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SPAIN: AT BREAKING POINT? A political and economic analysis for 2013 IBERIANS OF THE YEAR: The most influential people and groups of 2012

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Patxi López

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The Basque Country’s Socialist premier isn’t the most attention-grabbing politician in Spain. But he could make a case for being the most effective in difficult circumstances. When he formed a regional government in 2009 and broke the three-decade rule of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), few expected his administration to last. Given that the Socialist Party’s partner in government was its traditional foe the conservative Popular Party (PP), it looked more like a suicide pact. But despite their differences and nationalist hostility, the pragmatic López and PP moderate Antonio Basagoiti have stayed together long enough, at least, to see ETA declare the end of its terror campaign, and to make their counterparts in Madrid look politically immature in comparison.