EL PAÍS, Friday, September 10 2004 NEWS / 3 British man Zapatero mocks three-headed opposition accused of killing partner in Catalan after PP decides to honor bygone leaders resort hotel Conservative party’s new chiefs insist the group is “not ashamed” of the Aznar years PERE LOBATO, Sitges A 29-year-old British citizen was arrested in Sitges Wednesday, ac- ANDREW EATWELL, Madrid opposition to the PP’s support cused of killing his 19-year-old The Popular Party convention in for the Iraq war, domestic politi- partner in a hotel in the Catalan October is likely to lead to many cal tension and a string of poorly beach resort. changes in the conservative oppo- handled crises, such as the sink- According to Civil Guard in- sition force, but none of those ing of an oil tanker off Galicia. vestigators, the man strangled announced so far have elicited as The Socialist reaction, howev- and stabbed to death the much interest internally or exter- er, contrasts with views inside the Byelorussian woman during a nally as the decision to place conservative party, where Az- fight in their room at the four star former prime minister José nar’s new post is generally being hotel where they had been staying María Aznar in the newly creat- valued positively. “We’re not for two weeks. A receptionist ed role of honorary chairman. ashamed of Aznar,” José María alerted police after the suspect Announced on Wednesday, Michavila, the PP communica- came into the reception covered the creation of the post will result tions secretary, declared yester- in blood and confessing the mur- in a trinity of leaders in the PP day, stressing that there has never der. The victim’s two-year-old once current secretary general been any intention of “hiding” daughter and an aupair were Mariano Rajoy is confirmed as the ex-prime minister. sleeping in the next room when president in the convention. Man- Manuel Fraga also backed the incident occurred. uel Fraga, the party’s octogenari- the creation of the position, Three weeks ago, the victim an founder and current premier which, he said, the former prime had informed Civil Guard offic- of Galicia, will stay on as the so- minister “deserves” in recogni- ers that the suspect, identified as called founding president, even tion of his eight years in office. Chabra S., was abusing her and as Aznar’s shadow lingers on. He noted, however, that “there is claimed that she was being held “After our meeting the other only one and only ever will be against her will. She subsequently day Rajoy said he was worried,” one founding chairman” i.e., him- dropped the accusation and no Socialist Prime Minister José self. The roles of honorary and charges were brought against the Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said founding chairman are likely to suspect. The man has apparently yesterday, referring to the talks very similar — more symbolic been residing in Spain for four on territorial affairs held with than practical — but nonetheless years, frequently staying at luxury the opposition leader on Tues- serve to retain Fraga and Aznar hotels along the Catalan coast in day. “I can understand why he is as party figureheads. Effective recent months. worried — managing a party PP leader Rajoy (right) and former PM Aznar attend a meeting in July. / S. BURGOS control after the convention will The killing on Tuesday brings with three presidents must be be in the hands of Rajoy, who is the number of deaths attributed complicated.” flects widespread derision to- in the PP’s defeat to the Social- likely to usher in a series of to domestic violence to 47 in Zapatero’s ironic take on the ward the former prime minister. ists in the March 14 election — changes to streamline the conser- Spain so far this year, six less than possibility of Aznar remaining in Aznar’s handling of the March has been under intense scrutiny. vative force, possibly through in the first eight months of 2003. the upper echelons of the PP re- 11 attacks — which played a role His last term was also marked by adopting a more centrist tone. Most of the victims were women between the ages of 20 and 40. Spanish government. The dia- Morocco calls for logue is open, and the psychologi- cal barrier caused by the bilateral tensions with the former govern- pan-European action ment has been broken.” Consuelo Rumí, the Spanish secretary of state for immigration, on clandestine exodus also contrasts the attitude of the present Socialist administration with the previous government led by the Popular Party. Explaining After years of hostile relations between Spain a new policy that will offer residen- cy permits to all those who can and North African nation, cooperation returns prove that they have been work- ing in Spain, albeit unofficially, E. RIU / C. BLANCHAR, Barcelona the “criminal networks” which or- Rumí denies that there will be a For Morocco, the issue of clandes- ganize these activities is a top pri- “permissive atmosphere or a relax- tine immigration into the Europe- ority. She adds that the best solu- ation of the fight against clandes- an Union is a complex one. The tion would be to create a situation tine immigration.” Answering the money sent home by the approxi- in which “Moroccans don’t feel Popular Party’s claims that this mately three million Moroccans the need to emigrate”: “last year, legalization of, potentially, hun- working abroad (MREs in the Morocco made the legal provi- dreds of thousands of workers French-language term used in sions to criminalize these net- will produce a “pull effect” bring- Morocco) accounts for around 10 works,” she explains, “but addi- ing more immigrants into the percent of the country’s GDP. tional measures are important.” country, Rumí argues that “the re- Nouzha Chekrouni, the Mo- Among the desired measures, al pull effect is the existence of a roccan minister responsible for im- the minister includes better infor- black market economy.” migration, admits that the remit- mation for potential emigrants so Referring to co-operation with tances from MREs “constitute that they understand the risks Morocco, Rumí said there is “a the largest source of income for they are running in making con- long way to go,” but pointed to the government — much more tact with people-traffickers and certain examples of where in- than tourism.” Speaking to EL crossing by boat into Spain. She creased contact was having posi- PAÍS while in Spain to participate points out that the criminal orga- tive results, such as the plan to in the Cultural Forum in Barcelo- nizations involved “are not only co-finance “shelter centers for mi- na, the minister adds that MREs made up of Moroccan citizens; nors” within Morocco. Many of “have not forgotten their roots there are also Europeans. We those who take the risk of cross- and are contributing to the stabili- must mobilize all European coun- ing the sea aboard small boats are ty of the country and the govern- tries.” Obviously, such a joint mo- young men, even teenagers. ment’s plans to combat poverty.” bilization would have to include Nouzha Chekrouni for her Although Chekrouni admits Spain — the country most affect- part admits there are problems in that most of this money formerly ed by the arrival of undocument- Morocco regarding immigration, went directly into goods and gifts ed immigrants from Morocco. but she points out that Morocco for close relatives, now MREs can In the first eight months of this suffers from being a transit coun- become, in her words, “investors year alone, over 10,000 such immi- try for illegal immigrants. A large and potential tourists,” bringing grants have been detained in Nouzha Chekrouni during the interview. / JORDI ROVIRALTA proportion of those arriving in extra wealth into the Moroccan Spain or in the waters near the Spain are from sub-Saharan Afri- authorities’ coffers. As for the gov- Spanish coastline. In the past tion. There are now joint sea-pa- been made on the Moroccan side. ca, and sometimes further afield. ernment’s fight against clandes- year, the two countries have be- trols by security forces from the Chekrouni says that her govern- “With all the goodwill in the tine immigrants departing from gun to put past differences behind two countries, while considerably ment is “optimistic” about bilater- world, we cannot supervise the the shores of Morocco, the minis- them, and now cooperate in the more arrests of would-be immi- al relations “because we see good- 3,000 kilometers of coastline ter claims that the fight against fight against clandestine immigra- grants are reported as having will on the part of the present which we have,” she concludes.