York Times reported.

Not only is the socialist 43-year-old lawyer determined to pull Spanish troops from Iraq, but he wants to legalize some form of gay marriage, rid public schools and medical research of Catholic dogma, create nonpartisan state television and enact laws eradicating sexism in Spanish society, the newspaper said Wednesday.

Most immediately, Zapatero wants to purge the country of the residue of conservatism that marked Jose Maria Aznar's eight-year administration.

Some changes will be easier than others. Last year, Spain passed a highly unpopular law that would make religious instruction a required part of the curriculum in public schools. Under the Zapatero administration, the law will not go into effect.

Abortion is currently illegal except in cases of rape, a deformed fetus or the endangering of the woman's mental or physical health. The Socialist Party electoral platform includes a proposal to change the abortion law to allow women to terminate their pregnancies in the first 12 weeks for any reason.

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