The Spanish Transition

Tradeoff Between Short-Term Compromise and Long-Term Problems

Adolfo Suarez
The Spanish Transition : Tradeoff Between Short-Term Compromise and Long-Term Problems - Leon Ahlers


This paper portrays the Spanish transition to democracy in the context of selected systems and negotiation theoretical arguments. Transition leaders’ ability to think in systems and to conceive a framework for negotiations centered on shared interests and common goals was crucial for the success and durability of the process. However, the common view of the Spanish transition as a sheer “success story” falls short of recognizing the sacrifices that were made to achieve peaceful transformation of the political system. In fact, the transition compromise engendered severe problems that strain the Spanish State and the political process until the present day.


When Spain’s long-time dictator Francisco Franco Bahamonde died on November 20, 1975, an era of political change began that is commonly referred to as the “Spanish transition.” Under the auspices of “change from the inside,” “oblivion,” and “reconciliation,” the Franco-ist political system – authoritarian, repressive, and highly unequal – was slowly transformed into a genuinely democratic polity. The process was much applauded for its outstanding orderliness, peacefulness, and durability. In the 1980s, therefore, the Spanish transition was founded in extensive research in many academic disciplines. Most scholars linked the success of the Spanish transition to the “statesmanship” of certain political elites, as well as to socioeconomic and external factors. 

This paper tells a different story. First, it suggests that what academics have abstractly labeled as “statesmanship,” “farsightedness,” or “prudence,” was in fact Spanish leaders’ capability to read, address and learn from a very complex system. Second, the paper argues that compromise in the short-to-medium run could only be preserved at a high expense in the long term: Throughout the transition process itself a discourse of oblivion / reconciliation – i.e. a set of assumptions, beliefs, and linguistic patterns centered on the idea of forgetting about past cleavages and atrocities while reconciling Francoists and opposition – was instrumental in preparing the ground for a new social contract. Departing from this reconciliatory narrative, the transition’s leading figures devised an inclusive and solution-oriented framework for negotiations, which effectively channeled energy previously spent on resistance and distrust towards the greater goal of building a democratic society. In the long run, however, the constitutional materializations of this narrative left conflicts which could not be solved satisfactorily at the time, either unaddressed or languishing in ambiguity.[1] This failure to address conflicts turned out to be conspicuous in four areas: the disputed territorial nature and organization of the Spanish state, the incompatibility of the 1977 Amnesty Law with human rights, the struggle for a collective memory that condemns the Franco regime while honoring its victims, and the exploitation of the transition’s “oblivion” discourse for the delegitimization of political opposition. 

This paper commences with a brief overview of the Spanish transition and the most dominant interpretations of the process. Next, it develops a new narrative of the Spanish transition’s success in the context of selected insights from systems and negotiation theory. Lastly, this positive view of the Spanish transition is contrasted with the idea that some of modern-day Spain’s most important political problems are directly inherited from the transition process. 

Historical Background and Common Interpretation of the Transition Process

In July 1936, the left-dominated Second Spanish Republic was shattered by a military coup instigated by conservative Spanish generals. The army justified the upheaval with allegations of a government in chaos, notorious violence, and the failure to adequately confront the threats of anarchism, communism and anticlericalism under the Republic. The coup was followed by a long and bloody civil war that ended with the Republican forces succumbing to General Franco’s self-proclaimed “national” forces in 1939. Consequently, Franco installed himself as the country’s ruler “by the grace of God.”[2] His regime went through different stages: In the beginning, the political system was influenced primarily by the Fascist and Nazi models. After the breakdown of these regimes, the system opened up. In the late 1950s, economic liberalization commenced. Throughout the following decade, Spain experienced an unprecedented economic boom, and an increasing number of people entered the middle class. This new prosperity was accompanied by a set of political and social reforms, thus leading to a further opening up of the political system in general. 

Two days after Franco’s death in November 1975, Juan Carlos was crowned King of Spain and accepted his role as Franco’s legal successor as Head of State. He confirmed Carlos Arias Navarro as Prime Minister, who had already been in place since the killing of his predecessor Luis Carrero Blanco by the Basque terrorist organization ETA. However, it soon came to light that the King and his Prime Minister did not get along very well, as Arias Navarro was unwilling or unable to meet the King’s expectations of profound political reform. In 1976, therefore, Juan Carlos forced Arias Navarro to resign and appointed Adolfo Suárez as the new Prime Minister. Suárez negotiated with most important political and societal forces towards a genuine transition to democracy. He convinced the Cortes Españolas (the legislative institution of the Franco regime) to pass the Law for Political Reform, which was later approved by referendum. This law set the ground for the complete overhaul of the political system, paving the way for democratic elections. In early 1977, terrorist acts both of the far right and leftist extremists were launched to undermine the transition project. However, the government reacted not with retaliation and closure but with a faster pace of negotiations and, eventually, with the legalization of the communist party. This path considerably furthered confidence in the democratic process.

In the 1977 elections, Adolfo Suárez’ Union of the Democratic Centre Party (UCD) emerged as the victor with a simple majority. Later that year, an extensive amnesty law was adopted which declared impunity for crimes with a political background. On the one hand, the law freed large numbers of political prisoners, on the other hand, it assured the regime’s perpetrators that their atrocities would neither be prosecuted nor investigated. 

During its first term, the UCD started to form alliances with other political parties in order to consolidate consensus and to develop a democratic constitution.

In 1978, the Spanish Constitution, similar in style to the constitutions of other Western European countries, was approved by referendum. The Constitution symbolized a genuine compromise among the various political forces, as it guaranteed typical civil liberties, numerous social rights, constitutional monarchy, Spanish unity, and regional autonomy, among other items. 

The adoption of the Constitution required new elections, which were again won by the UCD. However, increasing regionalism, the second oil crisis, ETA terrorism and social policy controversies (e.g. about the legalization of divorce) antagonized the political parties and paralyzed the political process as a whole. In addition, a motion of censure against the Prime Minister, initiated by the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), weakened Suárez’s position both in the view of the general public and within his own party. In 1981, Suárez resigned as Prime Minister and party head, and Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo, the UCD’s number two, became his successor. 

On February 23, 1981, just when the Parliament was about to install Calvo Sotelo as the new Prime Minister, a group of armed Civil Guard officers led by Colonel Tejero stormed the building. Their goal was to re-establish military rule in Spain. However, the attempted coup soon failed, with the King’s speech on national television, in which he unequivocally condemned the military intervention, having a significant impact. Overall, the collapse of the uprising considerably consolidated democracy and put an end to Francoists’ hopes to recapture power. Most historians agree that this event marks the end of the Spanish transition period.[3]

Research on the Spanish transition is abundant and diverse. Scholars have stressed the growth of the middle class, the authoritarian (and not totalitarian) nature of the Francoist political system,4 the system’s dwindling legitimacy due to the disappearance of the threat of civil war, or societal demobilization as explanatory factors of the transition’s success.[4] [5] [6] As different as academics’ conclusions about the transition may be, most research on the Spanish transition agrees on three points. First, that certain individuals, above all the King and Adolfo Suárez, were of crucial importance. Second, that political elites played a greater role for the transition process than “civil society.” Last but not least, many scholars believe that the Spanish transition represents an unprecedented success story that (though with due caution) was and continues to be a good model for political transitions in general.

How Thinking in Systems and Smart Negotiating led to Success

In the 1960s, it became clear that the grounds on which the Francoist political system had been built were eroding. The threat of another civil war had virtually disappeared, and the memories of the last one began to fade. By dint of market liberalization and the promise of economic prosperity, the regime aimed to “refresh” its legitimacy. However, greater communication with the outside world and the growth of the middle class inevitably entailed social change as well. In the universities, the Catholic Church, among professionals and intellectuals a “civic culture [emerged that] opted unequivocally for participation, freedom of speech, dissent, negotiation, and tolerance.”[7]

This change in ideas took on an accelerating dynamism of its own that clearly outpaced the regime’s vague political liberalization efforts. Overall, the inconsistency between the authoritarian political system and the value system of its subjects widened. Yet, Franco’s authority – and, closely linked to his person, the persistence of the Francoist system itself – was so strong that this discrepancy could only be addressed properly after the dictator’s death.

When Juan Carlos took on his legal succession mandate, he stuck to the rules established therein and confirmed Arias Navarro, an integral part of the conservative Francoist establishment, as Prime Minister. Arias Navarro opted for continuity, or as Soto put it, “pseudo-reformism,” rather than pushing for genuine reform.[8] Eventually, his inability – or reluctance – to read the signs of the times (i.e. the pressure for real system adaptation or even transformation) soon led the King to see him as a dead end. Thus, he replaced Arias Navarro with Suárez. 

Unlike Arias Navarro, Suárez recognized the need for profound political reform, an endeavor on which he and the King then embarked together. In a way, the experience of Arias Navarro’s failure was an advantage for these two political leaders, as it provided important insight into the conduct of the political system.[9] As Meadows pointed out, an open-minded and “eager to learn” approach towards systems – qualities that both the King and Suárez possessed – can be extremely fruitful for the attainment of more desirable system behavior in the future.[10]

It had become clear to the leaders that continuity was not a viable option. The question remained, however, how system transformation was to take place. Suárez decided on three things, with the first one being that legal continuity with the Francoist political system had to be preserved. Second, that change had to come by force of negotiations among all major stakeholders including the regime. (Clearly, leftists’ demands for a complete rupture with the Francoist regime were out of touch with the reality of the distribution of power.) And finally, that the explicit goal of these negotiations had to be a consensual agreement.   

In regards to the first aspect, Suárez thought that, for change to be successful and durable, it needed to be initiated within the Francoist legal framework. In this sense, the Law of Political Reform, which led to the much-quoted “hara-kiri” of the Francoist legislative body (the Cortes Españolas) and, thus, prepared the ground for elections, strictly followed the formal legal and procedural criteria of the political system. In other words, the Law of Political Reform initiated a paradigm shift that was camouflaged as a mere change of rules.[11]

Given the ideological polarization of the Spanish society and the strong divergence of interests, achieving truly inclusive negotiations and compromise by consent was an enormous challenge. Suárez addressed these problems with a twofold strategy. First, he created a negotiating framework that left no space for positional bargaining and focused on common interests instead.[12] Second, he contributed to the elaboration of a narrative that would be acceptable to all involved parties, and in which the negotiating framework could be smoothly embedded. 

In the course of the negotiations, both Suárez and the groups he negotiated with had to make considerable concessions to produce an agreement. Yet, the Prime Minister persuaded the negotiating parties that the attainment of a common overarching goal – a peaceful transition – outweighed the costs. For example, Suárez guaranteed the army the persistence of a monarchy, Spanish unity, impunity for crimes committed during the Civil War, and the prohibition of “revolutionary parties” (i.e. the Spanish Communist Party PCE), if they acquiesced in the transitional compromise. Similarly, Suárez promised the members of the legislative body Senate seats under democratic rule in exchange for institutional “hara-kiri.” The leftist opposition was granted numerous individual and social rights. On their part, they disavowed republicanism and accepted electoral system correctives that openly benefitted conservative parties.[13] Linguistic nationalists received recognition of their own historical and cultural identity as well as political autonomy, however only within the “indissoluble” framework of the Spanish State. Overall, Suárez’s determination to conduct negotiations with the different interest groups enhanced the projects’ credibility and, consequently, its feasibility. 

The negotiations were embedded in a discourse of “consensus,” “oblivion” and “reconciliation.” As these values were shared by a majority – yet not all – of societal actors, they provided the negotiations with a valuable overarching motive. Increasingly, the discourse took on morally compelling notions, centering on abstract concepts like “statesmanship” and “patriotism,” which wielded considerable normative power. This made it ever harder for actors to justify their abstention from or blockade of the negotiations. Also, as the probability of successful negotiations increased, the pressure on abstaining players augmented to participate and acquire a  “piece of the cake” before the deal was concluded. 

Lastly, the King’s important contribution to the process should not be underestimated. His role consisted mainly of lending the crown’s powerful symbol to the transition and thus endowing the democratic process with monarchic legitimacy.[14] However, many accounts of the King’s “heroic” role for the transition fall short of capturing his self-interest in a democratic transition by “internal change.” Whereas the Second Republic had represented a rupture with dynastic legitimacy, the Franco regime restored the House of Bourbon’s role. From a legal perspective, the dynastic legitimacy in 1975 depended on the (legal) continuity of Francoism. Yet, Juan Carlos understood that dynastic arguments no longer sufficed to justify monarchy in a democratic setting. Only if Juan Carlos proved himself valuable to the democratic project as a Weberian “charismatic leader”, could the monarchy regain a lasting raison d’être.

In sum, the transition process flourished on the grounds of its leaders’ ability to recognize the future inviability of the Francoist State, to learn from previous events within the political system, and to establish a framework for negotiations centered on common goals and shared interests.

Problems of the Transition Compromise

It is undeniable that the Spanish transition to democracy was immensely successful in facilitating a peaceful change of the political system by means of inclusive multi-party negotiations and, eventually, a genuine compromise. However, the predominant view of the Spanish transition as a sort of “unprecedented success story” widely ignores the numerous problems the process engendered. The severity of these deficiencies has become especially visible in recent years. Essentially, they affect four different realms. 

Firstly, the ambiguous stipulations of the 1978 Constitution regarding the nature of the Spanish State and the division of power between the central government and the “autonomous communities” led to extremely divergent interpretations. The current contention about Catalonia’s referendum on independence is a telling example. Second, the 1977 Amnesty Law, while necessary to achieve compromise during the transition process, must today be regarded incompatible with international human rights standards. Third, two paramount principles of the transition – oblivion and reconciliation – are relentlessly invoked by conservative forces in order to prevent any kind of discussion about Spain’s Francoist past. This attitude bars victims of Francoism from their right to memory and justice. Lastly, Partido Popular (PP)’s intransigently absolutist interpretation of the (constitutional) transition compromise deprives opponents of legitimate ways to express their views, and politics in general of its important conflictive dimension. This can lead to political radicalization and, contrary to the reconciliatory claim of this endeavor, to further political enmities and a general deterioration of the political culture.

Regarding the first problem, the nature of the Spanish nation, Article II of the Constitution states:

The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation, the common and indivisible country of all Spaniards; it recognizes and guarantees the right to autonomy of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed, and the solidarity amongst them all.[15]

The passage illustrates the attempt made by the drafters of the Constitution to reconcile the diverging interests. The reference to the “indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation” was meant to satisfy, above all, the Francoist establishment and the army. By contrast, the mention of different “nationalities” within the Spanish nation and their “right to autonomy,” was a concession to peripheral nationalism. The “solidarity” notion in Article II represents a somewhat clumsy and certainly enigmatic way to ensure interregional cohesion.

As this paper has been arguing, this compromise was crucial in 1978 for the provision of mutually acceptable system change. In the short-to-medium run, clearly this vagueness endowed the agreement with the necessary stability. However, in the long term the ambiguous constitutional handling of the regional issue placed Pandora’s box right in the institutional heart of the Spanish State. The contention about the Catalan “Estatut”, and, more recently, about the constitutionality of the Catalan referendum on independence illustrate the severity of the problem. As Del Palacio pointed out, this dynamic gained momentum after former PSOE Prime Minister José-Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s decision to forge an alliance with regionalisms to increase his party’s electorate.[16]

Overall, the ambiguity of Article II has led to attempts of politicizing the Spanish Constitutional Court in order to achieve a favorable judgment on matters of regional autonomy. Even worse, efforts to de-legitimize the Spanish Constitutional Court because of unfavorable rulings have damaged the credibility and authority of the judiciary as a whole. This has potentially devastating consequences for the democratic quality of the Spanish political system.[17]

The debate about the 1977 Amnesty Law illustrates another conflict source engendered by the transition process. This law declared impunity for any past crimes of a political nature and, consequently, led to the release of all political prisoners. However, there was another aspect to the Amnesty Law that received little attention at the time. In order to maintain the army’s support for the transition process, the law had to also grant impunity for crimes of “public order agents” against the rights of individuals and Francoist perpetrators went unpunished.[18] In short, in the tradeoff between peace and justice, the former was given preference in 1977. Today, with a stable democratic system in Spain, the necessity of such a tradeoff has disappeared. The law has recently come under pressure, as the UN, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch all conclude that Spain’s unwillingness to repair or repeal the law violates its obligations under international human rights legislation.[19] The defenders of the Amnesty Law argue in favor of its maintenance on two grounds. Firstly, from a “moral” perspective, the law symbolizes the historical reconciliation between the Spanish left and the right (the “two Spains”) in their eyes. Second, on legal grounds, as they claim that a repeal of the law would be illegal due to the non-retroactivity clause of the Constitution.[20]

And yet, the passing of the law in 1977 is understandable. As Molinero argues, the political actors’ “main worry at the time was not looking at the past, it was building the future (…).”[21] Nevertheless, bringing the Amnesty Law in compatibility with international human rights law is imperative for modern-day Spain, both as a symbolic gesture towards the victims of Francoism and in order to enhance the international credibility of Spain’s legal system. A possible solution to this dilemma could be exempting crimes against humanity from the scope of the amnesty, while leaving other crimes unpunished. This would at least restore the compatibility of the Amnesty Law with ius cogens, i.e. inalienable rights of human beings, superior even to national constitutional law. In this sense, the aforementioned non-retroactivity argument made by conservative forces should be regarded null and void, at least regarding crimes against humanity.  

Thirdly, the controversy over the Amnesty Law is only part of a larger debate about the memory of Francoism and the Civil War in general. The Spanish right has gratefully adopted and further cultivated the “reconciliation” / ”oblivion” discourse inherited from the transition in order to put Francoism and its detractors / victims on the same level and to “suffocate any memory of Francoism.”[22] In this sense, it seems reasonable to assume that the reconciliation and oblivion motives have slowly evolved into a sort of “founding myth” of a conservative re-invention of democratic Spain. 

Clearly, the victims of Francoism and leftist forces insist on a different memory of Francoism. By and large, they demand recognition of the fact that the 1936 coup was not legitimate, condemnation of the Francoist regime, and acknowledgement of their suffering under the dictatorship. However, conservative forces discredit such views as revanchist, divisive and aiming to “open up old wounds” (Aznar). This exclusionary discursive practice prevents an honest debate about recent Spanish history and bars Franco-ism’s victims from their right to memory. Evidently, this is extremely problematic from a psychoanalytical view because trauma, be it individual or collective (like the Civil War and Francoism), must be confronted and verbalized – and not hushed up – in order to be overcome.[23] Lastly, the greatest problem of the conservative exploitation of the transition’s “reconciliation” / ”oblivion” discourse lies in the potential to severely harm the political system as a whole. As Mouffe has shown, conflict is a tremendously important aspect of the political game.[24] Attempts to de-legitimize or eradicate conflict from the political process, therefore, limit the possibilities of legitimate counter-hegemonic action. In the Spanish case, conservative forces’ efforts to curtail the realm of the “politically debatable” by excluding the Francoist past from it, might end up antagonizing Spanish society rather than “reconciling” it. Since, when legitimate ways of formulating alternative political interpretations and voicing opposition within the political system are rapidly exhausted, opposition will resort to action outside the system.


This paper portrayed the Spanish transition to democracy in the context of selected systems and negotiation theoretical arguments. It argues that the transition leaders’ ability to think in systems and to conceive a framework for negotiations centered on shared interests and common goals was crucial for the success and durability of the process. However, the common view of the Spanish transition as a sheer “success story” falls short of recognizing the sacrifices that were made to achieve peaceful transformation of the political system. In fact, the transition compromise engendered severe problems that strain the Spanish State and the political process until the present day. These problems encompass the recurring contention about the nature of the Spanish State and the power distribution within it, the incompatibility of the 1977 Amnesty Law with Spain’s obligations under international law, the unsatisfactory provision of justice to and airing of the collective memory of the victims of Francoism, and the impaired democratic quality of the system by the heavy delimitation of “acceptable” political debate. The question of whether or not adequate solutions to these problems will be found will be of significant importance for the future of the Spanish State, society, and political culture. 

Lastly, this case study framed the story of the Spanish transition as a tradeoff dynamic between short-term stability and the quality of the political system in the long run. Further research on such tradeoff dynamics would be valuable for other political transition processes as well, as ways should be explored and political strategies formulated that maximize the immediate merits of transition compromises, while minimizing potential long-term costs.

Notes & References

  1. Institutionalist approaches would refer to the former as „conventions“ and to the latter as „rules“.
  2. While this term is still commonly used to refer to the anti-republican forces in the Civil War, its problematic nature is evident. By denominating themselves “national”, the putschist groups claimed to be the “true” representatives of the Spanish nation. At the same time, this terminology implicitly aims at depriving the Republican side of any “national” legitimacy.
  3. Others argue that the transition period concluded with the peaceful handover of power in 1982, when the PSOE came out winner of the elections, Juliá, Santos: “Un siglo de España. Política y Sociedad”, Madrid: Marcial Pons (1999)
  4. Sastre Garcia, Cayo: “La transición política en España: Una sociedad desmovilizada”, Reis, No. 80 (1997), pp. 33-68. Published by: Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas;, Accessed: 08/12/2014
  5. Tusell, Javier: “La transición a la democracia en España como fenómeno de Historia política”, Ayer, No. 15 (1994), pp. 55-76. Published by: Asociacion de Historia Contemporanea and Marcial Pons Ediciones de Historia;, Accessed: 08/12/2014 
  6. Sastre Garcia, Cayo: “La transición política en España: Una sociedad desmovilizada”, Reis, No. 80 (1997), pp. 33-68. Published by: Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas;, Accessed: 08/12/2014  
  7. Soto, Alvaro: “La transición a la democracia en España”, Aula-Historia Social, No. 21 (2008), pp. 18-48. Published by: Fundacion Instituto de Historia Social;, Accessed: 08/12/2014
  8. Ibid, 25.
  9. In that sense, Redero San Román went as far as considering the Arias Navarro government a “necessary evil”, Redero San Román, Manuel: “Apuntes para una interpretación de la transición política en España”, Ayer, No. 36 (1999), pp.261-281. Published by: Asociacion de Historia Contemporanea and Marcial Pons Ediciones de Historia;, Accessed: 08/12/2014 
  10. Meadows, Donnella: “Thinking in Systems”, White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing (2008).
  11. Casanova put it quite elegantly, referring to Suárez and the King as “democratizers in disguise”, Casanova, Jose: “Las enseñanzas de la transición democrática en España”, Ayer, No. 15 (1994), pp. 15-54. Published by: Asociacion de Historia Contemporanea and Marcial Pons Ediciones de Historia;, Accessed: 08/12/2014 
  12. Fisher, Roger / Ury, William: “Getting to Yes“, Third Edition, New York: Penguin, (2011).
  13. Soto, Alvaro: “La transición a la democracia en España”, Aula-Historia Social, No. 21 (2008), pp. 18-48. Published by: Fundacion Instituto de Historia Social;, Accessed: 08/12/2014
  14. Ibid, 34.
  15. Spanish Constitution of 1978, art. II.
  16. Del Palacio, Martín: “¿NACIÓN O NACIÓN DE NACIONES? El PSOE y la cuestión nacional, 1975-2011”, Cuadernos de Pensamiento Político, No. 35 (2012), pp. 39-54. Published by: FAES, Fundacion para el Analisis y los Estudios Sociales;, Accessed: 08/12/2014  
  17. Jimenez Sanchez, José: “El acto del origen y la soberanía nacional en la Constitución de 1978”, Cuadernos de Pensamiento Político, No. 24 (2009), pp. 121136. Published by: FAES, Fundacion para el Analisis y los Estudios Sociales;, Accessed: 08/12/2014  
  18. Amnesty Law 1977, art. II, f.
  19. “Spain End Amnesty Franco Era Atrocities”,, Accessed 20/12/2014.
  20. Spanish Constitution of 1978, art. VII, 3.
  21. Molinero Carme: “La política de reconciliación nacional. Su contenido durante el franquismo, su lectura en la Transición”, Ayer, No. 66 (2007), pp. 201-225. Published by: Asociacion de Historia Contemporanea and Marcial Pons Ediciones de Historia;, Accessed: 08/12/2014  
  22. Sevillano Callero, Francisco: “La construcción de la memoria y el olvido en la España democrática”, Ayer, No. 52 (2003), pp. 297-319. Published by: Asociacion de Historia Contemporanea and Marcial Pons Ediciones de Historia;, Accessed: 08/12/2014  
  23. On the role of collective traumata for questions of identity and politics, Ciompi, Luc / Endert, Elke: “Gefühle machen Geschichte“, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (2011).
  24. Mouffe, Chantal: “Über das Politische. Wider die kosmopolitische Illusion” (2007), Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Leon Ahlers will be graduating with a M.A. in international affairs and economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in May ‘15. His master’s thesis analyzes the European Central Bank’s narrative on structural policies. Previous to SAIS, Leon earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Vienna and the University of Granada, and co-founded a start-up in the mobile advertising industry. Partly due to his family background on the Canary Islands, Leon has a deep passion for Spanish history, society, and politics.