Last October, seven years after the death of General Franco and five years after the re-establishment of parliamentary democracy, Spaniards elected a Socialist government. Felipe Gonzalez, at forty, became the youngest prime minister in Europe. The Socialist landslide victory brought them an absolute majority in the Cortes, the Spanish legislature, and responsibility for solving Spain's grave economic troubles.
A nine-month balance sheet on the Socialist government reveals a cautious, reformist approach at home combined with some far-ranging diplomatic probes abroad. Longterm prospects for success in either arena are not particularly good, but the past year has shown that the effort will be worth watching.